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AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 28 Jan 2017, 17:36

Sea Venom has a 30kg warhead. Realistically it's going to hurt a Corvette (1,000 tons) a hell of a lot. Possibly sink it, particularly if it employs a directed warhead like Sea Skua.

2 x 30 kg warhead hitting a Type 45 would in all probability be a mission kill.

Sure a Merlin could tote a couple of JSM's but there are some who believe that they're not big enough to sink a ship. Not many navies have ever gone down the full size ASM route on helicopters, usually the effect on range is so severe that you'd just be better off using the helo for targetting or mid course guidance to a ship launched version. This doesn't change the fact that Merlin should be armed with LMM and Sea Venom either.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby marktigger » 28 Jan 2017, 17:41

didn't india arm seaking with Sea eagle and pakistan put exocet on theirs?

Maverick which the RNZAF use has a 57kg warhead and Penguin used by USN has a 120 KG warhead.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 28 Jan 2017, 21:27

They did. If you google Sea Eagle Missile images there is a picture of an Indian Navy Sea King launching 2 Sea Eagle. Problem is they weigh over 5 times as much as a Sea Venom, Exocet is 6 times heavier. You can only imagine the impact on range. Maverick is between 2 and 3 times heavier, with Penguin 3.5 times heavier than Sea Venom. You pays your money and you take your choice.

But given how many times Sea Skua has actually been used should be instructive. As far as I'm aware no combat use of Penguin,Sea Eagle ever, and no use of Maverick or Exocet from helos in combat.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Old RN » 29 Jan 2017, 07:01

Timmymagic wrote:But given how many times Sea Skua has actually been used should be instructive. As far as I'm aware no combat use of Penguin,Sea Eagle ever, and no use of Maverick or Exocet from helos in combat.


I may be wrong but I suspect that more Sea Skua missiles have been fired in anger than any other anti-ship guided missile in history! And with a very impressive success rate.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 29 Jan 2017, 09:31

Old RN wrote:I may be wrong but I suspect that more Sea Skua missiles have been fired in anger than any other anti-ship guided missile in history! And with a very impressive success rate.


It's possible but there were a fair few Exocet fired in Iran/Iraq and Silkworm. Probably a good amount of Styx over the years as well.

Lets just say it's definitely in the top 3/4.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby marktigger » 29 Jan 2017, 13:46

Timmymagic wrote:
But given how many times Sea Skua has actually been used should be instructive. As far as I'm aware no combat use of Penguin,Sea Eagle ever, and no use of Maverick or Exocet from helos in combat.


Itaqi's had frelons armed with exocets during the iran/iraq war and tanker war.

yeap you pays your money you get a more capable helicopter and a more capable missile

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 29 Jan 2017, 16:01

marktigger wrote:Itaqi's had frelons armed with exocets during the iran/iraq war and tanker war.

yeap you pays your money you get a more capable helicopter and a more capable missile


But what did they achieve? Great for attacking oil tankers and terminals but we're not ging to be using them for that. With our ROE's could we even use them?

Given the range of modern missiles like NSM, LRASM you'd be better off (and more survivable) providing the mid course targeting for a shipborne system. Just one LRASM weighs as much as 4 Stingrays...thats going to hurt on range and performance and i wouldn't think you'd want to take off with just 1. Add to that the size of the heli-weapons magazine, lifts etc on a destroyer or frigate and thats why Sea Venom makes sense. Any Sea Eagle or Exocet armed large helicopter is taking off from a airfield or carrier, and in that case why not use an F-35...

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Gabriele » 29 Jan 2017, 16:31

Highly unlikely that the Sea Skua has the most launches. There have been over 250 anti-ship missile firings worldwide, several of which by the Israeli navy, several more between India and Pakistan and quite a lot in the gulf crisis.

The sheer number of missile engagements between surface warships is much higher than most people believe, just because not many of the clashes involved the "major players". Nobody knows the exact number of Exocet used in the Iran-Iraq war, but the USN counted 53, of with 52 hits and 50 detonations. Granted, most targets in this instance were not able to defend themselves, being tankers for the most part.
14 Sea Skua were used in January 1991, hitting 8 small targets, and another 4 had been used in the Falklands against two patrol boats. All four hit, but one of the two patrol boats didn't even sink and was eventually repaired.

So, no, the Sea Skua is most definitely not the most employed ASM.
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby marktigger » 29 Jan 2017, 16:32

Timmymagic wrote:
Given the range of modern missiles like NSM, LRASM you'd be better off (and more survivable) providing the mid course targeting for a shipborne system. Just one LRASM weighs as much as 4 Stingrays...thats going to hurt on range and performance and i wouldn't think you'd want to take off with just 1. Add to that the size of the heli-weapons magazine, lifts etc on a destroyer or frigate and thats why Sea Venom makes sense. Any Sea Eagle or Exocet armed large helicopter is taking off from a airfield or carrier, and in that case why not use an F-35...


Correct so what is the point of wildcat in the Fleet air arm?

LMM & Sea Venom and larger missiles can be carried by Merlin, Merlin is a better ASW platform,

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Caribbean » 29 Jan 2017, 17:24

marktigger wrote:Merlin is a better ASW platform

And we barely have enough of them for that role. Let's keep them focussed on that.
Running a helicopter attack against a surface ship is going to be a dangerous job - why risk one of your premier ASW assets in that role? Far better to use a cheaper, more agile platform and limit your ambitions to FAC, missile boats and corvettes that are, in the main, equipped with MANPAD-based AAW systems. I suspect that Sea Venom's ability to target individual ship systems is going to be used rarely against large targets with capable AD systems
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby marktigger » 29 Jan 2017, 17:51

yes and if we ordered more merlin and replaced wildcat
or are you saying Wildcat along with its crews is a sacrifical aircraft be better of using drones for this type of scenario obviously

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Ron5 » 29 Jan 2017, 18:01

marktigger wrote:yes and if we ordered more merlin and replaced wildcat
or are you saying Wildcat along with its crews is a sacrifical aircraft be better of using drones for this type of scenario obviously


Which drone did you have in mind?

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Caribbean » 29 Jan 2017, 19:56

marktigger wrote:you saying Wildcat along with its crews is a sacrifical aircraft

That's a bit of a leap from what I actually said. If you use helicopters against a surface ship, then it's going to be a risky business if the ship has any half-way decent AD system, which is why I suggested the target set that I did. The Sea Venom outranges most MANPAD-based AD systems (such as those used by most of the Russian corvettes in the Baltic) by a factor of two, allowing your helicopter to stay out of the highest-threat zone. You gain nothing by deploying a Merlin with Sea Venom, you would still be restricted to the same target set.

Merlin could indeed be an effective ASuW platform, but a) even if we are lucky enough to get more, we are highly unlikely to get more than enough to fulfil our immediate ASW needs, b) they are vastly more expensive than Wildcat, both to purchase and operate, c) unless they carry a larger, longer-ranged missile than Sea Venom, there is absolutely no point in making the change, d) considering that we are apparently losing surface-launched anti-ship missiles without any proposed replacement, we are unlikely to gain a heavy helicopter-launched missile without a major change in strategy by the RN and a hefty increase in funding. In that case, a helicopter capable of carrying a heavier payload would make sense, but I'm still not sure that Merlin would be ideal for that. I also can't see it getting funding when the F35B is soon to come into service.

If there were a suitable drone system, then it could indeed be used in the place of Wildcat, but you are really just substituting one system for another in the same niche.
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Jan 2017, 22:23

Caribbean wrote:Let's keep them focussed on that.
Running a helicopter attack against a surface ship is going to be a dangerous job - why risk one of your premier ASW assets in that role? Far better to use a cheaper, more agile platform and limit your ambitions to FAC, missile boats and corvettes that are, in the main, equipped with MANPAD-based AAW systems. I suspect that Sea Venom's ability to target individual ship systems is going to be used rarely against large targets with capable AD systems


Caribbean wrote:The Sea Venom outranges most MANPAD-based AD systems (such as those used by most of the Russian corvettes in the Baltic) by a factor of two, allowing your helicopter to stay out of the highest-threat zone. You gain nothing by deploying a Merlin with Sea Venom, you would still be restricted to the same target set.


There is the crux of the matter; of course we know from our own defence companies advertising that even FAC-sized vessels can punch out to 60 km in AD (not initiated by their own sensors, but all this networking is proceeding at speed).

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Ron5 » 30 Jan 2017, 18:45

Sea Venom has over the radar horizon capability which means the launcher will remain safe from the vast majority of ship self defense systems.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 30 Jan 2017, 20:22

ArmChairCivvy wrote:There is the crux of the matter; of course we know from our own defence companies advertising that even FAC-sized vessels can punch out to 60 km in AD (not initiated by their own sensors, but all this networking is proceeding at speed)


I think it's safe to say that Sea Venoms range will be substantially more than Sea Skua. MBDA state that 'Safe stand-off range (over 20 km class)'. But given that Brimstone 2 is 40km+ from rotary wing platforms I think we can safely say that Sea Venom is comfortably over that 20km mark (although it should be noted that Sea Venom has a larger percentage of it's weight as warhead than Brimstone, it does seem to have a boost and sustainer rocket though).

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Ron5 » 01 Feb 2017, 18:01

Aviation Week

"For decades, the Westland Lynx has been the backbone of the British Royal Navy as its primary shipborne helicopter.

But now, with just six helicopters left in the inventory, the service is preparing to retire the Lynx in late March in favor of its more advanced successor, the Leonardo Helicopters AW159 Wildcat.

Although they are being bought in much reduced numbers—28 Wildcats, compared to the inventory of 90 Lynx—Royal Navy commanders say they are delighted with the capabilities the new helicopter brings, even with a few key items missing before it can take on all the missions of its predecessor.

“The Wildcat is 95% of what we asked for,” Cmdr. Gus Carnie, the Navy’s Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force Commander, tells Aviation Week.

“These aircraft are brilliant for what we want them to do,” says Carnie, “It’s like going from a Nokia [push-button cellphone] to the iPhone 6 [smartphone], it is that impressive,” he insists.

The Wildcat brings with it a new electro-optical sensor, the L3 Wescam MX-15 and a 360-deg. field of view Leonardo Seaspray radar, as opposed to the 180-deg. view provided on the Lynx Mk. 8. It is also significantly more powerful, fitted with the LHTEC T800 instead of the older Rolls-Royce Gem.

“The Lynx has always been a weapons system that belongs to the ship, but [it is] the same as any other weapons system, you just happen to be able to carry it farther away,” says Carnie. “The Wildcat is a weapons system that can be completely independent of the ship, that is how it needs to be used,” he insists.

He sees the aircraft playing a critical role in the ring of steel that will surround Britain’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers as they enter operational service in the early 2020s.

“With the Lynx we would fly from here to the South Coast [a straight-line distance of 20 nm], turn on the radar and look at what was out there. . . . With the Wildcat I can take off, climb vertically to 4,000 ft. and in 5 min. I will have tracked, identified and passed back all the contacts on the South Coast and in the Bristol Channel—that’s how far ahead we are.”

Carnie says that large ships can be identified from up to 80 mi. away on a clear day from height.

However, the Royal Navy Wildcats currently lack a data link, which means target information must be provided back to the ship by voice communications. The system was removed from the specification to save money.

Currently, the Wildcat has a shorter endurance than the older Lynx,about 1 hr. 50 min. versus 2 hr. 20 min. British aircraft are fitted with an analog automatic flight control system (AFCS) transplanted from scrapped Lynx’s to save money. However, the Royal Navy is hoping to piggyback off developments requested by South Korea, the first export customer for the Wildcat, which are fitted with a digital AFCS, and an auxiliary fuel tank in the cabin to provide that additional range. Leonardo is understood to be testing Link 22 data links on its ground test rigs.

Full operational capability with the Wildcat is expected in 2020, when Carnie will be able to field 16 ship flights at any one time. He says he can already provide 10 such flights if required.

However, the Wildcat still lacks firepower. The retirement of the Lynx Mk. 8 also means that the naval service bids farewell to the MBDA Sea Skua anti-ship missile. Its replacement, the MBDA Future Anti-Ship Guided Weapon–Heavy (FASGW-H), or Sea Venom, is in development and set to begin firing trials this year. It is slated to enter service in 2019-20. The smaller FASGW-Light weapon, the Thales Sea Martlet, will be inducted around the same time.

However, full operational capability with weapons is scheduled to be declared in 2024.

Both weapons have the potential to be used against land targets, allowing the Wildcat to take on a littoral role and provide fire support for amphibious landings, says Carnie.

In the spring, the Wildcat will be deployed on its first Caribbean cruise, where it will be used on anti-narcotics missions in the region.

“That will be a massive increase in capability for the U.S. Coast Guard,” says Carnie. The Wildcat will be able to survey swaths of coastline looking for potential targets of interest, and be able to monitor drug runners from much farther away and well out of earshot.

Spring will also see a Royal Navy Wildcat deploy onto a German warship, the Bremen-class frigate Lubeck, in support of a NATO mission in the Mediterranean. Training for the deployment is expected to begin in the coming weeks. Driven by the commanders of the two navies, the deployment aims to demonstrate the growing interoperability between the services, but is also a marketing exercise to try and sell the Wildcat to the German government as it considers replacing its Lynx Mk. 88 fleet.

The Royal Navy will formally cease Lynx Mk. 8 operations at the end of March, ending a 41-year association with the helicopter"

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 Feb 2017, 23:19

Ron5 wrote:The Royal Navy will formally cease Lynx Mk. 8 operations at the end of March

Ron5 wrote: Sea Venom, is in development and set to begin firing trials this year. It is slated to enter service in 2019-20. The smaller FASGW-Light weapon, the Thales Sea Martlet, will be inducted around the same time.

However, full operational capability with weapons is scheduled to be declared in 2024.


Two thirds of a decade...

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby shark bait » 02 Feb 2017, 07:50

"the Royal Navy Wildcats currently lack a data link"

That's the dumbest thing I've heard in a while, how is that acceptable? Brand new kit and its only way of transferring data is the same way they did in WW2.

Building any new kit build without a data link is a stupid idea, never mind the off-board system that's is going to be the sole anti shipping weapon for the fleet.
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Defiance » 02 Feb 2017, 08:28

shark bait wrote:"the Royal Navy Wildcats currently lack a data link"

That's the dumbest thing I've heard in a while, how is that acceptable? Brand new kit and its only way of transferring data is the same way they did in WW2.

Building any new kit build without a data link is a stupid idea, never mind the off-board system that's is going to be the sole anti shipping weapon for the fleet.


Agreed, all bow to the bean-counter overlords . . . . .

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby RetroSicotte » 02 Feb 2017, 12:39

No datalink?

What the actual hell, that datalink was the defining thing for a helicopter in this role. So there we go, Royal Navy's over the horizon targeting just became even more outdated.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby marktigger » 02 Feb 2017, 12:53

the AAC don't like the elop package because of restrictions in its FOV

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby LordJim » 02 Feb 2017, 18:38

Like all MoD procurement programmes the time for programme development is stretched longer and longer to reduce in year spending, and bit of kit are removed entirely by those who simply see a line on a page and the related cost rather than its importance to the actual use of a given platform. So much for all the reorganisation and reviews of defence procurement. No wonder the MoD's Brigade of Bean Counters is the best funded of any of its Headquarters units.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 22 Jul 2017, 02:12

RN Wildcat deploys onboard German frigate.

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-la ... erman-navy
They found the Lübeck’s flight deck “perilously narrow”, but still not as tight a fit as the hangar; the helicopter squeezed in with just 15 centimetres to spare at the nose and tail.
Even Wildcat cannot fold their tail, glad that it fits in the Lübeck’s hangar. It will mean, Wildcat may fit in many frigates' hangar worldwide. However, 15 cm nay not be enough... Note, Wildcat is longer than NH90 and SH60 both can fold their tail.

Deployment itself is interesting. Also, we shall note German Navy’s Lynx started to suffer from problems with cracks in their tails.
213 Flight were due to remain with the Lübeck throughout her subsequent deployment, but for operational reasons the Wildcat isn’t joining the frigate on her migrant mission in the Mediterranean.

Also it is noted the flight it is a team made of of 11 members. (I think it is the first time the team size of a Wildcat was clearly noted?)

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 22 Jul 2017, 09:16

Did the tail fold on the old Naval Lnyx? If so why not on the Wildcat ?


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