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AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Lord Jim
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 02 Sep 2018, 07:14

Nice to see but the press release and video of Merlins and Wildcats landing don't stop the discussion of why we have a carrier and no fast jets embarked. Early days I know but many see a big carrier and simply ask "Where are the jets?"

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby serge750 » 02 Sep 2018, 14:33

She does seem a bit toothless for the next couple of years....but I suspect if the crap did hit the fan then I would hope the F35/Apache integration could be sped up....don"t we have 9 x F35 in the uk & another 5 or 6 in the US ?

Ps I do admit i have got a Glass half full point of view...

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Gabriele » 02 Sep 2018, 18:24

Next year should be a lot better already, though. More complex F-35 trials, and almost certainly more jets on board. Apache will finally go on as well.
You might also know me as Liger30, from that great forum than MP.net was.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby benny14 » 02 Sep 2018, 21:06

serge750 wrote:She does seem a bit toothless for the next couple of years

Considering she is not operational until late 2020, it matters little at this point.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby SKB » 04 Sep 2018, 01:29


Image
Image
Image

^ ZZ529 "Blackjack"

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 08 Nov 2018, 12:45

THe present for some
"The Philippine Navy (PN) is currently testing its first AW-159 helicopter in the UK. "As confirmed by the Commander Naval Air Group (CNAG), the AW159 has just started initial test flight as part of the manufacturer's trial. It is still scheduled for a series of test flights before scheduling its handover to the Philippines. According as well to CNAG, the flight signals the completion of the first unit," defense department spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday. The PN ordered two AW159 Lynx Wildcat naval helicopters for $114 million in March 2016. The helicopters will give the PN a long sought after anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, carrying active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns." from DID of today,
but could be useful in optimising the RN mix of assets, going forward
... littoral ops have been talked about for a decade; and Merlin numbers are tight

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Defiance » 08 Nov 2018, 13:32

Gabriele wrote:Next year should be a lot better already, though. More complex F-35 trials, and almost certainly more jets on board. Apache will finally go on as well.


I'm 90% sure the plan for 2019 involves 7 F-35B, then 2020 is 12 aircraft.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 08 Nov 2018, 13:41

Defiance wrote:then 2020 is 12 aircraft.


Happens to be the IOC definition (Maritime), too.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Ron5 » 08 Nov 2018, 17:28

ArmChairCivvy wrote:THe present for some
"The Philippine Navy (PN) is currently testing its first AW-159 helicopter in the UK. "As confirmed by the Commander Naval Air Group (CNAG), the AW159 has just started initial test flight as part of the manufacturer's trial. It is still scheduled for a series of test flights before scheduling its handover to the Philippines. According as well to CNAG, the flight signals the completion of the first unit," defense department spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday. The PN ordered two AW159 Lynx Wildcat naval helicopters for $114 million in March 2016. The helicopters will give the PN a long sought after anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, carrying active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns." from DID of today,
but could be useful in optimising the RN mix of assets, going forward
... littoral ops have been talked about for a decade; and Merlin numbers are tight


Problem is endurance carrying all that stuff tho the Korean helo's had extra fuel tanks.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 08 Nov 2018, 17:44

Ron5 wrote:Problem is endurance carrying all that stuff tho the Korean helo's had extra fuel tanks.


V true, in ASW (the kit weighs "some") endurance is also close to zilch.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 10 Nov 2018, 05:30

There is a reason we use the Merlin for ASW and the Wildcat for ASuW, and both are world class for once. I just wish more thought had gone into what we wanted to do with the AAC Wildcats and how they are equipped, I think it is a missed opportunity, and would have been an ideal armed recce platform and fire support platform for the RM, again if things had been thought through.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 10 Nov 2018, 09:24

Lord Jim wrote: again if things had been thought through.


The old plan, to take 4+4 from the navy and army orders and fit them for "light attack", disappeared without a trace. However, I read somewhere that this has been done, with 2 for the RM and 2 for SF. Was not able to assess the quality of this information - if it is in the public domain, could only have emerged from a FOI request (as nothing has been announced?).

The article " it was decided to save money by disbanding 657 Sqn and establishing the SF Wildcat Flight" says nothing specific about it and is contradicted by others stating that the Wildcats for such service are drawn from the general pool. And it seems that this one, about the same topic, https://www.janes.com/article/73702/uk- ... s-aviation has been pulled.

Gaby reads a lot of articles :) - may be we can draw on our special correspondent here?

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 18 Apr 2019, 06:01

ArmChairCivvy wrote:" it was decided to save money by disbanding 657 Sqn and establishing the SF Wildcat Flight" says nothing specific about it and is contradicted by others stating that the Wildcats for such service are drawn from the general pool. And it seems that this one, about the same topic, https://www.janes.com/article/73702/uk- ... s-aviation has been pulled.


Half a year later, I am no wiser on the above topic. But here's a good fit-out for Wildcats on any such duties:
https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/defe ... 58,29LQK,1
- if any hard targets are expected, load LMMs onto the other side :)

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Apr 2019, 00:32

16 Air Assault needs a bigger and more balance organic air component than it currently has and one solution is Wildcat. We currently have one Regiment currently tasked as Recce. These need to be modified to take on the task of Armed Recce in a similar vain as the US Army did converting the OH-58D Kiowa in to he Kiowa Warrior, possibly equipped as mentioned above. WE also need a further Regiment of a utility variant, similar in load carrying capability to the retired Lynx AH-9. This would give the Brigade the ability to move Platoon and even Company sized units rapid around the battlefield without relying on the RAF of RN helicopters. Together with one of the AAC's Apache Regiments this would for the revised air component of 16 Air Assault.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby R686 » 19 Apr 2019, 01:02

Lord Jim wrote:16 Air Assault needs a bigger and more balance organic air component than it currently has and one solution is Wildcat. We currently have one Regiment currently tasked as Recce. These need to be modified to take on the task of Armed Recce in a similar vain as the US Army did converting the OH-58D Kiowa in to he Kiowa Warrior, possibly equipped as mentioned above. WE also need a further Regiment of a utility variant, similar in load carrying capability to the retired Lynx AH-9. This would give the Brigade the ability to move Platoon and even Company sized units rapid around the battlefield without relying on the RAF of RN helicopters. Together with one of the AAC's Apache Regiments this would for the revised air component of 16 Air Assault.



might be able to get a few ques from this,

https://defence-blog.com/news/md-helico ... class.html

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Apr 2019, 14:27

As I suggested we would probably do better to use the Wildcat as a starting point. It would probably end up a hybrid of the current two variants when we talk about the Armed Recce version, and it would use existing weapon systems like the LMM and the CVR-7 plus an off the shelf gun pod of which there are many to choose from. As for the Utility variant this would go in the opposite direction, though having them FFBNW a decent RO system to allow nigh operation would be of benefit. If it was possible refitting all ACC Wildcats to the same maritime protection standard as those operated by the FAA would also be very useful allow extended operations form Naval vessels if 16AA were to deploy by sea.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 19 Apr 2019, 16:38

Lord Jim wrote:These need to be modified to take on the task of Armed Recce in a similar vain as the US Army did converting the OH-58D Kiowa in to he Kiowa Warrior, possibly equipped as mentioned above.


No-one is going to equip land based Wildcat with anything more substantial than a machine gun until the Apache E order is all safely delivered, lest someone in the Treasury start thinking its a gunship. It's the same reason that Brimstone hasn't been integrated with Wildcat, land or sea based, which would make a lot of sense (arguably more than LMM/Martlet). The CRV7 PG never got much interest, which was surprising. It would probably be cheaper than Martlet as well (as would APKWS). Larger warhead with slightly shorter range. Which leads me to believe that LMM is very much a make work for Thales in Belfast. The only potential advantage it has is the ability to be used for anti-air/drone work.

Lord Jim wrote:As for the Utility variant this would go in the opposite direction, though having them FFBNW a decent RO system to allow nigh operation would be of benefit. If it was possible refitting all ACC Wildcats to the same maritime protection standard as those operated by the FAA would also be very useful allow extended operations form Naval vessels if 16AA were to deploy by sea.


An E/O turret is pretty much a given for all military helicopters now, as is a self protection suite. But more Wildcat would be a waste of money. As a scout/naval helicopter its superlative, but for any other role it is fantastically over-equipped and expensive, plus offers very limited capability in any utility role due to its size constraints. The only investment we should be putting into it at present should be integration of more weapons and a datalink.

What both the AAC and Navy lack at present is cheap helicopters for simple, day to day utility tasks. In the RN's case HDS, Vertrep and Planeguard. We shouldn't be using our Wildcat or Merlin for these tasks the cost and waste in airframe hours is horrendous. In the AAC's case they really need a replacement for the comms duties that Gazelle did and basic utility tasks and SF support. Brigadiers will always need carrying around and Wildcat is not the answer there.

As to AW149 and 139M both helo's are slightly bigger, but with the RN's decks and hangars being Merlin capable not a problem, could have carried more personnel/gear further, incorporated a dipping sonar without the limitations that has on Wildcat. For the Army it would have given them a much better utility helicopter than Lynx or Wildcat. And all for a much cheaper price. If we really wanted a smaller helicopter there are myriad options out there for SF support, armed recce or comms. Again all far cheaper than Wildcat.

We should never have actually bothered with Wildcat. It was a sop to keep Westlands in work. But even then given the numbers procured it hasn't actually worked. They're order book is on life support. It would have made far more sense to have adopted something like the AW149 or AW139M, and have asked, as a condition, for the line to be moved to Westlands. They could have stayed busy with civil orders as a result. Unless Westland's actually gets civil orders in they are always going to be on the cusp of going under, there just simply isn't the volume of work from the MoD, and in truth there never was. Lynx got decent overseas sales for naval use, but Wildcat is up against MH-60R and NH-90. The majority of users have already gone for those. The H-160, when it arrives, may also clean up where size really is an issue. If Westlands is still in business in 5 years time I'll be amazed. An order for 4 AW-101 just isn't going to keep the lights on. After HM.2 and HC.4/a are complete what do they actually have on the books or even on the horizon? AH-64 has gone to the states, quite rightly, due to cost.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 19 Apr 2019, 18:07

Timmymagic wrote: the same reason that Brimstone hasn't been integrated with Wildcat, land or sea based, which would make a lot of sense (arguably more than LMM/Martlet)
Not all targets are MBTs and having multiple (7?) shots available can be no bad thing?
Timmymagic wrote: leads me to believe that LMM is very much a make work for Thales in Belfast.
Indeed, the order was swapped from a quantity for something else (sharing parts) that was not deemed as urgent

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Apr 2019, 19:59

A utility variant of the Wildcat could carry up to ten men plus three crew including a door gunner. 16 to 24 of these integral to 16 Air Assault would give them the ability to move troops around the battlefield effectively. A DAS and EO turret may slightly reduce the carrying capacity but it should still carry an eight man Infantry section or two heavy weapons teams and so on. As for the Armed Recce, carrying unguided CVR-7s as per Apache and LMM would not put it into competition with the Apache by any standard but give the AAC a far more viable recce platform than the current platform.

Purchasing more Wildcat to fulfil this role would definitely be cheaper than bringing in a new type. Jobs would be retained in Yeovil both for the new build and the modification to existing platforms. Development work would be minimum as most has already been carried out for the FAA variant and for export studies.

I am not suggesting that this is a Rolls Royce solution, but it does give the AAC back its Battlefield helicopter. It will be interesting to see what the MoD's Future Rotorcraft Paper due by the end of the year comes up with.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby serge750 » 19 Apr 2019, 20:21

Sorry if this sounds dumb but does anybody know if a naval Wildcat is going to act as a plane guard for the carriers, As i thought it might be a lot cheaper than running a Merlin ? I'm sure I read that they will use Merlins for downed aircraft inland but does that include plane guard duties ?

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 19 Apr 2019, 21:04

serge750 wrote:Sorry if this sounds dumb but does anybody know if a naval Wildcat is going to act as a plane guard for the carriers, As i thought it might be a lot cheaper than running a Merlin ? I'm sure I read that they will use Merlins for downed aircraft inland but does that include plane guard duties ?


No Wildcat will be carried by the QE Class. They may use one from an escort for plane guard. But it would need to be equipped with a rescue hoist. Quite frankly we need to take a leaf out of the Marine Nationale's book on this, they can't teach us much more about naval air but sticking a cheap plane guard helo on a carrier is one lesson we should heed, they've only just retired their Alouette III's after 45 years of service. They've currently got Dauphin aboard, but it looks like H160 will take the role on c2025. There aren't going to be many Merlin or Wildcat for all of the other jobs, we could well do without them using up their (very expensive) flight hours on plane guard or indeed HDS.

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Not all targets are MBTs and having multiple (7?) shots available can be no bad thing?


True. But CRV7 either unguided or in its Precision Guided mode made a whole lot more sense than LMM/Martlet. Brimstone at sea with its MMW and volley fire ability would have been more effective in an anti-FAC role than LMM could ever be.

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Indeed, the order was swapped from a quantity for something else (sharing parts) that was not deemed as urgent


It was Starstreak 2. Given the paucity of anti-air weaponry in UK land forces I'll let you decide if that was a great idea or not....

Lord Jim wrote:A utility variant of the Wildcat could carry up to ten men plus three crew including a door gunner.


Ten very small men with no equipment? Wildcat will carry the 2 pilots and 6 in the back. Thats it.

Lord Jim wrote:Purchasing more Wildcat to fulfil this role would definitely be cheaper than bringing in a new type. Jobs would be retained in Yeovil both for the new build and the modification to existing platforms. Development work would be minimum as most has already been carried out for the FAA variant and for export studies.


It's massively more expensive than other options. By all accounts its about twice the price. And its ongoing costs are just as over the top in comparison with other helo's.
As to jobs in Yeovil, another small buy is only going to keep the wolf from the door for a short time, they need more than military production.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... to-439087/

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby serge750 » 19 Apr 2019, 21:29

Thankyou Timmymagic for the reply,

That's what I was thinking that Merlins were to valuable in their ASW role so why not use something cheaper to run for the equally essential role of planeguard

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Timmymagic » 19 Apr 2019, 21:52

serge750 wrote:That's what I was thinking that Merlins were to valuable in their ASW role so why not use something cheaper to run for the equally essential role of planeguard


Even if we have 8 Merlin HM.2 and 2 Merlin HC.4 on the carrier and 1 Merlin and 1 Wildcat on the escorts that is actually less than is needed for normal ops. The RN believes that 8-9 Merlin are needed for ASW protection of a CSG, let alone any with a Crowsnest fit. So thats all of the Merlin HM.2 otherwise engaged, add in HDS and Vertrep and maintenance, crew fatigue and there just isn't slack. Realistically to provide ASW, Crowsnest, TRAPS cover, HDS and vertrep for a CSG we'd need 9 Merlin HM.2 for ASW, 4-5 Merlin HM.2 for Crowsnest, 4 Merlin HC.4 for vertrep and TRAPS and 3 Wildcat for HDS and planeguard. Thats 21 helos...realistically we might have 12-13 in a CSG at the moment. We have to try and maximise those resources on the tasks where they're effective and cut out the waste. A simple small helo for planeguard and HDS saves a lot of money, crew and resources.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Dahedd » 21 Apr 2019, 09:46

I've no knowledge of this but ref the earlier discussions on the Lynx AH9 & the need for a light utility. We're the AH9 & the navy's lynx not rushed out of service too quickly to make way for the wildcat or were they all knackered . Would it not have made more sense to retain some for the above roles.

Using a wildcat or merlin as a plane guard is surely a waste of platform & likewise the AAC wildcats should be far heavier armed & keeping the tricycle equiped AH9 would free up wildcard for their recon role.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Postby Caribbean » 21 Apr 2019, 11:04

Dahedd wrote:Using a wildcat or merlin as a plain guard is surely a waste of platform

Surely a navalised EC135/145 or AW109 (all of which we already use), equipped for SAR would be an ideal (and cheap) fit for this task.
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