UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Contains threads on Royal Air Force equipment of the past, present and future.
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The Armchair Soldier
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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British Army leads the way for NATO’s next generation rotorcraft
Colonel Paul Morris, Assistant Head Plans, Capability Air Manoeuvre, addressed the virtual International Military Helicopter Conference to outline further detail on how the British Army are leading NATO’s development of the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability
Read More: https://www.army.mod.uk/news-and-events ... velopment/

Defiance
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Defiance »

It'll be interesting to see the workshare crapshoot that comes out of this one

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Jensy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Jensy »

Defiance wrote:It'll be interesting to see the workshare crapshoot that comes out of this one
I would be mildly shocked if the programme doesn't split at some point.

With Germany ordering additional NH-90s and us set to replace Puma, there's a great deal of time for all sorts of cracks and political infighting to emerge.

Also curious what "leadership" we can bring to the programme considering the UK helicopter industry is hardly in rude health.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Jensy wrote: With Germany ordering additional NH-90s and us set to replace Puma, there's a great deal of time for all sorts of cracks
That is the point;
we were pushed the way of 'heavy' bcz of A-stan
we were over-light (a long time ago)
the 'middle' has been 'lost' = patched over

Oh-boy; we have the gunships on order, the Chinook fleet being renewed
... what will fill the 'middle'? (forgetting navy&land)
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

SW1
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

This is the rough breakdown for nh90 the odd one out at present is Greece. But I suspect this is the first play in generating a single European helicopter counterweight to US manufacturers.

Airbus Helicopters France 31.25% (Engines, rotors, electrical system, flight control, and the core avionics systems)
Airbus Helicopters Deutschland 31.25% (Forward and centre fuselage, fuel system, communications, and avionics control systems)
Fokker 5.5% (Tail structure, doors, sponsons, landing gear, and the intermediate gearbox)
AgustaWestland 32% (Rear fuselage, main gearbox, hydraulic system, automatic flight control and plant management systems, power plant, and the NFH mission system)

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Jensy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Jensy »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Jensy wrote: With Germany ordering additional NH-90s and us set to replace Puma, there's a great deal of time for all sorts of cracks
That is the point;
we were pushed the way of 'heavy' bcz of A-stan
we were over-light (a long time ago)
the 'middle' has been 'lost' = patched over

Oh-boy; we have the gunships on order, the Chinook fleet being renewed
... what will fill the 'middle'? (forgetting navy&land)
The desire not to buy S-60 seems to have, at least in part, led to our current situation, with a fleet of Pumas older than most senior air staff and a selection of fine but expensive maritime helicopters.

Merlin is a first class maritime helicopter but (rightly or wrongly) considered too hefty for the RAF and very expensive.

Wildcat is likewise an excellent marine platform, but is too expensive and small to really suit anything other than naval or Special Forces roles (who have other toys to play with).

Chinook, as you say is likely to remain in service for several more decades, with further top up orders maybe even longer. Which is good, because they are clearly excellent pieces of engineering, however would be difficult to combine their replacement with that for Merlin (which is not much smaller). Also, despite Boeing UK's many infographics Chinooks have little to no UK industrial benefits to speak of, much like Apache E.

From our current situation, and expecting that no 'FVL' of EU or US flavour is likely until 2040+, my preference would still be buying into AW149 for assembly at Yeovil and trying to keep the AW189 line there too. Should keep them in business for another decade. I can't see any other affordable way to retain both a UK helicopter industry and replace Puma.

Some good analysis here:
https://www.aerosociety.com/news/blade- ... -2040plus/

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Tinman »

Jensy wrote:
Defiance wrote:It'll be interesting to see the workshare crapshoot that comes out of this one
I would be mildly shocked if the programme doesn't split at some point.

With Germany ordering additional NH-90s and us set to replace Puma, there's a great deal of time for all sorts of cracks and political infighting to emerge.

Also curious what "leadership" we can bring to the programme considering the UK helicopter industry is hardly in rude health.
We will not be buying an Airbus helicopter, especially if it is involving the German’s and French. Lessons learned from Typhoon and A400

Tinman
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Tinman »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Jensy wrote: With Germany ordering additional NH-90s and us set to replace Puma, there's a great deal of time for all sorts of cracks
That is the point;
we were pushed the way of 'heavy' bcz of A-stan
we were over-light (a long time ago)
the 'middle' has been 'lost' = patched over

Oh-boy; we have the gunships on order, the Chinook fleet being renewed
... what will fill the 'middle'? (forgetting navy&land)
A number of MH47F to replace the old chinooks, USA Future lift is a favourite.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

While the above post about current 'favourite' is likely true, of this one
SW1 wrote:AgustaWestland 32%
is the 0.75% our share, plus the glory for 'leading'?
Jensy wrote:buying into AW149 for assembly at Yeovil and trying to keep the AW189 line there too. Should keep them in business for another decade. I can't see any other affordable way to retain both a UK helicopter industry and replace Puma.
The timelines, as you say, look dire
... there's something similar about the T23 and the Pumas saga. Except that regenerating shipbuilding is probably easier than a viable helicopter company (OK, we've been borrowing designs for ages, so let's do it again).
- But I mean viability, ongoing, when even the leading US ones have been gobbled up by defence conglomerates
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

SW1
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »



Interesting to see a change in emphasis in a lot of recent announcements to investing in the UK skills base a real positive change or simply window dressing we will see

SD67
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SD67 »

Jensy wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Jensy wrote:
From our current situation, and expecting that no 'FVL' of EU or US flavour is likely until 2040+, my preference would still be buying into AW149 for assembly at Yeovil and trying to keep the AW189 line there too. Should keep them in business for another decade.
IMO that would be one of the most sensible things the MOD have done for ages.
You could even long term consolidate SAR, Police, Disaster relief etc into one basic type and negotiate for a long term base workload at Westland

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SD67 wrote: SAR, Police, Disaster relief
SAR was in the 'pool' until it was privatised (good helos, at least for that purpose), Police rqrmnts are v different and they need them all over the country (as for civilian used types, with the logistics backup also all over the place
- but what helo force is there for disaster relief?

Let's get a ship first... then load it up with armed forces helos (on 'all expenses paid' basis) abt once a year?
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

SD67
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SD67 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
SD67 wrote: SAR, Police, Disaster relief
SAR was in the 'pool' until it was privatised (good helos, at least for that purpose), Police rqrmnts are v different and they need them all over the country (as for civilian used types, with the logistics backup also all over the place
- but what helo force is there for disaster relief?

Let's get a ship first... then load it up with armed forces helos (on 'all expenses paid' basis) abt once a year?
A friend at DFID tells of flying all over Africa in ex-Soviet death traps hired on expensive short term leases.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Now we know where the monies (at first taken from highly taxed working people) handed over to charities, for them to execute (as we can't 'afford' to build up any kind of machinery to look after the umpteen billions we are literally throwing into the wind) go.

Into expensive leases
, which is a huge improvement from the past, when it was
1. either to the real (not imitation) leather croc shoes for dictators (Idi Amin was particularly deserving as he kept the crocodiles well fed),
2. or to arms - labelled as school books - for various revolutionary and/ or national liberation movements
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

SW1
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

Police and HEMS in the UK tend to go for H135/145 or aw169. The aw149/189 are to much helicopter for there needs. HM coastguard does use aw189 as part of the SAR contract.

How you would perhaps tie such units into a fwd engagement strategy to support uk aid or the like and what role miltary units would or should have in it is an interesting question. Certainly you could see parallels with the army’s adaptable force and reaction force split. As has always been the cause the enabling forces have significant utility beyond the purely military roles but they are cut more than the fighting end.

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Tempest414
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Tempest414 »

As I said before replace Puma , Gazelle , and Bell 212 with 80 AW-149 with 30 for the RAF and 50 for the AAC fitted with folding rotor and base 60 at RAF Benson and the rest at Middle Wallop or Wattisham

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Dahedd »

Tempest414 wrote:As I said before replace Puma , Gazelle , and Bell 212 with 80 AW-149 with 30 for the RAF and 50 for the AAC fitted with folding rotor and base 60 at RAF Benson and the rest at Middle Wallop or Wattisham
Add the Wildcat to that list too & give them all to the RN

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by tomuk »

Dahedd wrote:
Tempest414 wrote:As I said before replace Puma , Gazelle , and Bell 212 with 80 AW-149 with 30 for the RAF and 50 for the AAC fitted with folding rotor and base 60 at RAF Benson and the rest at Middle Wallop or Wattisham
Add the Wildcat to that list too & give them all to the RN
I have said the same thing many times before
Gazelle Wildcat Bell 212 > AW169
Puma >AW149
Wildcat to Navy

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Tempest414 »

tomuk wrote:I have said the same thing many times before
Gazelle Wildcat Bell 212 > AW169
Puma >AW149
Wildcat to Navy
I don't see why you would have a split of 149 and 169 a larger buy and upgrade path of one type is better in the long run. Also Wildcat and Aw-149 would fill very different roles in the ACC one is a battle field recce and the other is Utillity / troop movement

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/04/fvl ... ssion=true

Most military veterans swear by the gear they’re familiar with. But in this op-ed, former Marine Corps V-22 test pilot Scott Trail says that while tiltrotors are a good fit for the Marine Corps’ long-range missions, a compound helicopter is a better match for the Army. Why? Read on! The Editors.

Which aircraft should the Army buy to replace the Reagan-era UH-60 Black Hawk? On March 30, the Army announced that Bell Textron’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor and the Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant X compound helicopter will advance to the next phase of the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program.

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