UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: could already been well underway with a common type
Isn't this a 'take two' on the Snatch Landrover story?
- not enough helicopters!
- Chinook was the only one fitting the 'bill' as upgrading Pumas for hot&high and with defensive aids took its time
- and the most common type is now the heavy one (with the whole fleet 'lopsided')
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marktigger
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by marktigger »

Not a bad idea going into this program.

I see osprey has been mantioned, personally I think it would be a useful asset as a COD and Support Aircraft for the carriers.
I'm hoping the Puma is actually replaced and not gapped to save money with something of a similar size and capability. NH90?

the subject of the Bell 212/412 has been raised and maybe they could be replaced with AW149 and add in some more for the AAC to upgrade their lift capability and some VIP platforms for 32sqn and bring the royal flight back in house. Gazelle the EC145 would be an excellent choice to replace these.

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Jensy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Jensy »

Looks like Airbus is trying to get their foot in the door. At a RAeS conference on Next-Gen Rotorcraft, they have pitched A militarised version of the the H175 for UK production and export





Seems a slightly modest and cramped (see below) option considering they have: NH90, Super Puma and even the much larger Super Cougar for sale, though perhaps this is a production line they're willing to give up (it's produced in China as the Avicopter AC352):

Image

Hopefully Leonardo will make a compelling, competing offer for the AW149 to keep Yeovil open, or we finally give into the Blackhawk in its twilight years.

FG Article on H175 upgrades (sorry I don't have a subscription):

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 60.article

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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Jensy wrote: Seems a slightly modest and cramped (see below) option considering they have: NH90, Super Puma and even the much larger Super Cougar for sale, though perhaps this is a production line they're willing to give up (it's produced in China as the Avicopter AC352):
Because the puma requirements isn’t based around larger. It’s a need to move 8-10 people into confined or urban environments while being easier to deploy on transport a/c.

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Jensy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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SW1 wrote:
Jensy wrote: Seems a slightly modest and cramped (see below) option considering they have: NH90, Super Puma and even the much larger Super Cougar for sale, though perhaps this is a production line they're willing to give up (it's produced in China as the Avicopter AC352):
Because the puma requirements isn’t based around larger. It’s a need to move 8-10 people into confined or urban environments while being easier to deploy on transport a/c.
At present I don't believe the H175 (in its Airbus format) is offered with folding rotors.

In terms of weight it's only a tonne lighter than the AW149 which is already 'militarised'. Conversely the H160m and AW139 are even smaller and offered with folding rotors.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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Jensy wrote:
SW1 wrote:
Jensy wrote: Seems a slightly modest and cramped (see below) option considering they have: NH90, Super Puma and even the much larger Super Cougar for sale, though perhaps this is a production line they're willing to give up (it's produced in China as the Avicopter AC352):
Because the puma requirements isn’t based around larger. It’s a need to move 8-10 people into confined or urban environments while being easier to deploy on transport a/c.
At present I don't believe the H175 (in its Airbus format) is offered with folding rotors.

In terms of weight it's only a tonne lighter than the AW149 which is already 'militarised'. Conversely the H160m and AW139 are even smaller and offered with folding rotors.
I’m not sure your point. If they’re talking of offering it they will offer a configuration they believe meets the requirement.

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Jensy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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SW1 wrote:I’m not sure your point. If they’re talking of offering it they will offer a configuration they believe meets the requirement.
Which will surely add cost for such a small order. I was replying to your suggestion that a Puma replacement would prioritise compactness and ease of transportation over payload.

This is being framed as an interim purchase of medium helicopters to last around 20 years, not a bespoke product handcrafted to meet the exacting specifications of the RAF for half a century. If there was ever a time to look to an minimum change, OTS solution, this is it.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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For military use
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EsQ3HRwXAAE ... name=large
take away 6 seats, just to get troops out thru the door

Luckily it does not have a ramp (the one on NH90 was too weak for the troops+bergens to rush over it)
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.
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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Jensy wrote:
SW1 wrote:I’m not sure your point. If they’re talking of offering it they will offer a configuration they believe meets the requirement.
Which will surely add cost for such a small order. I was replying to your suggestion that a Puma replacement would prioritise compactness and ease of transportation over payload.

This is being framed as an interim purchase of medium helicopters to last around 20 years, not a bespoke product handcrafted to meet the exacting specifications of the RAF for half a century. If there was ever a time to look to an minimum change, OTS solution, this is it.
I was confused as you were talking about blade folding and the like not sure where that came from. I don’t think h160 will be in service by 2025. And aw options are a different company but similar sized offerings.

Nothing is going to be off the shelf for 20 years service. Most aircraft are designed for 25 year service life.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

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ArmChairCivvy wrote:For military use
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EsQ3HRwXAAE ... name=large
take away 6 seats, just to get troops out thru the door

Luckily it does not have a ramp (the one on NH90 was too weak for the troops+bergens to rush over it)
Configuration would likely be 10 seats up the middle 5 facing out each side I would guess as that’s what most end up looking like

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Jensy
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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Jensy »

SW1 wrote: Nothing is going to be off the shelf for 20 years service. Most aircraft are designed for 25 year service life.
The 20 years service life is a specific reference to the original Tony Robinson tweet that comes before the two you posted.

Folding rotor blades (powered or not) seem fairly essential if you're seeking ease of transport by an airlifter, otherwise you're simply wasting valuable time and crews at each end of the air-bridge.

I included AW's offerings because of the obvious synergies already existing at Yeovil with the AW149/189 and the previous offers made by Leonardo for UK assembly of either model.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

Jensy wrote:
SW1 wrote: Nothing is going to be off the shelf for 20 years service. Most aircraft are designed for 25 year service life.
The 20 years service life is a reference to the original Tony Robinson tweet that comes before the two you posted.

Folding rotor blades (powered or not) seem fairly essential if you're seeking ease of transport by an airlifter, otherwise you're simply wasting valuable time and crews at each end of the air-bridge.

I included AW's offerings because of the obvious synergies already existing at Yeovil with the AW139/149 and the previous offers made by Leonardo for UK assembly of either model.
My reference to 20 years service was that, that is basically a full service life so it’s not a short period.

There not

I don’t believe aw would offer aw139 assembly in the uk in fact they’ve said previously they are against another aw139 final assembly line in Europe.

Aw149 and aw169 has been offered to for final assembly in the uk. The aw149 has not been particularly successful but an equally reasonable choice.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by serge750 »

Hi, Excuse my ignorance for the crap suggestion ? but could we not except a limited capability for a few years until a common replacement for the merlins etc by buying more wildcats which would keep yeovil open, no differing logistical supply line, its not in the same league as puma but if we could except the limitations? or is this a total non starter?

Would love to see a compound type format replacement for the merlins when they need replacing but considering ASW / ASAC is a different ball game to troop transport, could this work....

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Little J »

Where are Airbus proposing to build these Heli's?

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

There is rumours of army looking to replace gazelle with h145m. You could potientially live with a compromise around that platform but you’d need to look at where and who is using Puma at present.

Airbus helicopter have facilities at Oxford and Aberdeen. However if you potentially read some tea leaves and squint a little it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that leonardo helicopters and airbus helicopters merge, to offer a long term counterweight to US helicopter manufactures

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Little J »

serge750 wrote:Hi, Excuse my ignorance for the crap suggestion ? but could we not except a limited capability for a few years until a common replacement for the merlins etc by buying more wildcats which would keep yeovil open, no differing logistical supply line, its not in the same league as puma but if we could except the limitations? or is this a total non starter?

Would love to see a compound type format replacement for the merlins when they need replacing but considering ASW / ASAC is a different ball game to troop transport, could this work....
From the Crowsnest thread... :D
Little J wrote:Here's a daft idea...
Take 14 Wildcats from the Army, give them to the Navy (get them up to HMA.2 but with dipping sonar modification). Freeing up some Merlin's...
Give the Army 10 AW149's (less airframes, but more capable)...
20 more AW149's to the RAF (to replace Puma) until the Future Vertical Whatsit is ready...

Plenty of work for Yeovil (including AW149 build and Wildcat upgrade)
Plenty of Merlin's for Crowsnest and other carrier centric duty's...

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that leonardo helicopters and airbus helicopters merge, to offer a long term counterweight to US helicopter manufactures
Indeed... just how fast those 'masters of the universe' folded into bigger (and more diversified) 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)

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

Little J wrote:
serge750 wrote:Hi, Excuse my ignorance for the crap suggestion ? but could we not except a limited capability for a few years until a common replacement for the merlins etc by buying more wildcats which would keep yeovil open, no differing logistical supply line, its not in the same league as puma but if we could except the limitations? or is this a total non starter?

Would love to see a compound type format replacement for the merlins when they need replacing but considering ASW / ASAC is a different ball game to troop transport, could this work....
From the Crowsnest thread... :D
Little J wrote:Here's a daft idea...
Take 14 Wildcats from the Army, give them to the Navy (get them up to HMA.2 but with dipping sonar modification). Freeing up some Merlin's...
Give the Army 10 AW149's (less airframes, but more capable)...
20 more AW149's to the RAF (to replace Puma) until the Future Vertical Whatsit is ready...

Plenty of work for Yeovil (including AW149 build and Wildcat upgrade)
Plenty of Merlin's for Crowsnest and other carrier centric duty's...
There is another option move crowsnest and perhaps ocu training onto the merlin mk4 and move the commando helicopter requirement onto a new marinised Puma replacement and the chinook force.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by Little J »

There was originally concept art of Crowsnest on a rear ramp... Looked way better (aero wise) than stuck on the side...

And to be honest, I think all future frontline helicopters should be marinised, regardless of who will operate them.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by ~UNiOnJaCk~ »

SW1 wrote:
That actually seems like a really sensible strategy in terms of the division of roles between manned and unmanned.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by marktigger »

everyone focuses on moving an infantry section. However a "medium" lift helicopter would need to lift more. things like Light gun and its eventual replacement again into confined spaces. In belize when i was there we had a 4 aircraft puma flight. They tried using Lynx then got Bell 212 on lease. Have seen the Irish Lift light gun with an AW139. I know we're going to get the "thats the Chinook's role" but did we ever try operating chinook in Belize? The HLS's were very restricted and looked tight at times. We should have some capability to operate in those enviroments.

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by J. Tattersall »

SW1 wrote: Folding rotor blades (powered or not) seem fairly essential if you're seeking ease of transport by an airlifter, otherwise you're simply wasting valuable time and crews at each end of the air-bridge.
Clearly folding blades make life a bit easier. That said rotor blade removal and refitting isn't too much of an embuggerance, nor is usually usually the standard check fight with vibration analysis and blade track afterwards. This all needs to be set against folding heads which have a higher design cost and maintenance penalty set against them. It's a real swings and roundabouts debate.

J. Tattersall

Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by J. Tattersall »

Jensy wrote:Looks like Airbus is trying to get their foot in the door. At a RAeS conference on Next-Gen Rotorcraft, they have pitched A militarised version of the the H175 for UK production and export





Seems a slightly modest and cramped (see below) option considering they have: NH90, Super Puma and even the much larger Super Cougar for sale, though perhaps this is a production line they're willing to give up (it's produced in China as the Avicopter AC352):

Image

Hopefully Leonardo will make a compelling, competing offer for the AW149 to keep Yeovil open, or we finally give into the Blackhawk in its twilight years.

FG Article on H175 upgrades (sorry I don't have a subscription):

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 60.article
Must say I found the Flight Global article on the Airbus ambition to replace Puma with H175 quite intriguing https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 73.article A number of thoughts:

1) Just because one might make a capability case to replace Puma doesn't necessarily mean that one should. Introducing a new aircraft type brings with it a large non-recurring cost and the judgment might be made to spend the money on a higher priority.

2) I've seen plenty of articles on how Puma, and thus a similar sized helicopter, is really useful. But that's very different from saying one's essential. It might be or not be so.

3) Whatever the rights and wrongs of Brexit the UK is no longer bound to follow EU defence procurement rules (with its complex tendering requirements, industrial offset, exemptions and derogations). European suppliers might therefore feel they need to make a better overall offer to the UK than hitherto.

4) The H175 seems not to be a military type aircraft. This is important because to enter UK military service it would need to be certified against UK defence airworthiness requirements. This all takes cost and time and previous experience of certifying civil aircraft types for military use hasn't always been plane sailing (no pun intended).

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Re: UK Future Vertical Lift Programme

Post by SW1 »

marktigger wrote:everyone focuses on moving an infantry section. However a "medium" lift helicopter would need to lift more. things like Light gun and its eventual replacement again into confined spaces. In belize when i was there we had a 4 aircraft puma flight. They tried using Lynx then got Bell 212 on lease. Have seen the Irish Lift light gun with an AW139. I know we're going to get the "thats the Chinook's role" but did we ever try operating chinook in Belize? The HLS's were very restricted and looked tight at times. We should have some capability to operate in those enviroments.
The only issue here is will the army be introducing anything that is capable of being underslung from a helicopter. Most stuff is now starting to go beyond even chinook.

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