Joint Helicopter Force

Contains threads on Joint Service equipment of the past, present and future.
Lord Jim
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Lord Jim »

Agreed, but I feel the Puma and definitely any programme to find a replacement are very vulnerable to efforts to save money an therefore could be cut/cancelled.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

The "initial" options papers from within MDP - supposedly leaked - had lots of Pumas, Wildcats, even Chinooks appearing as "options for cuts".
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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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

I read somewhere, in different places for the two, that the "keeper" for Watchkeepers and AAC's fixed-wing a/c is now the JHC?
- has that actually been implemented
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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SKB
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by SKB »


(Forces TV) 19 Nov 2018
Apache and Wildcat helicopters have taken to the skies to participate in an exercise to prepare personnel for potential threats or deployments. Exercise Talon Python is a chance for 3 Regiment Army Air Corps to demonstrate their ability to operate in different environments and the first time the two helicopter crews have worked together for an extended period.

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SKB
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by SKB »


(Forces TV) 7th October 2019
Twenty years ago the Joint Helicopter Command was formed to bring together under one command the Battlefield Helicopters and Air Assault Force Elements of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. We've taken a look at its beginnings and what it has become today.

jimthelad
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by jimthelad »

"Divestment of three heavy helicopter squadrons
Based on analysis by our aviation subject-matter-experts,
five squadrons provide sufficient capacity to satisfy our
requirements as well as our future force as described
in approved naval concepts.
Divestment of three medium-lift tiltrotor squadrons
Given the reduction of infantry battalion capacity and
associated combat support, the remaining tiltrotor force
should be sufficient to our needs."

This quote come from then USMC force redesign 2020.

There may be a few Merlin going up for sale at a reduced price?

abc123
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by abc123 »

jimthelad wrote:"Divestment of three heavy helicopter squadrons
Based on analysis by our aviation subject-matter-experts,
five squadrons provide sufficient capacity to satisfy our
requirements as well as our future force as described
in approved naval concepts.
Divestment of three medium-lift tiltrotor squadrons
Given the reduction of infantry battalion capacity and
associated combat support, the remaining tiltrotor force
should be sufficient to our needs."

This quote come from then USMC force redesign 2020.

There may be a few Merlin going up for sale at a reduced price?
Merlins? or Ospreys?
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

Lord Jim
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Lord Jim »

Nice idea for second hand Ospreys, but the operating costs !?

I think we need to be looking at a purchase of around 30 AW169M or similar sized helicopter to replace the Puma but to be allocated to the AAC to directly support 16 Air Assault. It is the right size in my opinion able to carry an Infantry Section, and is a pretty flexible and easily reconfigurable platform. 30 are enough to equip a single AAC Regiment with a number available for training and attrition replacement. If necessary the AAC could also bin its Wildcat fleet after transferring up to 12 to the FAA for conversion to scout, light attack to support the RM.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Lord Jim wrote: 30 are enough to equip a single AAC Regiment
to generate exactly what capability?

Puma fleet was LEpped to create space for a rethink of the medium helo needs (the heavy having been growing disproportionately under the influence of COIN-type of ops we were engaged in at the time).
- good thinking, considering how the tilt-rotor offering has matured since

And we could not use the top-heavy Pumas (safely) on our flattops, anyway. So the very costly conversion of Merlins into that role made sense.

Carrier(s) as amphib(s) by leveraging the plentiful Chinooks is an option... throw in a few Apaches as long as you cab keep them away from seawater/ -spay.
- but whatabout other airmobile ops of the future?
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: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by SW1 »

Well the French use the puma of there amphibious ships. I believe the Americans navy even used them of supply ships (old RFA ness class they bought in the eighties).

The rational for replacement of puma will likely be based on the ability to operate in confined particularly urban environments (an area that will become ever more important home and abroad) and the ability to be rapidly transported globally with minimal of fuss.

There is rumours of a h145m replacement for gazelle and the Australians and Germans are buying for sf work.
Would also make a interesting donor airframe for firescout equivalent for a number of missions.

Chinook will remain for long range insertions and heavy lift.

Ron5
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Ron5 »

Any ex-Marine Ospreys will be knackered and would need mucho dineros to get fit for RAF/RN service.

But a nice idea in theory for the QE's for long range insertion/SAR.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote:Well the French use the puma of there amphibious ships.
What else did they have, at that time?

Our risk assessment:
"As a result of its age, design (narrow undercarriage, high centre of gravity and a nose wheel tricycle gear), outdated crashworthiness limitations and flying and handling characteristics, you have to question the suitability of the design of the early Puma helicopter (SA. 330 models) in any modern hostile military theatre (particularly during brown-out landings) and future challenging roles and therefore the value of investing further (both from a financial and H&S perspective) in this aging platform.

Aircraft Vulnerability. A comparison of the SH accident records, at Annex C, supports a common belief that Puma is more vulnerable to crash damage (and to subsequent loss of life) than other types of BH involved in similar missions. A likely explanation for this may be the fact that, relative to other BH, Puma has a particularly high C of G. The resulting high crash moments generated by its gearbox and engines, coupled with a relatively short wheel base and tricycle undercarriage, makes for relatively poor crashworthiness compared with, for example, Chinook which has a low C of G and wheels on each corner. The propensity of Puma to turn over after a heavy landing is well known, and increases the vulnerability of crewman and passengers who are not properly restrained. We are aware of, and support, the work into crashworthy seats being carried out by MOD as part of the Puma HC2 Assessment phase."

Source - Strategic Review of the Puma Helicopter Force 2008 - Para 2.2.1
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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clivestonehouse1
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by clivestonehouse1 »

They also had a nasty habit of blowing over on runways in high winds.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

clivestonehouse1 wrote: in high winds.
No such at sea...
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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clivestonehouse1
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by clivestonehouse1 »

In 1996 a Puma squadron was Boltholed to RAF Honington and two blew over within a week of each other.

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SW1
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by SW1 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
SW1 wrote:Well the French use the puma of there amphibious ships.
What else did they have, at that time?

Our risk assessment:
"As a result of its age, design (narrow undercarriage, high centre of gravity and a nose wheel tricycle gear), outdated crashworthiness limitations and flying and handling characteristics, you have to question the suitability of the design of the early Puma helicopter (SA. 330 models) in any modern hostile military theatre (particularly during brown-out landings) and future challenging roles and therefore the value of investing further (both from a financial and H&S perspective) in this aging platform.

Aircraft Vulnerability. A comparison of the SH accident records, at Annex C, supports a common belief that Puma is more vulnerable to crash damage (and to subsequent loss of life) than other types of BH involved in similar missions. A likely explanation for this may be the fact that, relative to other BH, Puma has a particularly high C of G. The resulting high crash moments generated by its gearbox and engines, coupled with a relatively short wheel base and tricycle undercarriage, makes for relatively poor crashworthiness compared with, for example, Chinook which has a low C of G and wheels on each corner. The propensity of Puma to turn over after a heavy landing is well known, and increases the vulnerability of crewman and passengers who are not properly restrained. We are aware of, and support, the work into crashworthy seats being carried out by MOD as part of the Puma HC2 Assessment phase."

Source - Strategic Review of the Puma Helicopter Force 2008 - Para 2.2.1
Not disagreeing it’s been a known problem with the puma for a very long time. There crashworthiness was a major reason for wanting to replace them with modern type rather than upgrade way back when but cash was not forthcoming.

But that doesn’t negate the fact the French have and do regularly operate puma from a there LHDs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistral-c ... ixmude.jpg

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: wanting to replace them with modern type rather than upgrade way back when but cash was not forthcoming.
Indeed wasn't, but Puma LEP can really be considered a UOR, as after the Iraq equipment debacle " the Treasury was trying to be "helpful" to the MoD, but there was no prospect of changing major decisions[ rather the opposite, under the code name SDSR2010].

However, the Treasury has agreed to pay for upgrades to Puma helicopters used by troops in Afghanistan out of the special reserve, a move that would save £250m from the core defence budget. The full cost of special allowances for troops deployed to Afghanistan – some £10m a year – will also be paid out of the Treasury's reserve."
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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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

BTW, what can Puma 2 and Merlin, respectively, lift?

Just saw the Gurkhas driving around in LR WMIKs, which supposedly are on their way out
- maybe their weight makes the fire power/ protection combo of those otherwise nearly obsolescent vehicles appealing (those Gurkha Rifles that are here, not in Brunei, being attached to 16X)
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)

Timmymagic
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Timmymagic »

SW1 wrote:I believe the Americans navy even used them of supply ships (old RFA ness class they bought in the eighties).
They're still used by the USNS under a commercial contract for VERTREP. Usually white painted Super Puma, no national markings on. Believe the Puma's were retired.
SW1 wrote:Well the French use the puma of there amphibious ships
The Brazilians are also using them off the Atlantico (ex-Ocean).
SW1 wrote:The rational for replacement of puma will likely be based on the ability to operate in confined particularly urban environments (an area that will become ever more important home and abroad) and the ability to be rapidly transported globally with minimal of fuss.
And be as dirt cheap to operate as Puma is.

SW1
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by SW1 »

It’s like anything you can prioritise where you spend your budget it’s a choice, it’s just very rarely that support forces get priority funding.

ArmChairCivvy wrote:BTW, what can Puma 2 and Merlin, respectively, lift?

Just saw the Gurkhas driving around in LR WMIKs, which supposedly are on their way out
- maybe their weight makes the fire power/ protection combo of those otherwise nearly obsolescent vehicles appealing (those Gurkha Rifles that are here, not in Brunei, being attached to 16X)
In the height of afghan summer puma 2 can lift more than a merlin....

Lord Jim
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Lord Jim »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:to generate exactly what capability?
TO be effective one of the capabilities 16 Air Assault needs is organic helicopter lift, ideally a platform able to lift Infantry Sections of weapons teams around the battle field. Yes this could be done by the Chinook, but these are going to be in very high demand and may not always be available. It s smaller size gives it advantages in certain circumstances as would the option for it to be armed beyond door guns.

Saying that, integral helicopter transport is just one of many items 16 Air Assault need to make it actually fit for purpose and not just a formation with very good light role infantry.

Little J
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Little J »

The obvious replacement (based purely on spec's) would be the NH90, however that's still riddled with problems (from what I've read recently on the unreliable interweb), is massively expensive to operate and get parts for...

Blackhawk is the more likely option
MH139 is now a FMS OPTION (Although probably a bit small)
Aw149 would be my choice (if the slung load could be increased).

SW1
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by SW1 »

Is 16 air assault likely to remain in its current form, after the defence review will it’s role and configuration remain the same?

Chinook will remain the primary means of moving troops and logistics around. Puma is primarily retained for SF and urban operations. That likely means the requirement will be centred around moving a team of 8 and a rotor diameter of about 45ft or less.

I think there will be two very distinct but mutually supports themes for uk defence going fwd both of equal importance and funding. One being projection of forces from the uk capable of engaging Russia and one set up to a ever more sophisticated none state enemy/support to civil powers role ( the so described grey zone). The supporting arms of all three services will be especially important particularly in the later role.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

A good post, just to add:
SW1 wrote:Is 16 air assault likely to remain in its current form
Currently seen as a centre of excellence, retaining the critical mass to experiment, hone and train semi-specialist skills. This is reflected i.a. in
- the fact that the Apache rgrmnts are pre-allocated between early-entry forces and 3rd division
- that the additional infantry (gurkha) bn was not administratively moved under the Bde
So, unlikely to be deployed as one, monolithic structure
... which neatly takes me to the 6th division, for which the same applies
SW1 wrote:The supporting arms of all three services will be especially important particularly in the later role.
- the rationale given for it pretty much says that, if read carefully
- but at the same time there is no exclusivity (of the division's assets) for that purpose only
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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Tempest414
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Re: Joint Helicopter Force

Post by Tempest414 »

For me due to the need of rapid deployment any new type needs to be able to be airlifted in pairs the same as the Puma's however as I have also said in the past for me any Puma replacement needs to be navalized to allow deployment aboard the Carriers or any future LPH/LHD. For me NH90 would work well even given it problems

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