AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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SKB
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Old RN
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Old RN »

Can some one help explain to me the logic of Sea Venom (100kg weapon, 30kg warhead, 25+km range) when the UK is about to bring into service SPEAR3 (100kg weapon, 30kg warhead, 140km range) which is also network enabled?

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Helicopters (and vessels that carry them) are in more places than where fast jet ops could be sustained.
- even if the situation were to escalate, might take time to get our moving sovereign airfield - or two - in place
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Aethulwulf »

Old RN wrote:Can some one help explain to me the logic of Sea Venom (100kg weapon, 30kg warhead, 25+km range) when the UK is about to bring into service SPEAR3 (100kg weapon, 30kg warhead, 140km range) which is also network enabled?
Sea Venom is a sea skimming missile using passive infrared image tracking. It is designed for release at low level by helicopter and for attacking surface ships. With its flight profile and minimal emissions, it is very challenging for a ship's system to detect and intercept.

Spear 3 is being designed for release at medium altitudes by supersonic aircraft and does not sea skim. Its targeting relies on either 3rd party laser illumination of the target or its own active radar seeker (or a mixture of both). It is an air to ground missile primarily designed to hit moving targets, e.g. armoured vehicles. With its flight profile and active emissions, it is much easier for a ship's system to detect and intercept. Any attack on ships with air defence capabilities would probably have to use a swarm attack to try and overwhelm the ship's defences.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Ron5 »

I fear you may be both missing the point of the question.

The way I read it was, why is the UK developing two missiles with such close attributes of size & weight when one has 5 times the range of the other? I think the questioner is asking, surely it would have been better to develop one (better) missile with alternative guidance systems for the two applications. That way Sea Venom could enjoy a longer range and the UK could have spent less on development and testing.

Apologies if I am incorrect.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Which missiles do " double duty" in the way of being launched from high up (often with initial, i.e. the jet's velocity already being high) and the same missile launched from a helo hovering close to sea level (i.e. can, but need not be, stationary)?
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: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Aethulwulf »

You just have to look at the wing/fin designs of the two missiles. They are clearly designed for very different flight profiles. Very much doubt if Spear could fly 10 m altitude for sea skimming.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Old RN wrote:Can some one help explain to me the logic of Sea Venom (100kg weapon, 30kg warhead, 25+km range) when the UK is about to bring into service SPEAR3 (100kg weapon, 30kg warhead, 140km range) which is also network enabled?
It's a fair question. Ostensibly they are very similar. And I've wondered, given the similarities, the same myself. Couple of things to note though.
- The Spear warhead is probably going to be 15-20kg not 30kg.
- Range - Spear gets a lot of that range from the height and speed of release. The US SDBII, which is almost a facsimile of Spear, is unpowered but gets a glide range of 70 miles from a similar launch. The turbojet and fuel system on Spear (Spear has a smaller warhead than SDBII to fit these in) adds 50m+ to the range figure. The more efficient cruise at med/high altitude helps as well. I suspect that if Spear followed a similar flight profile at low level as Sea Venom then the difference in range would be fairly small.

If anything the above only makes it even more confusing...to add more confusion to the mix...
- Neither is going to be cheap...
- Spear would need a rocket booster attached to get the missile to speed to get the turbojet working if launched from a surface vessel or helicopter. But this isn't something new to MBDA. Its an easy job., but also would pay double benefits by getting Spear the ability to be ground launched..
- The Sea Venom warhead is likely to be tailored to anti-ship work, like Sea Skuas was. But...Spear is modular, putting in a more focused warhead isn't a massive deal.
- The Spear sensor might not be perfect for the role...but Spear is modular, it has a datalink and MBDA have been looking at an IIR addition to the Brimstone/Spear seeker work
- Maybe Sea Venom executes some terminal manoeuvres in its final attack run. Spear with its powered nature could also do this...
- The flipside is why not make Sea Venom launchable from fast air...or as a modular missile that could be used for other roles...

Ultimately there isn't going to be anybody here, or publicly for that matter, who will be able to answer your perfectly sensible and reasoned question on this. The only comfort I can give is that the good (and well run) work on the UK's Complex Weapon Portfolio, that has led to the likes of CAMM, Brimstone developments, Spear, Martlet etc, has clearly identified that there is a reason to have a separate weapon. Where possible they have looked to re-use or re-purpose existing systems. Clearly in this case they've reasoned that that isn't possible or beneficial. One reason, off the top of my head, that could have played in, would be Sea Venom following the Sea Skua's ease of use and maintenance specifically for use on a naval platform which was widely praised.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Timmymagic wrote:the sensible and well run work on the UK's Complex Weapon Portfolio, that has led to the likes of CAMM, Brimstone developments, Spear, Martlet etc, has clearly identified that there is a reason to have a separate weapon. Where possible they have looked to re-use or re-purpose existing systems
Spear 3 was v close to being called "SDB2". Add relative development timelines (the back of my head does not hold them for now), and...
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: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Lord Jim »

It is interesting how the US has developed near clones of both Brimstone and Spear 3 rather than purchase an overseas weapon. I suppose if you have the money you have that luxury.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Lord Jim wrote: near clones
I know of another country that is doing the same. And if 'we' are not careful, we will be dancing to the tune of one (or! the other).
- Russia? An intermediate, regional power. However, in "our" region... let's not forget that, either
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: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Lord Jim wrote:It is interesting how the US has developed near clones of both Brimstone and Spear 3 rather than purchase an overseas weapon. I suppose if you have the money you have that luxury.
The other way round surely?

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Err, what :wtf:
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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Ron5 »

As spotted by Gabrielle in Soldier magazine, the Army is getting a Wildcat fitted with a Seaspray radar to play with. One of their top wishlist items. The theory is Wildcat does the long/mid range spotting for Apache. Or for itself I guess.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Ron5 wrote:As spotted by Gabrielle in Soldier magazine, the Army is getting a Wildcat fitted with a Seaspray radar to play with. One of their top wishlist items. The theory is Wildcat does the long/mid range spotting for Apache. Or for itself I guess.
That makes far more sense. Always struck me as daft that the Apache had better sensors than the scout helicopter.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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Image
Image
Image
(@815NAS) 30th October 2020
Great photos of the new Leonardo Helicopters Weapon Wing. You can see the wing is shaped like an aerofoil to help generate lift in forward flight. Also notice the wheels are toed out, perfect for small deck ops!

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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I wonder if those wings could carry Brimstone for the Army?

PS Just had a quick check, Brimstone even with a booster is smaller/lighter than Sea Venom, so yes.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by dmereifield »

Ron5 wrote:I wonder if those wings could carry Brimstone for the Army?

PS Just had a quick check, Brimstone even with a booster is smaller/lighter than Sea Venom, so yes.
Can but won't

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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dmereifield wrote:
Ron5 wrote:I wonder if those wings could carry Brimstone for the Army?

PS Just had a quick check, Brimstone even with a booster is smaller/lighter than Sea Venom, so yes.
Can but won't
for all the same reasons that type 31 can't be the best it can be because if it is the best it can be then HMG will see it as good enough to get rid of high end kit

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Ron5 »

dmereifield wrote:
Ron5 wrote:I wonder if those wings could carry Brimstone for the Army?

PS Just had a quick check, Brimstone even with a booster is smaller/lighter than Sea Venom, so yes.
Can but won't
Apache would certainly be first in line but assuming that happens, I see no great reason why Wildcat would not be similarly equipped to go with their new radars. The "wings" are cheap (costs are on the internet) and the AAC would have the logs & support set up. That would leave the cost of the onboard systems & qualification. Not trivial but not mind blowing either.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

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https://www.dsca.mil/tags/united-kingdom

The UK has lined up the potential purchase of 400 Hellfire missiles. That may indicate Brimstone will not be integrated onto Apache after all.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

I guess that they expect firing so many of them that there could be a need to share (common) resupply with allies
- Protectors flying off airbases are a slightly different story (or is that integration still on track?)
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: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Phil Sayers »

It was just my assumption that the Hellfires were for AAC Apaches; had forgotten it could be for Reapers / Protectors instead.

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Re: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

It is quite possible that you are right and I was looking for an explanation (shared stock piles in the field - where JIT logistics can't be taken for granted, so may have to borrow from 'neighbour')
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: AW159 Wildcat Helicopter (RN & AAC)

Post by Max Jones »

Have there been any notable military exercises around the Somerset/Wiltshire area involving Wildcats lately? I've been seeing a lot of them flying around north of Yeovilton over the last couple days.

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