Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Contains threads on Royal Air Force equipment of the past, present and future.
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Jensy
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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by Jensy »

I think it's fair to say, the NH90 has not exactly been a success for many of its customers:



Can also see why LockMart isn't trying that hard to win NMH. Shifting us Polski-built helos, rather than UK manufactue etc. They clearly know that they have a highly capable in demand platform. One that is in many cases 'replacing the replacement of a prior Blackhawk'.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by Lord Jim »

I wonder how long it will be before additional issues arise with the naval variant of the NH-90 and more countries decide to move to the MH-60R or even the Wildcat, well one can always hope. If cost is the driver as well as having a platform also used by many of our allies, the UH-70 has to be the front runner. Saying that whilst the Army would love the UH-60 flying with the AAC to provide integral support 16AA BCT, I feel the RAF may want a platform more like the AW-149 exactly because the UH-60 is seen as an Army aviation assets around the world. But we should get more for our money with the UH-60 so it comes down to priorities. Also being the first to operate a platform in any numbers is a further issue to bear in mind.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by Jensy »

Lord Jim wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 01:04 I wonder how long it will be before additional issues arise with the naval variant of the NH-90 and more countries decide to move to the MH-60R or even the Wildcat, well one can always hope. If cost is the driver as well as having a platform also used by many of our allies, the UH-70 has to be the front runner. Saying that whilst the Army would love the UH-60 flying with the AAC to provide integral support 16AA BCT, I feel the RAF may want a platform more like the AW-149 exactly because the UH-60 is seen as an Army aviation assets around the world. But we should get more for our money with the UH-60 so it comes down to priorities. Also being the first to operate a platform in any numbers is a further issue to bear in mind.
As Repulse has said on the Wildcat thread, there's a strong argument that we should have bought something else at the time. Thankfully we didn't buy NH90.

The Blackhawk has a huge amount going for it but I hope we value the industrial benefits of having a domestic helicopter industry more.

Something that I remember got pitched by AgustaWestland, my years back, was shifting the AW189 line here as well if we bought AW149. Considering their similarity, if this was back on the table it would make the Leonardo bid even harder to beat.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Jensy wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 20:32
Lord Jim wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 01:04 I wonder how long it will be before additional issues arise with the naval variant of the NH-90 and more countries decide to move to the MH-60R or even the Wildcat, well one can always hope. If cost is the driver as well as having a platform also used by many of our allies, the UH-70 has to be the front runner. Saying that whilst the Army would love the UH-60 flying with the AAC to provide integral support 16AA BCT, I feel the RAF may want a platform more like the AW-149 exactly because the UH-60 is seen as an Army aviation assets around the world. But we should get more for our money with the UH-60 so it comes down to priorities. Also being the first to operate a platform in any numbers is a further issue to bear in mind.
As Repulse has said on the Wildcat thread, there's a strong argument that we should have bought something else at the time. Thankfully we didn't buy NH90.

The Blackhawk has a huge amount going for it but I hope we value the industrial benefits of having a domestic helicopter industry more.

Something that I remember got pitched by AgustaWestland, my years back, was shifting the AW189 line here as well if we bought AW149. Considering their similarity, if this was back on the table it would make the Leonardo bid even harder to beat.
The aw189 was produced in at Yeovil for the coastguard contract. There is a new coast guard order/contract due relatively soon. should the aw149/189 win these contracts the intention is for Yeovil production going fwd, should be mentioned that both rotors and transmission for the type is designed and built in the uk as it is.

I feel we should be much bolder on the types this size of helicopter is replacing. Development between ultra, Thales and leonardo there is a market for a helicopter in this size range long term.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by Jensy »

SW1 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 21:03 should be mentioned that both rotors and transmission for the type is designed and built in the uk as it is.
An excellent point. The AW139 and AW169 I seem to remember also have transmission and/or gearboxes built there too. The 169 being another highly capable helicopter in a similar weight category, that could have been built here along the lines that was pitched for the US Army's binned OH-58 replacement.

Image

When I visited many moons ago, it was quite a contrast between the state of the art component workshops, and the rather 'traditional' Wildcat production line.
SW1 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 21:03I feel we should be much bolder on the types this size of helicopter is replacing. Development between ultra, Thales and leonardo there is a market for a helicopter in this size range long term.
Absolutely, the market seems large enough to sustain both the UH-60 and a couple of upstarts. If we can deliver 40+ for the mentioned budget of c.£1bn then I see no reason a NMH can't be competitive for export.

Picking the Blackhawk limits us to potentially lucrative but not particularly strategic industrial benefits to the UK. Be that MRO or supply chain.

There's also the rather quiet plans to replace the remaining Gazelles. If the AAC Wildcats can fill that role, then a few more NMH could pick up their utility and light transport tasks.

Perhaps an 'air bridge too far', but I feel we should be looking at concepts for a common Merlin and Chinook replacement too. Fewer types, in bigger fleets, built in the UK could reverse a long term trend.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Jensy wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 22:43
SW1 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 21:03 should be mentioned that both rotors and transmission for the type is designed and built in the uk as it is.
An excellent point. The AW139 and AW169 I seem to remember also have transmission and/or gearboxes built there too. The 169 being another highly capable helicopter in a similar weight category, that could have been built here along the lines that was pitched for the US Army's binned OH-58 replacement.

When I visited many moons ago, it was quite a contrast between the state of the art component workshops, and the rather 'traditional' Wildcat production line.
SW1 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 21:03I feel we should be much bolder on the types this size of helicopter is replacing. Development between ultra, Thales and leonardo there is a market for a helicopter in this size range long term.
Absolutely, the market seems large enough to sustain both the UH-60 and a couple of upstarts. If we can deliver 40+ for the mentioned budget of c.£1bn then I see no reason a NMH can't be competitive for export.

Picking the Blackhawk limits us to potentially lucrative but not particularly strategic industrial benefits to the UK. Be that MRO or supply chain.

There's also the rather quiet plans to replace the remaining Gazelles. If the AAC Wildcats can fill that role, then a few more NMH could pick up their utility and light transport tasks.

Perhaps an 'air bridge too far', but I feel we should be looking at concepts for a common Merlin and Chinook replacement too. Fewer types, in bigger fleets, built in the UK could reverse a long term trend.
I think gazelle will go without replacement or a contractor service for U.K. flying.

Merlin is in the chinook category with its physical size only. It is very much in the puma/medium category when it comes to carrying capacity.

The new chinook order will see it take on the long range insertion roles for a long time.

It really should be chinook , a medium helicopter and probably apache (if we really have the logistical capability to deploy and sustain it rapidly and it’s role in a contested air environment is still relevant)

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by Jensy »

SW1 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 23:28 I think gazelle will go without replacement or a contractor service for U.K. flying.
I fear you will be proved right, and more likely with the former than the later.

As it happens, the Austrian armed forces are replacing their even more ancient Alouette IIIs with AW169s.
On 20 December 2021, the Austrian government signed a government-to-government (G2G) agreement with Italy for the purchase of eighteen Leonardo AW169s to replace the Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces) obsolete 21 strong fleet of Alouette 3 helicopters.
https://www.scramble.nl/military-news/a ... HQWqgNlTBU

In other news, France has placed an order for 169 H160s, which rather puts into perspective our relative lack of ambition.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Jensy wrote: 23 Dec 2021, 16:22
SW1 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 23:28 I think gazelle will go without replacement or a contractor service for U.K. flying.
I fear you will be proved right, and more likely with the former than the later.

As it happens, the Austrian armed forces are replacing their even more ancient Alouette IIIs with AW169s.
On 20 December 2021, the Austrian government signed a government-to-government (G2G) agreement with Italy for the purchase of eighteen Leonardo AW169s to replace the Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces) obsolete 21 strong fleet of Alouette 3 helicopters.
https://www.scramble.nl/military-news/a ... HQWqgNlTBU

In other news, France has placed an order for 169 H160s, which rather puts into perspective our relative lack of ambition.
Indeed they will also have 15 a330mrtt and 50 a400m they seem to be investing in the logistical and support assets quite heavily.

I would add if you were really looking for a joined up effort adding something like the aw169 as the training fleet would ensure continuity from training to the from line as the systems architecture and procedures are carried thru as the 169,139 and 149 are developed as a family.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by RichardIC »

RAF Pumas to replace Bell helicopters in Brunei and Cyprus

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 39.article

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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed plans to temporarily replace two Bell helicopter types operated in Brunei and Cyprus with part of the Puma fleet currently flown by the Royal Air Force (RAF).

In Brunei, five Bell 212s are operated by the Army Air Corps in support of jungle warfare training, while in Cyprus, the RAF uses a trio of search and rescue-roled Bell 412s, according to Cirium fleets data. In both cases, the helicopters are owned by Draken Europe.

The suggestion of a new role for the Puma first surfaced in late 2021 but was not verified by the MoD, which said at the time that no decision had been taken.

However, the ministry now confirms the initiative. “Under current plans we are looking at the Puma helicopter to temporarily replace the Bell 212 helicopter in Brunei from autumn 2022 and the Bell 412 helicopter in Cyprus from spring 2023.”

But the move is likely to have implications for the Puma’s own retirement. In last year’s Command Paper defence review, the MoD said the veteran rotorcraft would be phased out over the 2023-2025 period, with suggestions that the milestone could happen sooner rather than later.

Assuming a like-for-like replacement of the Bell helicopters, plus several retained as cover, then as many as a dozen Pumas will be required – over half the current 23-strong fleet. These may also be needed beyond the type’s current 2025 out-of-service date.

But the MoD says it is too soon to provide a precise timeline for the Puma’s retirement. “We are working with all key stakeholders on this decision and cannot comment further at this time.”

The MoD intends to replace the Pumas – plus the two Bell models and army-operated Airbus Helicopters Dapuhins – with a single type to be procured under its New Medium Helicopter programme.

That competition is likely to kick off next month, Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence, recently told the House of Commons.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

And so it begins


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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

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From 900,000???

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

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Little J wrote: 19 May 2022, 14:22 From 900,000???
2nd hand refurbished Blackhawks ?

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

GBP 27.3 mln a piece

A dozen years back a fully flyable basic Merlin was 20 mln and a fully kitted out one for ASW (does not relate to what the tender is seeking) more than 100% more
- what are 'basic' Blackhawks going for these days? Not that I want us to buy them, but just as a benchmark
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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: 23 Dec 2021, 17:06 France has placed an order for 169 H160s, which rather puts into perspective our relative lack of ambition.

Indeed they will also have 15 a330mrtt and 50 a400m they seem to be investing in the logistical and support assets quite heavily.
WE did lend out call sign "The Borrowers" to them, for a brief period (Mali), but that must have hurt the Gallic pride
Assuming a like-for-like replacement of the Bell helicopters, plus several retained as cover, then as many as a dozen Pumas will be required – over half the current 23-strong fleet. These may also be needed beyond the type’s current 2025 out-of-service date.
Beyond 2025, one could ask if the other half will be used to buffer the Air Assault role which has been the main Puma role but as new Chinooks will be arriving (and old withdrawn), may be this kind ofmix will retain the required lift for the transition period. After which all troop lift (save for specialised personnel and Merlins off ships) would be , in the main, a Chinook role.
... until 'the' New Medium arrives,when "it" arrives (these prgrms do have some tendencies, one of them: being half a decade late)
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: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 18:58
SW1 wrote: 23 Dec 2021, 17:06 France has placed an order for 169 H160s, which rather puts into perspective our relative lack of ambition.

Indeed they will also have 15 a330mrtt and 50 a400m they seem to be investing in the logistical and support assets quite heavily.
WE did lend out call sign "The Borrowers" to them, for a brief period (Mali), but that must have hurt the Gallic pride
Assuming a like-for-like replacement of the Bell helicopters, plus several retained as cover, then as many as a dozen Pumas will be required – over half the current 23-strong fleet. These may also be needed beyond the type’s current 2025 out-of-service date.
Beyond 2025, one could ask if the other half will be used to buffer the Air Assault role which has been the main Puma role but as new Chinooks will be arriving (and old withdrawn), may be this kind ofmix will retain the required lift for the transition period. After which all troop lift (save for specialised personnel and Merlins off ships) would be , in the main, a Chinook role.
... until 'the' New Medium arrives,when "it" arrives (these prgrms do have some tendencies, one of them: being half a decade late)
The main puma role is there special forces role in support of urban and confined operations.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 19:06 The main puma role is there special forces role in support of urban and confined operations
I would rather say that is the differentiator (within the existing fleets). But I think your comment and this RAF statement will explain why we can go 'halves' on this one, ie. how only half of the existing fleet will need to be held back for a role that other types are either ill-suited for, or can insert team big enough in any one location?

"medium support helicopter operates under Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) control. The aircraft is used in a variety of combat roles, including the tactical movement of troops, weapons, ammunition and stores on the battlefield, as well as the extraction of casualties and in response to medical emergencies on the frontline."
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: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 19:22
SW1 wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 19:06 The main puma role is there special forces role in support of urban and confined operations
I would rather say that is the differentiator (within the existing fleets). But I think your comment and this RAF statement will explain why we can go 'halves' on this one, ie. how only half of the existing fleet will need to be held back for a role that other types are either ill-suited for, or can insert team big enough in any one location?

"medium support helicopter operates under Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) control. The aircraft is used in a variety of combat roles, including the tactical movement of troops, weapons, ammunition and stores on the battlefield, as well as the extraction of casualties and in response to medical emergencies on the frontline."
Two chinook and 1 medium sqn would make a good Organisational construct to support special operations.


Think ultimately the non personal logistical side will move to unmanned away from the manned helicopter side eventually.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: 15 Jul 2022, 19:41 Two chinook [and 1 medium] sqn
Was it 16 "Gs" that we placed the order for? In my speculation (further above) I was unaware over what period they all would 'land'.
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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by mrclark303 »

My personal take on this is simply purchase S70's from the Polish production line.

It's proven (and most importantly) of conventional construction.

You don't want a composite airframe for a Medium troop transport, bullet strikes and shrapnel damage constantly grounded Merlin in Afghanistan, as they required specialist repairs.

Blackhawk and Chinook we're simply patched and back on operations.

It's not unreasonable to expect a troop transport to operate in active combat zones, subsequently, hot LZ's!

A troop transport that can't be patched up and thrown back into the fight, is about as useful as a Chocolate tea pot

We will see what's more important, provide a tough no nonsense and proven stablemate for the Chinook, or prop up the old 'Waistlands' factory for another 10 years at enormous public expense!

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SD67 »

That sounds super conservative to my inexpert ears. How many combat platforms are not going to be made out of composites in say 20 years time? Honest question. I read somewhere AH64E is going to be getting a composite tail boom. How many times have bits been shot off a Puma and it actually has been patched up in the field? Is this an Afghan-specific thing or a genuine all round requirement?

Here's something I found re composite repair
file:///C:/Users/simon/Downloads/MP-AVT-266-05.pdf

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by Little J »

I admit I haven't looked into this, but I can't imagine whatever replaces the Blackhawk (whether it be the Sikorsky or the Bell) hasn't got a large quantity of composites.

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Re: Puma Helicopter (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Depends what you mean by composites. Helicopters aren’t pressurised so more of the shell is really a big fairing. Repairs can be very different to a/c.

We’re there maybe some confusion is over structural bits of the helicopter and use of monolithic structures to significantly reduce part count and fasteners but means a bit can’t be taken off and another screwed on. Some complains about wildcat are related to this. But it does give u a lighter structure which is safer, that can carry more.

Anyhow


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