Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
The USMC has a bunch of mothballed CH-53D's out in Arizona....whats about upgrading them? It is not as one really needs a boat hulled Helicopter for SAR work. Add some refueling probes....updated avionics....oh heck....just buy some new build MH-53's and be done with it.
Boeing might be convinced to build some more MH-47's.....just buy them off the shelf this time.
Rushed solutions are often bad solutions and if the services are compelled to extend military SAR, despite funding issues, the dosh will have to be found - hence my earlier desparately worried posts.
If we track back to the formation of SAR services, I think we find RAF Coastal and Fighter Commands competing for a slice of the action. The 'funded' task was to gather in aircrew in extremis. The 'let's save all civvies on the side of the mountain - any mountain' came later and acknowledged that there were relatively few military call outs, so we needed to do something in between and a very successful and worthy aim it has been, with stonkingly good results.
The armed forces 'can do' attitude has got them into trouble many a time but this is a sort of reverse scenario. How do we back out of SAR unless there is reliable replacement? I submit it can't be done.
At every turn and with every government, the forces eventually get called on to do something unfunded and because nobody else can. Olympics are but the latest example. While all this is going on, the services are being dumped on from a great height by politicians and with a muted response from those who lead us.
Oh yes, I'm full of it! In the same way, in four years' time, we will all, without any doubt or dissenters, be able to state that UK military SAR is completely perfect. Unless Old Duffer and his junta stand and deliver, of course.
(By the way, OD, no disrespect to you - but I think you will be shocked how quickly what we have now will be canned. And if the new service isn't quite ready, there might be a tiny extension of mil SAR - ie weeks/months, not years - or it might just be accepted that an inferior/incomplete service is acceptable in the short term because the MOD can't/won't extend the Sea King).
Last edited by TorqueOfTheDevil; 5th Aug 2012 at 14:23.
This week's FLIGHT contains a statement about the UK SAR contract. Apparenetly, Bond, Bristow and CHC Scotia will compete for three 'lots'. Lots 1 and 2 have slightly different specifications, whilst Lot 3 seems to be a 'you can have it all' option. Lots 1 and 2 require a minimum capacity of eight and four casualties and in both cases two stretchers amongst that number. Range is specified as 200nm, except Stornoway where it is 250nm. Lots 1 and 2 relate to different geographical areas/locations, although by implication Lot 3 covers the whole UK.
My immediate reaction is one of flexibility. If the successful contractors have different cabs, can there be any mutual support offered? We recently had an RN aircraft coming in to help a rescue on Valley's doorstep.
I've lost the plot on how it's intended to deal with the Falklands but where do the RN and RAF stand regarding any sort of combat SAR or is that all too difficult without the US doing it for us?
Of particular interest is the article immediately above this announcement. It covers the problems the Norwegians are having getting their order for NH90s delivered. One cab down and eight to go. However, our Norwegian friends are losing their rag with NH that's for sure.
Range is specified as 200nm, except Stornoway where it is 250nm.
I hope it said more than that. In 1986 the beancounters took that simplistic view when drawing a 200nm ring around every SAR station, demanding closure when overlap occurred. "Time on task" was the cry, completely ignored.
They compounded it by using a BBC weather map, with the Orkneys and Shetlands located in a box off the Northumbrian coast.
That 1986 meeting, the SAR Planning Committee, was my first real experience of Don'tgiveashititis among beancounters. The Chairman, an Air Commodore, was completely ambushed by the BC, who waltzed in toward the end, set up a flipchart with map and circles, stated the overlapping stations must close and walked out. The Chairman was furious, but it transpired his bosses had known all about it, rolled over and not bothered telling him. (The main subject of that meeting was agreeing the conversion programme details for CSAR. The BC's announcement served to divert attention from CSAR, which in hindsight was probably his aim).
Believe me, Main Building and AbbeyWood have many such BCs and non-aircrew/engineers who are hostile to what SAR tries to achieve, and simply don'tgiveashit.
By the way, I watched "Helicopter Rescue" on the box last night. Excellent. Pity it ended with something like "The iconic yellow helicopter will ALWAYS be there when needed". Perhaps the producers hadn't been briefed by MoD. It would be entirely typical if one part of MoD ploughed resources into supporting the programme, oblivious to the cancellation of Military SAR.
I remember when at Odious and the RAF were due to introduce the SAR Sea King to replace the venerable Wessex, we had an old Chiefy who should have been put out to pasture years before, but somehow against all the odds he was selected for Seakings and went off to do close to two years of courses, he was first trained to be dual trade and then did all the Sea King courses... We had a visiting Sea King from Boscombe pop in for fuel which had all sorts of gubbings hanging on the nose... And faster than squirrel sh*t this Chief normally noted for polishing chairs and not a lot else was out there to refuel it, marshalling in the bowser and two years of courses later... He couldn't find the fuel filler caps, much to the mirth of everyone that had wandered out... Apparently Boscombe had a early American built prototype that had the filler caps on the other side of the aircraft...
Yes a civilian SAR service will be cheaper because all the crews will ex RAF/RN requiring no training but when these people retire and the successful bidder needs to train staff with no previous experience and with all the associated costs it will be interesting to see if they are "cost effective".
I wonder why apart from a few exceptions most nations believe that a military SAR service is the best option or has everyone else got it wrong?
As the UK actually builds a helicopter that is used around the world for SAR - Merlin, what does it tell potential customers if the UK operates Sikorsky or Eurocopter helicopters.
The US uses full time reservist -why can't the UK?
Please can somebody help this poor soul make sure he understands the situation.
If overlapping stations result in a closer - a gap occurs or the span of the surviving stations increase and with it the response times to places previously served by the (now closed) station. In addition, the required range of the cab must increase or its time on task reduces or it needs somewhere to refuel. Flexibility is lost and the total deployable assets reduce. Is that right or what have I missed or not understood.
Moving on please (in my day the helios had the callsign PEDRO and the fixed wing topcover was PLAYMATE so you see how long it's been). What now provides top cover or coordination in the more complex rescues? I have heard tell that a C130 has been used but don't know if this is just gossip or fact.
(in my day the helios had the callsign PEDRO and the fixed wing topcover was PLAYMATE so you see how long it's been)
Now that's an interesting throw away line! In the BoI for the Sea King mid-air tragedy on 22/03/2003 it was reported that the inbound ASaC requested, "Where's my playmate". The ever helpful good folk at MOD have always said since that he was referring to his o/b oppo. Given what you say above, is it not more likely that he was referring to his fixed wing top cover?
I only started this thread as I wondered if the various versions of the H60 would have been better or even god forbid the Mil14 that was on display at RIAT this year. As an aside is the ARCC staying at Kinloss Garrison
I didn't mean it to be a throwaway line but merely trying to indicate that as (probably) the last member of ground crew to do the crewmens' course - when the job first went to 'spare' Air Sigs and to have flown 'casually' thereafter as a crewman on both SH - it was called SRT then - and to have done the last SAR with a Sycamore (Feb 66), it was quite a while ago. 1964-69 to be precise.
The SAR flights and those SRT (SH) assets available for SAR, used PEDRO when on task. For example in Hong Kong from 1967, when a permanent RAF helicopter presence was established, the calls were PEDRO 98 and 99. On the first time we did it for real, a civvy ATC at Kai Tak told us to 'wait out' when we called. His horizons were rapidly readjusted much to the annoyance of the commercial traffic, as we sped across the harbour and into the dark off Lantau. I use the term 'sped' advisedly; for anybody who knows the Whirlwind 10, all things are relative.
Mainly Shackletons, which provided top cover etc, the identity was PLAYMATE but occasionally another type did this work.
I do not know when the universal title RESCUE was adopted but somebody will enlighten me err long.
Your comment about the Sea King/Herc accident may well have been just such an enquiry as you describe. It might be relevant if the age/experience of the pilot making the call were known.