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Old 27th Jan 2013, 21:16   #941 (permalink)
 
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About as much use as the Lynx as well!

AW are an Italian company and no-one should believe that 189 production would stay in the UK once the small run for SARH was complete. The AW contract for Algerian training has been closed down now at St Mawgan and any remaining training is probably going to be done in Algeria or Italy.

When an Italian company has the choice between keeping jobs in their own struggling economy and the only slightly better UK one - it should come as no surprise that they will go for the home fixture. A cycnic would say that Finmeccania only wanted Westlands as a conduit to easy government money in UK.

As a stretched 139, the 189 will bring little extra to the SAR party and no-one seems to be buying the 139 for SAR duties - certainly not 200 of them! They have just got the cabin wrong - again!
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 21:47   #942 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
and no-one seems to be buying the 139 for SAR duties
Really? So, UK (FBH/CHC), Malaysia, Sweden (SMA), UAE (UAEAF), Qatar (QEAF), Spain (Salvamento Maritimo), Italy (AMI, Coast Guard), Egypt (EAF), Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, Azerbaijan, Netherlands (Caribbean) Australia, Cyprus, various US agencies haven't ordered the AW139 for SAR?
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 21:58   #943 (permalink)
 
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Beat me to it TwoStep!

Also, AW have stated their intention to base 189 production at Yeovil, it would make very little economic sense to uproot and move the production line to Italy once it has started. For once it would be nice to applaud some potential good news for British industry (even if the parent company is Italian).

In the current climate any creation of jobs and potential export revenue has to be a good thing. I guess some people are die-hard cynics; sadly, the option to build some brand new Sea Kings in a wholly Brit-owned factory staffed by Anglo-Saxons, using only materials produced in the UK and to be operated only by military crews just isn't going to happen.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 22:14   #944 (permalink)
 
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OK, so maybe they have sold a few then.

As for production - we will just have to see what happens won't we?

Cynical - yes - and usually not without good reason.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 23:19   #945 (permalink)
 
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what AW actually promised...

was that if a UK order for SAR configured AW189s was forthcoming, all SAR configured AW189 for any future customers would be assembled in Yeovil, VVIP and corporate aircraft would be assembled in Italy (at least, maybe in Brazil and Russia and the USA as well?)

SAR is just one role for the aircraft, like AW139, it has more strings to its bow than just one mission.

The reason that the Algerian training contract has finished at Mawgan is that all the aircraft are now in country and the crews trained up, of course future crew will be trained in Algeria.

don't worry, Crab will never let the truth get in the way of Westland bashing. I wonder if he has even seen, let alone flown on a AW189?

DM
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 06:38   #946 (permalink)
 
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No, but I have flown the 139 in the SAR role which is, I suspect, far more than you have done DM.

As ever DM, AW's promises will have the devil in the detail and, even by your statement, they are only planning to assemble the SAR variant in Yeovil - just how many jobs will that actually create/save and for how long if the expected number is 200?

It is smoke and mirrors in order to get SARH to act as a product launch (unproven product) for the 189.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 08:48   #947 (permalink)
 
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Whatever the detail it could be the first time a civil helicopter will be built in the UK for some time, surely something worth celebrating? As for selecting an unproven product, was the Sea King a proven product when it was selected for SAR duties? No, it was an ASW aircraft that was adapted to the role.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 09:07   #948 (permalink)
 
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Play nicely with Crab please as he has issues from his time with the AAC and should be treated gently - PTSD and all that...
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 09:25   #949 (permalink)
 
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Wasn't the S-92 unproven in the SAR role until CHC got their hands on it for the interim deal? Seems to have worked out pretty well, clearly the thinking if, "if it works in the UK, it can work anywhere?"
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 10:43   #950 (permalink)
 
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I am 90% convinced that 189 is what we will get for Lot 2. That also means 80+% of Scottish MR. I joke about how many paramedic-qualified midgets there are out there so I know how easy it is to snipe and get a cheap laugh. What else is there out there anyway that's better from an SAR standpoint. However, even if it costs every MRT in Britain 30 sets of knee pads and we can't lean over the co-pilot's shoulder to help him nav, there is also good news.

4000shp and resulting modern performance keeps our guys a lot safer when being flown in to those interesting tight spots. Hoping for greater agility than from the S-92 (92 not bad, just BIG).

I am looking forward to helping develop 2 door working. Twin hoist to modern standards. Big sensor/nav display right next to us in the back. Possibly more floor space than min for Lot 2 so more use for deploying and recovering search teams than might have been expected. Decent comms and full nvg.

21st century SK? Close. At least 21st century Wessex with bells on.

Last edited by jimf671; 28th Jan 2013 at 10:47.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 10:53   #951 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Wasn't the S-92 unproven in the SAR role until CHC got their hands on it for the interim deal? Seems to have worked out pretty well, ...
By the time everything is fully rolled out in 2017, the S-92 will have 10 years of UK SAR flying behind it.

Worth something.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 11:10   #952 (permalink)
 
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Apparently the bidders have been told to consider 'UK industrial dynamics' when choosing their platforms, worth bearing in mind that choice of aircraft is still really actually down to the bidders, Bond or Bristow. Potentially hundreds of jobs hang on their shoulders.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 11:42   #953 (permalink)
 
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The AW press release says assembled not built so the important jobs will still be in Europe.

The 139 wasn't proven in SAR before it made it to gap-SAR - it was poorly introduced with inadequate FCS modes and lighting and the cabin is too small for a great many UK SAR tasks (not to mention needing the rearcew to be on their knees all the time - and there was no icing clearance either.

The 139 hasn't been a success in UKSAR but, because it was showcased as such, it has persuaded other buyers to take it on - what they subsequently think of it I don't know but for this country it is not suitable.

The 189 is the same aircraft with a plug in the fuselage to make the cabin longer, not higher or wider, so any limitations will be the same.

It might just save the rearcrew having to stow all the SAR role kit down the tail boom but that is it.

MRTs will struggle, stretcher entries will be difficult, 2 stretchers will be very tight, ECMO and babyvac incubators won't fit, it still won't have decent ground clearance for sloping or rough ground landings - the list goes on but we won't have a choice.

It is not a 21st century Sea King or Wessex - it is an executive transport aircraft with a SAR role bodged into and onto it - at least the Sikorsky products have decent sized cabin where the real work of SAR is done.

The S-92 isn't too big for the mountains - it's dimesions are not dissimilar to the SK/S61 which have proved themselves over many years in the harshest of environments.

I am under no illusions that it is what we will get and that we will get on with it regardless but let's not pretend it is either the best choice or the saviour of AW at Yeovil.

Last edited by crab@SAAvn.co.uk; 28th Jan 2013 at 11:44.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 12:08   #954 (permalink)
 
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Crab,

I am sure I am not the only one who has noticed and rejoice at your change of tack from bashing the civilian SAR operators. Why the sudden change?

Possibly you have considered that however well intentioned your comments maybe they are often taken as derision of anything non-military!
Maybe someone in the military has expressed concerns that the same comments could be painting the rest of the military in a bad light and potentially hampering their future prospects in the civilian market?

Whatever the reason switching to bashing the aircraft manufactures instead just proves how so many years of life blinkered in the military can give some people a very negative outlook. Everyone in the military has had reason to moan at poor kit quality but rarely does the fault lie any further than MOD procurement. You are of course entitled to your opinion but anyone expressing their views in public should be prepared for the law of unintended consequences. That could be as simple as depressing a workforce (at Yeovil) who have actually got something to look forward to in the downturn, something we should all be happy for and applaud! Remember that if itís the choice of redundancy or more work, the workforce at Yeovil will very happy about the potential of the AW189 assembly line and not telling AW to get stuffed because its not forever! The fragility of employment is difficult to fully express to someone still in the mob.

Regardless of your experience on the AW139, there are many crews, who actually operate it, that have found it a very good SAR aircraft. Does it have limitations? Of course! But it met the requirements of the contract (yes we all know there were some teething problems, not all of AWs making, please lets not do that again) and continues to do so.
So if the AW189 is chosen it too will have to meet the requirements of the contract let by our government! Will it have limitations when set against a bigger aircraft? OF COURSE! But I think itís logical to assume that the government does not require a larger aircraft in lot 2, and therefore whether or not it would be better or nicer to have a bigger aircraft that is not what is required. Will there be teething problems if it is the AW189? Definitely, because thatís normal in a new aircraft type but itís also the only economical way to achieve progress.
In addition, any aircraft that is chosen will have to meet the exacting specifications of the technical requirements of the contract, set originally with the help of SARF military SMEs! In other words the aircraft are, straight from OEM, going to be able to do everything that has been asked for. Almost designed for the job you could say! What other SAR aircraft can claim that? All military SAR aircraft were adapted for the task after becoming surplus to operational requirements.

So IMHO without an embarrassing U-turn from the government, which would leave the country with no SAR cover at the military bases in a few years (there is no military plan B, there is no MOD money for a plan B, there is no military appetite, albeit at senior level, for a plan B) UK SAR is going to happen! Are there some potential down sides to UK SAR? Sure, but there are loads of positives too so just think of them and smile, or worry yourself to an early grave! The fact is that the whole of the UK is going to be covered by a fleet or 2 of new helicopters to keep us all safe for the next 10 years ☺

My own philosophy is that you cannot make a difference by complaining, but you might make a positive contribution if you get stuck in and help out.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 12:22   #955 (permalink)
 
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So Bristow replied to your application then Crab? When you moving to St Mawgan?

92 is good and it is big. Its power is reassuring (more so when in it rather than underneath it).

There will be no all-92 contract and the 189 is what is out there. Compared to squeezing guys into a 350 or 135 it's a dream and it has loads of power.

I tried to raise the incubator point with an SAS guy last spring but I am not sure if that has been acted upon.

Last edited by jimf671; 28th Jan 2013 at 16:50. Reason: Add comment in parentheses.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 13:24   #956 (permalink)
 
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Snakepit - well that's all OK then, sunshine and roses for UKSAR forever and jobs for life at AW - how fantastic.

Yes we will just get on with it but - why spend billions of taxpayers pounds on something that is not as capable as it should be?

Despite your assertion that the 189 will have been rigorously assessed, it will only meet the terms of the contract that have been stipulated - that is a very different thing from being selected on its suitability.

If the contract doesn't specify cabin size, ability to fulfill ALL current UK SAR tasks or a multitude of other factors, the aircraft will be chosen because of the contract spec (potentially poorly written and also modified by political pressure). That is NOT the same as being chosen because it is a good SAR aircraft.

It always amuses me that so many here think that a life in uniform means comprehensive institutialisation which removes the ability to think, read, understand or be otherwise cognisant of how the 'real' world works.

I can't possibly know how industry works (I clearly don't have any friends or family in industry because I am in the military), I can't possibly understand the fragility of employment outside our cossetted little military world (just remind me how many industries have lost the numbers to redundancy of the armed forces over the last 20 years of peace dividend) and I can't possibly empathise with those working at Yeovil because I don't work there.

All fundamentally fatuous and flawed viewpoints but, because I dare to question if SARH, in both its previous and now new guises, are the right way forward for UK plc and don't accept at face value what is being forced onto the country at a time of economic hardship - I am the one at fault because I have worked for the same employer (and served the UK taxpayer) for over 30 years. Dear oh dear

Govt spending on infrastruture to create NEW jobs is a good way to drag ourselves out of recession - Govt spending to replace something old but of top quality with something new of lesser capability (except that it goes a bit faster) that actually reduces the number of jobs in that sector, is not.

Fewer SAR flights, far fewer engineers and management - no new aircrew jobs as they will be filled from existing mil and civ posts - and a temporary reprieve for a few people at Yeovil. This conjoined with fewer coastguards (to improve efficiency!!!) is a retrograde step for air, land and sea safety in the UK.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 15:29   #957 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
What's left to discuss?
The capability of the customer?
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 16:16   #958 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
... why spend billions of taxpayers pounds on something that is not as capable as it should be?
Well, first of all there is "The Abbey Wood effect". The other AW.
I defined this elsewhere with the following example: "infantry clothing and equipment is purchased by people who haven't been out in the rain for over a decade."

Best know for the effect on defence procurement but the MoD is not the only department at AW and the same effect exists elsewhere and in other departments.

Secondly, when we look at the alternatives, they tend to be unworkable.
- All S-92 fleet: too expensive, otherwise it would be offered and nobody thinks that has happened.
- NH90 with High Cabin Variant: only joking!
- MI-17: ... NEXT!
- S-61T: no, because AW will tell HM Gov they can do it better, which they can't.
- EC175: smaller than 189 and bidders appear to have examined and rejected it.
- Bell 525: too late, too unproven.

----------------------------

Better order 5 x AW189 then, plus between 2 and 4 spare aircraft depending upon how confident you are in a new design.
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 16:18   #959 (permalink)
 
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Devil

A government minister was quoted as saying that only those who bid with the AW189 for lot 2 would have any chance of success, ties in really. Not sure was the cabin of the EC175 going to be much bigger? Ground clearance on both is an issue no doubt. Once introduced the new type will be adapted, or procedures will be so the task will be completed by smart thinking and innovation on the part of the crews, CRT or MRT members. May take some time though. Hopefully those involved will get together and endeavour to make a success of it despite the likelihood of government penny pinching possibly ruling the selection process....
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 16:44   #960 (permalink)
 
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Once introduced the new type will be adapted, or procedures will be so the task will be completed by smart thinking and innovation on the part of the crews, CRT or MRT members.
'Once introduced' is a bit late.

Bristow's S-92 have started arriving. As soon as they are ready to fly we need to get Aux CG , MRT and RNLI crawling all over them and talking to the contractor about developing the procedures for operating with 'Ground/Maritime Emergency Service Personnel'.

When the first SAR AW189 is delivered to the contractor, maybe next year sometime, the same thing needs to happen. Sooner, if possible. If AW want that aircraft to be a success then they need the service using it to be fully ready on DAY ONE with everyone ready to work together. The way to achieve that would be to have the 189 touring lifeboat stations, MR bases and Aux CG stations as soon as the flag drops at the end of April.
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