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RAF SAR to deploy to Afghanistan

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RAF SAR to deploy to Afghanistan

Old 10th Jul 2006, 19:27
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 232
Thumbs up RAF SAR to deploy to Afghanistan

With the vast number of years and experience gained at great expense, it is only right that this asset finally gets its chance to do what it really should do namely CSAR and the dangerous all weather mountain ops that only it can perform. I'm sure the SH & Army crews and service personel in theatre would welcome the arrival of this support.

Please feel free to copy and send the following to your local MP for Des Browne's attention;

Dear Sir
With the increasingly difficult and dangerous tasks inherent in Afghanistan, missions to support this fragile and vital region of the world do indeed require the extra commitment of troops and more importantly as stated recently, that of Helicopter support. To this end the question begs; why are the vastly experienced crews of RAF Search and Rescue not mobilized for this task?

The men and women of this Branch are perhaps some of the most proficient crews in difficult all weather mountain operations by day or night. They are fully equipped with advanced sensor systems and to prepare the aircraft for that theatre of operation would not take too much time nor expense in the grand scale. The provision of the UK SAR element undertaken by the current 6 RAF SAR bases could be spread and shared by the operators of the remaining 6 i.e. the Royal Navy & MCA. Perhaps a partial reduction to half of the current RAF bases would be practical? Some of them must be quiet enough in terms of rescue demand? I suspect that powers to be within the RAF would not wish to lose the Public Relations value that a few rescues here and there attract. To stop gap cover this, it would not take too much to source short term contract support from the providers of the Civilian SAR providers namely CHC Helicopters & Bristow Helicopters, both companies with vast experience in this field.

As an ex serviceman, I feel that the tax payer and more importantly the men and women risking their lives in the Afghan theatre would be better served if supported by these elements. I believe that this asset is supposed to be the UK Combat Search and Rescue pool of experience, complete with its own training school of very experienced instructors at RAF Valley, albeit some are civilian. I humbly request and believe it would be reasonable of you to enquire an explanation from the RAF hierarchy, as to why this expensive asset is so redundant in its support for the stretched frontline services, namely the troops in theatre.

Sincerely yours
NRDK is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 19:33
  #2 (permalink)  
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Not all convinced that the Seakings are up to the task of high altitude flying, in hot weather conditions. The crews are second to none however, putting them out there with the kit they have would, IMHO, be irresponsible.
Tombstone is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 19:35
  #3 (permalink)  
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It’s a Sea King not a Land King. Check the aircraft’s ODM against typical density altitudes in theatre – that’s why it will never deploy.
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Old 10th Jul 2006, 19:51
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
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Good work, nearly bit...

Very amusing, I hope!

Bet you some of the SAR Boys bite though...
rudekid is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 20:44
  #5 (permalink)  
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Sounds like a balanced thought out plan to me!
Send me in
JTIDS is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 20:48
  #6 (permalink)  
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Will they fix the cab in Lossie in time to go?
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Old 10th Jul 2006, 20:51
  #7 (permalink)  
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Nice Try

Just remember to write some nice letters to all of the relatives of the civvies who die because the Bristows lot etc can't use NVG below 500ft so the fallen climbers will just have to rot.

Haha - SARBOY's won't bite - they might be a bit bitter, but as you quite rightly said, they are the best pilots around, and they know better. If only they had a decent aircraft instead of the dangerously unsafe and appallingly unserviceable Seaking.
ethereal entity is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 21:06
  #8 (permalink)  
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And the aircraft are already painted yellow to fit in with the sandy background...

It would be great to think that deployable SAR works. It was hinted at for Bosnia and it would have been great for the SAR Force, but arguably the most operational force in the UK Armed Forces doesn't have the people or the kit to go and do warlike things...1982 sowed the seed that was never followed up on.
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Old 10th Jul 2006, 21:33
  #9 (permalink)  
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I wrote an entry into my diary on the way over here tonight, it simply read...


Good effort NRDK.
Tombstone is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 21:42
  #10 (permalink)  
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Talk to me about the performance of a SeaKing at 10,000 feet and summer temps?
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Old 10th Jul 2006, 22:03
  #11 (permalink)  
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Good question, well put, deserves an answer.

Having tried (and failed) to get a very light Sea King on a mountaintop at 9800 ft and about -30, I think the answer is that Vmin exceeds Vmax by a considerable margin.

Difficult, over.

Now if we had Carson blades ...

Sven Sixtoo is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 22:06
  #12 (permalink)  
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I love this idea. Its what we all wanted to do years ago. However, alas NRDK, me thinks they might be right about the performance. Still might be worth checking though before this idea gets completely wiped off the agenda - whoose agenda not sure but.....

She's a good old bus and when flown hard tends to stay surviceable longer - or at least it did? Interenstingly, most of the stuff in the Helimund province has actually been in th elower regions .... thinks???
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Old 10th Jul 2006, 22:17
  #13 (permalink)  
Suspicion breeds confidence
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OK so we have:

Sea Kings: Can't get over the mountains with any crew on board.
Jaguars: Its a bit too hot and a bit too high.
GR4: Runway is a bit bumpy
Wokka: Anything you like so long as its at night.
Apache: What are the other 61 up to?

Not a good ad for UK military aviation is it?
Navaleye is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2006, 22:26
  #14 (permalink)  
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NRDK, a superb effort; you do great justice to your name. However, not good enough, try harder.....

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Old 11th Jul 2006, 07:09
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Well if you can't fly up there, try walking!

The RAF had Desert Rescue Teams in Oman back in the 70's running around the mountains with .303's strapped to their backs.
geniculate is offline  
Old 11th Jul 2006, 07:20
  #16 (permalink)  
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Wokka: Anything you like so long as its at night.

Funny, they seem to be doing a whole lot of day time flying at the moment. Anything you like, whenever you need it. Just need more...
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Old 11th Jul 2006, 07:51
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Originally Posted by ethereal entity
Just remember to write some nice letters to all of the relatives of the civvies who die because the Bristows lot etc can't use NVG below 500ft so the fallen climbers will just have to rot.
Night mountain work (UK) is not impossible without NVG's, it's just more difficult!
Bertie Thruster is offline  
Old 11th Jul 2006, 08:35
  #18 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up


What’s this about not being up to the task, I believe the Fleet Air Arm Sea King Mk 4 aircraft get about OK after being sent to mountainous Countries? Ditch the extra weight of the radar and tea urn. As for the equipment not being quite up to the task, well they can be in the same boat as the rest of the ‘under equipped’ forces out there. At least they can ply their trade at last and support the frontline forces, whom no doubt would be grateful of the any extra air support.


I believe that the RAF/RN/MCA crews managed to fly about at night in the hills pre NVG to save lives or has SAR only been achievable since the RAF got NVG’s? What about the letters to those families of the brave servicemen lost in action because they aren’t getting the extra support when the expertise of the RAF SAR crews could make the difference? Surely they won’t mind volunteering for active service and spending time out doing the job they are trained and paid well to do. Let the poorly prepared fool rot at the foot of some Scottish mountain if it would save one valuable serviceman’s life in Afghanistan. At least by getting out there they can prove one way or another that they can do the task or need new machines to service the Countries needs. IMHO
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Old 11th Jul 2006, 08:41
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Unfortunately for the British Army and RAF fast jet pilots, RAF Seakings will never deploy to a combat theatre. Rescuing bikini clad lovelies from the beach whilst being videoed by the Air Force propaganda dept, has far more PR value than saving our boys in the Middle East. Also no AFC's for rescuing downed airmen in Afghanistan - because that's the job you're supposed to be doing.
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Old 11th Jul 2006, 09:30
  #20 (permalink)  
Red On, Green On
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Like we've so many spare SAR assets as it is....

BBCi report on missing glider:

"A helicopter was scrambled from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland but was diverted to Leuchars after hitting a bird.

A second helicopter is currently grounded at Boulmer due to technical problems.

The RAF's search and rescue helicopter based at Lossiemouth is also grounded after having to make an emergency landing last week. "
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