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RAF Stanley

Old 27th Aug 2013, 21:15
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CAW

This is an interesting thread, which you may or may not have read.

http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...ash-sites.html
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Old 5th Sep 2013, 00:53
  #82 (permalink)  
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Guess Im a little late... sorry.

Thanks anyway. The thread was unknown to me and I guess there are many very useful and interesting ones here for me to read.

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Old 10th Oct 2013, 20:10
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I know that this could not be the proper thread to ask about this, but Ive just come across a UK document that mentions the existence of a "paper" which explores the "intentions" and possibilities of setting up an airstrip somewhere in South Georgia after its re-taken by Operation Parequet.

Has anyone hear anything about this paper??

Can anyone add anything else to this??

Thanks,
Christian

PS: The paper was submitted for discussion and/or approval to the British Commanders Of Staff sometime in Aprils third week, 1982.

Last edited by CAW; 10th Oct 2013 at 20:11.
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Old 11th Oct 2013, 08:53
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Christian,

i'm not sure if its the paper you've got wind of, but i (many years ago..) saw a memo from a junior defence minister, apparently on prompting from a cabinet minister from outside MOD, asking if a runway could be built at either South Georgia or Tristan de Cunha.

it was long the lines of 'i know this is a stupid question, but X from Z dept has looked at a map of the South Atlantic and asks if...' with the reply being 'the topography, as you suspected, makes it impossible/spectacularly difficult, as does the timeframe..'
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Old 11th Oct 2013, 13:01
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When the Falkands Op was brewing up I was with the group EU. I remember this question was asked in all seriousness as were several other 'interesting' ones.
Anyone who had ever read an account of Shackleton's epic to South Georgia would have known the answer. I think the cunning plan was to drop a grader from the Herc on a Heavy Stressed Platform to make a tac strip.
The fact that the HSP had effectively been out of service for some time seems to have escaped them. Quite what the Herc crew were supposed to do after the drop was not enunciated.
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Old 11th Oct 2013, 16:50
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South Georgia and South Sandwich Airports

When I was in MoD between '94 and '97 I had reason to use the CIA World Fact Book for some work I was doing. Out of interest I also looked up the entries for FI and the Islands. Much to my surprise the entry for SG and SS noted the presence of at least 3 airports with one runway in excess of 2000 metres.

I note that this entry has now been corrected.
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Old 11th Oct 2013, 17:47
  #87 (permalink)  
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Thanks to all of you for your asnwers!!

So it looks like a paper on the matter actually existed. Heres the reference I was talking about in my previous post:



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Its taken from the COS 37Th meeting, dated April 30th.

I surely be interested in getting to read how would someone plan to set up a 4000 fts long runway in South Georgia, in 6 months time in the middle of an antarctic winter!! Dont get me wrong: Im not saying it cannot be done, specially when I pay close attention to the FOB San Carlos construction (less than two weeks). Its just that Id like to read such a paper.

Talking about FOBs during that War... have you seen this?? (Taken from an INTSUM, dated June 10, 1982):



A FOB Teal Inlet already set up by June 10th?? Any comments??

Christian

Last edited by CAW; 11th Oct 2013 at 17:50.
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Old 11th Oct 2013, 19:33
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S Atlantic Airfields

Further to my above, several years later and after I had transferred my immediate allegiance, we were contacted at Filton by a consultant for the FCO. His brief was to investigate establishing a tourist industry in FI, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha (bird watching being the main/only attraction). For this you need an air service.

Travelling on the Tri*, he had read an article in the inflight magazine about A400M and wondered whether it could be used for TdC. Apparently there was one place they could build a runway 6000 ft long but it would have a cliff going up at one end and a cliff going down at the other. Volcanoes are not designed with runways in mind. The need was to replace the 4 - 6 monthly ship visits - they could only anchor off-shore and then were limited to individual items of no more than 10 tonnes.

Other snippets were that the nearest airfield was in South Africa, 1700 nms away, and even if they also built an airfield in St Helena that would also be 1700 nms away. Clearly it meant a 4 engine aircraft configured as a combi and really meant either C130, C17 or A400M (in civil variants) but none would be really realistic, probably having to carry round trip fuel not least in case of arriving overhead when the weather then prevented landing. With that in mind C130 could carry about 10 tonnes, A400M 20 and C17 about 30. I showed that A400M could theoretically land and take off at those weights and I guess C130 would, but I do not know about C17.

We exchanged 2 or 3 letters before he went away - I never found out whether he was happy with the results or not - I certainly would not want to run any guaranteed air service on the basis of what I had found out and calculated.
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Old 12th Oct 2013, 00:35
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Slight thread drift but you may or may not be aware that St. Helena is at long last getting an airfield, predicted to be operational late 2015.

Which for me begged the question where the airlink will fly to (Cape Town?), and what equipment they'll use.

Anybody any idea?

What are the chances that the occasional FI shuttle will get routed via?

Last edited by Coochycool; 12th Oct 2013 at 00:38.
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Old 12th Oct 2013, 11:55
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ST HELENA INTL

Not sure of the RW length but my guess is that it is too short for most ac esp the A330 . My second guess would be a turbo prop of some sort to connect to ASI (and the FI schedule).
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Old 12th Oct 2013, 15:45
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Makes sense but thats quite a trek over water to Cape Town.

Can anyone enlighten me on the ETOPS limits for a twin turboprop in such a scenario?

Might it force them to run shorter sectors ie. via Luanda?

Spoze an alternative might be a Cape Town - Ascension jet service but I dare say the numbers wouldnt stack up
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Old 12th Oct 2013, 22:36
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St Helena's runway will be 1500m - its supposed to have relatively big 'shoulders' and taxiways etc.. (being a brown job i have no idea what that means...), but its still only 1500m.

from recall the view is that to be of any use regarding 'those islands', we'd need a runway at Tristan de Cunha, a further 1000+ miles south - and the topography just makes that a complete no-no: the only area on the islands almost flat enought to take a runway also happens to be the islands main farming area, and the island is a cliff, so actually getting stuff from ships to a contruction site is a nightmare...
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Old 12th Oct 2013, 23:23
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Thanks Cokecan

The original query about this eluded to the prospect of an airfield at Tristan, but clearly that was just a kneejerk response at the time to the desperate situation in spring '82. Surely based on the logic that anything closer than Ascension would be easier fuel wise.

Now that we have MPA, would somebody care to point out why we might still need this? Obvious answer is we dont.

Being a bit of a geography buff might I also add that we wont see an airfield on Gough Island 200 miles south east of Tristan anytime soon either, even if it was achievable (which it aint).

I do still worry however about the vulnerability of FI under certain scenarios, but I understand an open forum is not the place for their discussion.

Last edited by Coochycool; 12th Oct 2013 at 23:25.
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Old 13th Oct 2013, 00:02
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Originally Posted by Coochycool View Post
Slight thread drift but you may or may not be aware that St. Helena is at long last getting an airfield, predicted to be operational late 2015.

Which for me begged the question where the airlink will fly to (Cape Town?), and what equipment they'll use.

Anybody any idea?

What are the chances that the occasional FI shuttle will get routed via?
I think that Cape Town itself is nearer to The Falklands than St Helena.

Regarding the new St Helena airport, as I understand it the intention is an A319/737-700 operation from Cape Town, but the 1,550m strip (a fraction longer than London City) exposed to Atlantic gales is surely going to be a bit of a challenge. Luanda in Angola is about the same distance, while the nearest airfield is of course Ascension Island. There's going to be a 6 million litre fuel store. Given that the only sea access to the island is by a ship anchored offshore craning onto lighters, I'm not quite sure how the bulk fuel will get there in the first place.
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Old 13th Oct 2013, 00:23
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Coochy,

the post-82 thinking on having a runway closer to the FI was about supporting a fleet with AEW and ASW in the unlikely event of an exact re-match.

the more recent thinking is primarily about developing the local island economies - that and the cronic lack of tanking assets available to bring down reinforcements. diversion airfields are also an issue - apparently no one particularly fancies the prospect of a C-17 with a Parachute Coy on board or an F-35 or Typhoon having to divert to a Lat Am airfield because MPA is closed...

Stanley's runway is less than 1000m - it could be extended, but not by that much, and if the weather closes MPA, it will probably close Stanley as well.
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Old 13th Oct 2013, 08:37
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Cape town to MPA 3900 NM
ASI-MPA 3900NM so St Helena to MPA would not be much different. Tristan to MPA ?-probably 2500 nm or so. Not sure that diversions has anything to do with it.
As for Stanley-I guess they could extend it to the 6000 or so that it was as a max during the heyday of RAF Stanley.
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Old 13th Oct 2013, 11:19
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Thanks for the last few posts chaps, there arent too many avenues for discussion of such a specialised topic but it is of anorak interest to some like myself.

I think we can deduce that the availability of further airfields in the South Atlantic is largely irrelevant to the regional threat.

I do however question the continuing vulnerability of the islands under certain circumstances, one of which Cokecan eludes to.

I believe that on at least one occasion 2 FJs and the tanker launched from MPA but were subsequently unable to recover there due to wx deterioration. It provoked a rather ignominious diversion to Chile, only after having asked Argentina whether they would mind awfully if they overflew.

Fortunately in this instance common sense prevailed and permission was
granted, but what if it hadnt been?

And theres nothing quite like advertising when your in a state of compromise. Any potential aggressor might naturally consider developing a strategy for a more robust response whenever this scenario might recurr.

Any thoughts?

Maybe someone could at least explain why given that Autoland is older than I am, why we cant land in pea soup however thick it is?

Last edited by Coochycool; 13th Oct 2013 at 11:23.
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Old 13th Oct 2013, 12:58
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Maybe someone could at least explain why given that Autoland is older than I am, why we cant land in pea soup however thick it is?
Being in charge of an engineering team that maintains an airfield's Radars, radios, navigation beacons and landing aids, I can answer that one.

The precision of the ILS system required to do full autoland is massively affected by what bits of metal are kicking about the airfield from minute to minute thus it massively restricts ground movement of aircraft and support vehicles (the radio beams don't propagate as they should due to reflections). To put it in perspective, I was on an airfield with a contractor in close proximity to an ILS Glideslope tower and was told over the radio from ATC to get away from the equipment ASAP because the two vehicles we were in where having an adverse effect on the equipment as an aircraft was making its approach on ILS. The classic example of what can go wrong was a tri engined jet that tried to do full autoland on airfield with a non autoland calibrated ILS. The aircraft did a very heavy landing which resulted in major damage to the wing spar(s). Also the infringement regulations for radio site clearances for a full autoland compatible ILS system are extremely restrictive (off airfield to a specific range) and they have to be flight calibrated on a much more regular basis than a non autoland capable ILS.

In fact most of what you ask about is covered in this thread from a few years back http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...ert-chile.html.

Last edited by MAINJAFAD; 13th Oct 2013 at 14:02.
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Old 13th Oct 2013, 16:03
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Thanks for taking the trouble to broaden the knowledge of others MainJafad.

I wasnt aware of the linked thread but perhaps should have guessed it would be out there.

I suppose the main point to be learned from it is that the jets in question should really have been landed before MPA got socked in, but then I guess it can happen rather quickly in that part of the world.

And if we cant fly, neither of course then can a potential aggressor.
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 16:57
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One of the reasons for the new airport at St Helena is that the tub that shuttles to & fro is near the end of it's life - the cost of replacing isn't a lot but the cost of running it for another 40 years is apparently horrendous
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