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UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft - An Urgent Requirement

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UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft - An Urgent Requirement

Old 21st Jul 2015, 13:04
  #1421 (permalink)  
 
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P1 better looking?

Get some new glasses. The P1 looks to me like the bastard offspring of a Convair 880 and a P3.

Mind you the RAF has often favoured brutally functional looking aircraft. Lightning, Buccaneer, Phantom, Jaguar, Tornado, Nimrod even - none were attractively shapely.

The Hunter and Hawk are some of the few lookers amongst the inventory.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 13:07
  #1422 (permalink)  
 
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I prefer non sleek looking things;
Best looking 737
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 15:05
  #1423 (permalink)  
 
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That's one hell of a big MAD boom!!
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 15:54
  #1424 (permalink)  
 
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An interesting discussion re the P1. Two important points though are that it is an MPA whereas the P8 is a MMA. The crew composition of 11 vs 8 (P-8) has large financial implications from several angles.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 16:09
  #1425 (permalink)  
 
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 16:28
  #1426 (permalink)  
 
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Please don't get bogged down in the MMA/MPA definition. With the necessary equipment on-board, an MPA can do the job of an MMA. The politicians will use the MMA argument to confuse the issue of purchasing a new platform - claiming that the MRA4 was an MPA but what we really needed was an MMA.

Smoke and mirrors and Snake Oil Salesmen.

The P8 complement of 8 crew can be increased if the extra sensor console is deemed necessary by the customer and is fitted. I believe that there is space allocated for this extra sensor console and provisions have been made for power etc.

I have no first hand experience of the P1, I have used the P8 console simulator. I have to say that I was less than impressed by the demonstrator console, it wasn't as good as the equipment that I was already using. Allowing for the fact that it was a demonstrator, when questioned, the P8 staff confirmed that the spiral 1 wouldn't have many capabilities that we already had.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 17:56
  #1427 (permalink)  
 
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Random,

Isn't the crew size in the comparison you use actually irrelevant?

If you buy the P-1, then the crew size is 11 for an MPA. Buy the P-8 and the crew size might appear to be 8, but if you use it as an MMA, with extra plug and play "stuff" as you refer to it, then you surely augment the crew past 8, towards what, 10, maybe even 11? Those augmenting people have to be on your P-8 Sqn from day 1, so what sort of manpower saving are you actually achieving in comparison to the P-1? Or are you saying one P-8 crew "borrows" people from another crew to act as the augmenters (would that be a nightmare to manage, especially on detachments/deployments)?

It should be about capability, not crew size.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 18:07
  #1428 (permalink)  
 
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We're surely not so skint as to be seriously considering the tiny costs of an extra three crew members? Using the likely number of crews and assuming a generous average of 55 ish k the cost difference would be in the region of 2.5 million a year. Barely pennies in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 18:14
  #1429 (permalink)  
 
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It should be about capability, not crew size.
May I offer a perspective? It seems that many aircraft manufacturers have expended a lot of effort to eliminate crew members, like navigators, radio operators, flight engineers, etc. The F-35 was even specifically designed to be solely a single crew airframe. There is no version with two seats. So crew size does seem to be an important criteria for many military aircraft.

The existing P-8 architecture is pretty flexible. So adding sensors does not necessarily require adding a console and operator for those sensors. An existing console could be used. So there could be different guys trained to operate different sensors from the existing consoles. If the mission is primarily anti submarine, acoustic operators would be aboard. If the mission is primarily electronic surveillance, a different operator would be aboard. Basically, you'd build a crew that had the expertise/training for the specific mission. The downside is that while the aircraft remains multi-mission, any individual aircaft would be crewed to only do some of the missions. I don't know if that would be good or bad.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 18:34
  #1430 (permalink)  
 
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KenV,

Pardon me - I might be being a bit dim here, it wouldn't be the first time, but surely even if the same console can be used for different sensors, unless your operators are cross trained in all roles (and the Brits used to consider acoustic training complex enough to be a specialist subject in its own right) you still need more than 8 people available per crew, its now just a case of which 8 you take flying on each sortie?

Unless you go for a pool system within a P-8 Sqn, rather than dedicated crews, and you draw the operators you need from the pool on a sortie by sortie basis?
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 18:49
  #1431 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Jayand View Post
We're surely not so skint as to be seriously considering the tiny costs of an extra three crew members? Using the likely number of crews and assuming a generous average of 55 ish k the cost difference would be in the region of 2.5 million a year. Barely pennies in the grand scheme of things.
I'd suggest the capitation rates for Aircrew, especially if PAS or near the top of their payscales would be closer to 100 - 120k.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 18:57
  #1432 (permalink)  
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We used to fly 'pure' single role missions with multi-mission crew. Admittedly many of these would turn out as extremely boring for the non-operating section.

OTOH, I can't remember how many sorties had the mission changed either at pre-flight, in the climb, or during the sortie. You would look pretty stupid with a 100% serviceable and capable MMA and the wrong single mission crew on board.

In ASW surface search will become pure acoustic. In ASuW acoustics can gain valuable intelligence.

And that is just a flavour.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 19:20
  #1433 (permalink)  
 
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We're surely not so skint as to be seriously considering the tiny costs of an extra three crew members? Using the likely number of crews and assuming a generous average of 55 ish k the cost difference would be in the region of 2.5 million a year. Barely pennies in the grand scheme of things.
I'd suggest the capitation rates for Aircrew, especially if PAS or near the top of their payscales would be closer to 100 - 120k.
O.K., 5M per annum. Plus the cost of equiping the air-stairs with a Stannah stairlifts.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 19:33
  #1434 (permalink)  
 
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Crew size is a real consideration, as is capability, range, endurance, hourly operating cost, dispatch rate etc etc..

Personally, I find this discussion invigorating as it lacks the ubiquitous PPRuNe point scoring. I'm hoping that this round of (potential) procurement, post Haddon-Cave et al, is done properly without any pre-conceptions and leads to a first class world beating capability, something we once had in the maritime environment. If the numbers are right with the P1, I honestly hope it gets the vote without subjective political interference.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 19:34
  #1435 (permalink)  
 
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Unless you go for a pool system within a P-8 Sqn, rather than dedicated crews, and you draw the operators you need from the pool on a sortie by sortie basis?
That was what I was trying to say when I said this: "Basically, you'd build a crew that had the expertise/training for the specific mission."

Sorry for the confusion. We seem to be separated by a "common" language.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 19:42
  #1436 (permalink)  
 
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Random,

Believe me when I say I'm trying to start an argument, merely contribute to a discussion. When you say:

People also need to be flexible on their thinking in terms of who comprises the crew, whether they are constituted and what skillsets each individual has in comparison to how things were done on Nimrod.

While I don't disagree in principle, and like to think I'm not a dinosaur, I would offer the following word of caution. The broader the skillsets you require each crew member to have, the less competent he/she is likely to be in any one, the less able they are to practice it, keep current, undertake live Exercises in it, etc.


Just a thought. I guess it depends how much you are willing to "pay" to generate good quality performance from your crews/assets across the full spectrum of possible tasks?

Last edited by Biggus; 22nd Jul 2015 at 10:40.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 19:51
  #1437 (permalink)  
 
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KenV,

No problem, as you say, separated by a common language:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ3fjQa5Hls
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 19:56
  #1438 (permalink)  
 
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Apart from the fact that we, the RAF, don't have WSO training or Air Eng training of any sort, I think all of your arguments about the extra 3 crew members are completely flawless.

There are a handful on Sentry, but otherwise do we have any Air Eng's left at all?

Last edited by camelspyyder; 21st Jul 2015 at 22:10.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 20:59
  #1439 (permalink)  
 
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Meanwhile, in India, they've ordered another four P-8Is.

So, twelve in all so far.
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Old 21st Jul 2015, 22:26
  #1440 (permalink)  
 
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Hasn't Pontius rather knocked the idea of "specialist" crews on the head? If it is still the case that you have a limited number of aircraft ready to go/going and a new matter of interest arises, and the aircraft is detailed to investigate, then the composition of the crew comes to the fore. Does it matter if there are crew members underused because the mission has changed? And does this bring into question the relative multimission capability of the contenders among the available aircraft on the market.
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