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Apache E and UK Carriers

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Apache E and UK Carriers

Old 14th Sep 2020, 19:15
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Apache E and UK Carriers

I came across the article below over the weekend and coupled with Finningley Boy metionining about Close Air Support / Battlefield Air Interdiction in another thread it got me thinking about air support of amphibious operations.

A Royal Navy air engineer was picked to help introduce the most potent helicopter in the UK’s arsenal into service.

Petty Officer Stu Isaksen was one of six personnel sent to the USA to learn how to maintain the newest variant of the fearsome Apache gunship which enters service this autumn.
...
The latest version of the Apache, the E Model, is designed for operations from carriers as well as air bases and is due to be delivered to the Army Air Corps from November.

New Breed of Apache warriors

As the article implies, from early on the US Army envisaged a maritime role for the AH64-E which made it ideal for the UKs Purple 'Carrier Air Groups'. In my ideal world there would be a NAS as an element of a "Joint Force Apache" declared to the CHF as CAS/BAI element.

So I was wondering (from a position of ignorance):
1) Besides the PO Isaksen are there plans for Naval Service aviators and maintainers to be significantly invovled with the AACs AH64-E force and if not why not?
2) Given the small numbers and complexity of F-35 what the optimum balance between fixed wing and rotary wing is for delivery of CAS/BAI support to boots ashore (be they RM or Army) in a range of potential scenarios?

I am opening the discussion to the (virtual) floor.

SLXOwft is offline  
Old 14th Sep 2020, 21:02
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Nice attempt at asset grab....
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Old 14th Sep 2020, 21:12
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I think there is more chance of HMS Queen Elizabeth becoming QEII Barracks than any 'Joint Force Apache'.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 14:19
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Although in my fantasy four carrier fleet there would be additional Apaches for a dedicated CHF squadron, I was trying to make a serious point. The Lightning squadrons will not be single service viz 617's RN CO. I just think that, as Apaches are intented to be deployed on the CVs as part of their role; a purple element in the force to assist the AAC in being able to adapt to RN doctrines and methods makes sense. By constantly working alongside colleagues from a naval background would it not make the deployments easier and more efficient?
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 15:02
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I can't help thinking that any Apache on a carrier should have the words ROYAL MARINES painted on the tail boom.
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 18:41
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Agree with VX;The Navy have employed helicopters with air launched weapons for decades starting with the Wasp; why not Royal Marine operated Apaches?
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Old 15th Sep 2020, 20:36
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Agree with VX;The Navy have employed helicopters with air launched weapons for decades starting with the Wasp; why not Royal Marine operated Apaches?
Because Army Air Corps....
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 01:50
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Well we need something to counteract the hoards of tanks rolling towards us with the current plan to drastically cut our own tank forces and redirect the funds to cyberwarfare .... some how hitting the Control Alt Delete keys just doesn't seem to have the same stopping power as a 120mm round from the barrel of a Challenger.
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 07:40
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Did anyone have any complaints about the AAC support in Libya? Would having a Royal Marine in the cockpit have made the slightest bit of difference???
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 09:51
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...
Crab ....

Two Fleet Air Arm Apache pilots (out of total ten embarked pilots) didn't seem to do any harm to the Ocean/Libya adventure in 2011 - except to the opposition of course ....

LFH
...
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 09:58
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A discussion which neatly illustrates one of the core issues with the trajectory of the UK military. Subdivisions of already vanishingly small resources introduces cost and complexity at the expense of capability, and has about as much merit as the proverbial rearranging of the deckchairs on the Titanic. All IMHO, obviously.
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 10:15
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Lordflasheart - so what you are saying is 'Yes, it made no difference at all'
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 10:17
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chevvron, if we still had Cold War size fleets maybe but I can't see one could justify a duplicate capability these days. Frankly, I wouldn't be suprised if a large proportion of the 50 on order are put in long term storage after the Integrated Review.. (Against the original 67 Ds)

My thinking was based on the assumption that JFH and Lightning have removed the likelihood of the repetition of 1(F) personnel's experiences in 1982 and the feeling they had to fight on two fronts. If they had had a previously embeded RN element I suspect their experiences might have been less bad - granted those directly affected may disagree given certain RN officers' personalities. Also they weren't expected to go to sea as part of normal operations.

I just think in a Purple World it must help integration if the individual units are of varying shades of purple.

crab, I certainly wasn't making any criticism of the AACs perfomance off Ocean in 2011 (you will be unsurprised, however, to know I would have preferred Harriers). In Op Ellamy they were the principle weapon system. However, on the new carriers I would expect they will be part of a mixed air component when a carrier is in its Littoral Manoeuvre/Amphibious Assault role. The Royals are used to having Army components in 3 Commando Brigade anyway viz 29 Commando Regt RA and 24 Commando RE; so it would seem to make sense for instance for 4 Regt to be declared to 3 Cmdo Bde at least part-time and work with them regularly. I am talking from ignorance so this may already happen,

Procedures that are well honed during Herrick have in some way needed changing in order to meet the strict safety standards, high tempo and darkness of the flight deck. The Army Air Corps ground crew and Survival Equipment specialists, all experienced operators, have worked closely with their Royal Navy counterparts, developing new procedures sympathetic to the specific needs of Apache.
Ocean Wave, November 2011

Surely it is more efficent to be working closely with a few of their Royal Navy counterparts on a daily basis rather than having to some extent relearn every time they deploy.

falcon900, I agree - duplication of capability is insane for forces the size of the UK's - it does however require optimum interoperability..
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Old 16th Sep 2020, 10:39
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Originally Posted by VX275 View Post
I can't help thinking that any Apache on a carrier should have the words ROYAL MARINES painted on the tail boom.
Well they're near enough army so what's the problem?

Anyhow, given they're the only ones who've ridden shotgun on these helos, they must surely have some call over them?

That time 4 Royal Marines strapped themselves to attack helicopters and rode into a Taliban compound

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