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-   -   Whatever happened to the Chinook HC 3s? (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/109805-whatever-happened-chinook-hc-3s.html)

Jackonicko 12th Oct 2006 20:24

What was the nature/extent of the work being bid for, Saints?

Saintsman 12th Oct 2006 21:12

We were going to strip the avionics bay and flight deck, re-wire them and install new avionics. They would have been brought by road.

As they are in good nick there was very little else to do apart from some special forces mods.

It would have been nice to do as well but you can't win them all :sad:

High_lander 12th Oct 2006 21:29

I heard Boeing offered to fix them for £3million when they didn't work.

But us being "smart" wanted to give it to British companies.

As I heard

Jackonicko 12th Oct 2006 21:34

Saintsman

The Dutch avionics, presumably?

Not another bespoke fit?

nigegilb 12th Oct 2006 21:37

Saint, any truth that Thales were charging half as much for the cost of the trames to do the work?

Safeware 12th Oct 2006 22:30

Nige,

Certainly the word that I had heard was that the Chinners could be signed off tomorrow, someone with large cojones required.
Are you inferring that is what should happen?

sw

nigegilb 12th Oct 2006 22:48

SW, I am just trying to make sense of this whole thing. No 1 equipment shortage in UK Armed Forces right now is helicopters. We are at war, these Chinooks were flown regularly, why not use them? I suspect that they are not in a position to be flown at the moment but what sense is there in leaving them to rust? As far as I understand they were delivered to spec, so why can't they be signed off? If simply airing this absurd situation acts as a catalyst to finally sorting this procurement out, then, that in itself is a good thing.

Safeware 12th Oct 2006 23:37

Nige,
The problem I see is that, having previously decided that these ac were not fit to have an RTS for safety reasons, is it not reasonable for Joe Public (and Jack Pilot) to say "These ac were previously considered unsafe, what has changed?" Is your statement of "We are at war, these Chinooks were flown regularly, why not use them?" good enough.
Or put it another way, in your dealings with the big wheels, if they said "We are at war, these Hercules were flown regularly, why not use them?" would you lessen your campaign to have ESF fitted?
Or do you think it is one rule for SH and another rule for AT?

As far as I understand they were delivered to spec, so why can't they be signed off?
I thought that you of all people would have learned that something delivered to spec isn't necessarily safe. :(
sw

dervish 13th Oct 2006 07:17

As you need to log in to the MoD site with your service/staff number, I won’t reveal all the details, but the Chinook Mk3 “Fix to Field” team is actively recruiting. The bulletins state the proposed In Service Dates (plural). Not 2007.


Safeware - Fully agree.

nigegilb 13th Oct 2006 07:50

SW, it would appear that having aired the situation, a fix is on the way.:)

I never expected the HC3s to get signed off, but File on 4 gave me a tinkle a few weeks ago and I suggested they take a look at the procurement of the Chinooks. Smart move? If they were delivered to spec at a cost of £246m and they were not safe why has nobody taken responsibility for an outrageous waste of taxpayers money? Or do you think that is OK? I am still not clear as to why these ac cannot be signed off which is why I ask the question. Accountability is something dear to my heart. There is precious little accountability here is there?

Oh, C4 News covered it on Saturday as well. (it was only a suggestion). Sometimes you have to think like politicians!

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 11:08

"SW, it would appear that having aired the situation, a fix is on the way."

Are you taking credit for shaming the politicians into fixing this, then, Nige? :rolleyes:

SW,

The difference between the C-130 fuel tanks and the HC3 software is surely that:

The C-130 risk was obvious and demonstrable, the TPs and operators were unhappy with the unmodified aircraft, and the lead customer was unhappy enough with the situation that it modified its own aircraft years ago. Any operator would regard the lack of inerting/foam as putting aircraft at unacceptable risk.

Whereas

The Chinook software risk is hypothetical, the TPs were happy with the aircraft, and the lead customer for the type almost bought back these airframes.

And there is the suggestion that the problem that led to these aircraft being grounded (impossible to validate software to standard required>'unacceptable' recommendation from Boscombe>refusal to sign MAR) would not have happened under previous clearance standards (eg before the current Class 1 safety critical software assessment requirements WHEN WERE THESE INTRODUCED?), and would not be viewed as a problem by other operators.

nigegilb 13th Oct 2006 11:15

Plus the fact that there is a precedent for overruling BD RE: Typhoon. Surely the roots of this debacle lie in the Chinook that crashed on the Mull.

JN, not claiming credit. Drayson hinted that a Boeing fix should be on offer soon and that other ways to achieve more rotary lift in theater were being looked at. It can only assist the situation if the media are adding extra scrutiny.

dervish 13th Oct 2006 11:35

“Are you taking credit for shaming the politicians into fixing this, then, Nige?”


The “fix-to-field” initiative has been known for some time, at least since the demise of SABR. The recruiting is probably due to a combination of people coming to an end of their tours and in anticipation of approvals.



“The difference between the C-130 fuel tanks and the HC3 software is surely that:
The C-130 risk was obvious and demonstrable”


From previous posts I understood this also applied to Chinook and advance warning was given to the project office. The recent File On 4 programme included an interview on the subject. A retired Sqn Ldr. Also that the problem was more than just software. I concede I know little about helicopters, but Racal made it known around 1995 that some of their kit had been selected “off-the-shelf” for new Chinooks when in fact it was widely known to be so immature that years of development were still required. If the kit was immature, then the risk would be obvious and demonstrable surely?

lightningmate 13th Oct 2006 12:11

Nige,

Boscombe RECOMMENDS it does not authorise etc any MAR or RTS; hence, the views expressed are not overruled, just ignored!. That has always been the case all the way back to when the organisation was formed - MOD in the shape of ACAS heads-up RTS content and approval.

In this case the Boscombe view has not been ignored. Considering the desperate need for these platforms one concludes there is a genuine problem. The question to pose is why is it taking MOD so long to sort it out - one way or the other?

lm

nigegilb 13th Oct 2006 12:19

LM, point taken and I am definitely not laying the blame with BD. Now this subject has been given the oxygen of publicity I would hope that there is added impetus to getting it fixed sharpish. Surely we should not go down the road of hiring private helicopters to ferry our troops around? SW mentioned the safety angle, can you imagine the arguments if a private helo went down with British troops on board? The solution to the current problem lies at BD. PM has stated that UK Armed Forces will get anything their commanders ask for. Well they are asking for more Chinners. Get it sorted.

lightningmate 13th Oct 2006 12:37

Nige,

The solution does not rest at Boscombe, a little further east methinks.

Whilst I am not wholly familiar with the problem identified, I understand it relates to systems critical to flying in IMC/poor WX conditions. Hardly, the sort of concern you need for a SF capability platform.

The flying carried out at Boscombe to keep the oil moving etc in the 'stored' aircraft has only taken place on nice clear days.

lm

nigegilb 13th Oct 2006 13:09

You can be sure that nobody will sign off the Chinooks if there are concerns about IMC flight. By stating the solution lies at BD, I implied that BD is the location for 8 (possibly 7) Chinooks that are sitting idle. I did not mean that this is a problem for BD to fix. The solution is a political one that will not wait much longer. Who knows, these helos might get scrapped, that is not what I am hearing though. I have a certain amount of respect for Lord Drayson, he strikes me as a problem solver. Drayson has stated he wants more rotary in Afg by next May. Could be there is a 2 stage solution to this need, certainly does not sound as though the Chinooks will be ready by then. This sorry episode in procurement has dragged on for too long, are we finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel?

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 13:22

LM,

My understanding is that NO insoluble or ignorable problem has been identified or indicated with the systems critical to flying in IMC/poor WX conditions.

Rather the problem is that the software cannot be validated to a standard that would GUARANTEE that such problems cannot or could not occur.

However, it is believed that such a failure/problem would require all of the displays/feeds to the AFCS to suddenly, simultaneously be giving the same erroneous data to the displays (all at the same time and all agreeing with each other) - something that the TPs felt was improbable and no more that a hypothetical risk.

But because the source code can not be proven, you can't absolutely, unreservedly guarantee that it won't happen, leaving Boscombe with no choice but to give an "unacceptable" recommendation.

However, many systems have (quite rightly) been given a release despite such a judgement, after the risk has been properly evaluated. (Boscombe merely identify the risks - the IPT then assess them and get the MAR signed).

However, because these are Chinooks (a type involved in what is still being described as the RAF's worst post war accident) and because these particular aircraft have been labelled as having been judged unfit for release (in Parliament, in the Press, everywhere!), if they were now rushed into service, and one were then lost, the solids would really hit the rotating ventilator and the less supportive elements of the press and the lawyers would have a field day.

lightningmate 13th Oct 2006 13:54

Jacko,

Hear what you say and I recollect an earlier post noting an MOD Web Site as stating a solution was identified. I suspect it has been for some time but someone has to fund the solution.

However, as one who has more than once experienced in a military aircraft a happening that could not/should not happen, I tend to regard such statements with some scepticism, particularly when software is involved.

As to Risk Assessments - bit like statistics, you can prove anything.

lm

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 14:12

Perhaps a more realistic risk assessment would be possible if one of the Boscombe HC3s were to be flown really intensively, in simulated IMC, with a safety pilot and a handling pilot (only one of whom would necessarily need to be a TP, I guess?).

lightningmate 13th Oct 2006 14:29

Jacko,

I make no pretensions to being an expert but I suspect an 'N of one' would not cut the mustard statistically. Moreover, it would be interesting to hear knowledgeable estimates of how many hours would need to be flown to provide credible evidence that all was OK - risk wise.

lm

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 15:33

There are huge inconsistencies, though. There are a number of platforms with MARs carrying more real, more quantifiable risk.

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 17:40

Just to show what we're talking about:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...o/Chinook3.jpg


www.airliners.net/ open.file/546035/L/

Safeware 13th Oct 2006 18:35

Some thought on bits from above:

“The Chinook software risk is hypothetical, the TPs were happy with the aircraft.”

1. Risks aren’t hypothetical, they are real. You identify a consequence, and figure out its probability – there’s your risk. Just because a tp is happy, doesn’t make it safe.

“would not have happened under previous clearance standards (eg before the current Class 1 safety critical software assessment requirements WHEN WERE THESE INTRODUCED?), and would not be viewed as a problem by other operators”

2. So what happened to ‘current best practice’, UK law, etc etc? Just because someone else thinks its ok for them doesn’t have to mean it’s ok for us. If you are talking Def Stan 00-55 Iss 2, Aug 1997.

“(Boscombe merely identify the risks - the IPT then assess them and get the MAR signed”

3. Not quite right, Boscombe identify the risks, we assess the risks and advise the IPTL on how to mitigate the risks. The IPTL considers whether or not he is prepared to accept that level of risk.

“As to Risk Assessments - bit like statistics, you can prove anything”

4. You can prove anything with a nasty outcome has some probability. The skill is in showing that a credible hazard has an acceptable (or unacceptable) level of risk. Not quite the same.

“Moreover, it would be interesting to hear knowledgeable estimates of how many hours would need to be flown to provide credible evidence that all was OK - risk wise.”

Lots of hours, and for complex systems more time than has existed in the universe so far. If you have lots of inputs in lots of combinations it takes lots of time to work through them all. So, for software it is better to show that the way you have identified and mitigated the risks is sound AND that you have developed the software correctly. 2 quotes from learned people in the /sw business:

If you try and tell me that the probability of a software failure occurring in a system is one in a million, I’m very unlikely to believe you. If you tell me that there is no way that the software can fail, I’m much more likely to believe you because in the first case, you can’t have tested sufficiently to get that level of confidence, in the second you must have done something to be so sure that this is the case.

There are 2 ways of developing software. The first is to make it so simple, there are obviously no errors, the second is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious errors.

Unfortunately there is much more of the latter around than the former.

“There are a number of platforms with MARs carrying more real, more quantifiable risk.”

5. Firstly see 1 above. Secondly, if the risk is quantifiable, then a reasoned argument as to its acceptability can be made. The problem comes when you can’t quantify the risk. That’s when you are on thin ice.

sw

bjcc 13th Oct 2006 19:05

In addition to Jackonicko's picture, heres a different view, and more oddly, one flying!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3.../bcch47mk3.jpg
I've got a couple more of the same aircraft, somewhere if anyone's interested.

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 19:13

MORE! MORE! MORE!

Place and date?

nigegilb 13th Oct 2006 19:18

Jacko calm down you are behaving like a journalist.:)

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 19:22

I resent that.




















........................................................I'm acting like a spotter!

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 19:25

SW,

If it met (or would have met) previous standards, then the inference must be that while it's not good enough, it would have been good enough then.

And if it was good enough then, it must be within the "let the IPT decide if they're willing to accept the risk" basket now, surely?

Especially when as supporting evidence you have the bullishness of the TPs.

And an urgent operational need.

bjcc 13th Oct 2006 19:41

Just for you Jacko....
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...c174/chin1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...c174/chin2.jpg
Place? Boscombe Down. When? As I recall late 2004.

Safeware 13th Oct 2006 20:45

Jacko,

Especially when as supporting evidence you have the bullishness of the TPs
So, at the subsequent Board of Inquiry, the evidence supporting the RTS was the "bullishness of the tps"

No, can't see that one lasting long as a defence.

Mind you, not far behind would be the claim that

And if it was good enough then, it must be within the "let the IPT decide if they're willing to accept the risk"
Like it or not, objective evidence is what is required. Counter evidence is very strong.

And stop calling me Shirley. :)

sw

Jackonicko 13th Oct 2006 21:20

Ah, but are those the criteria applied to every other type?

tucumseh 14th Oct 2006 09:26

“Ah, but are those the criteria applied to every other type?”


The simple answer is, NO. The main reasons, in my experience, are political imperative and poor leadership permitting widespread inconsistency in the application of process and procedure in DPA and DLO (and Mod(PE) and ASML/AMSO before them). The two, politics and inconsistency, are related.

I would say however that Safeware (whom I don’t know) and his colleagues at Boscombe ARE and always have been extremely consistent with their advice – but as we know, they only advise and recommend, it is for the IPT to decide. I have always believed that if the IPT reject BD advice, they should give their reasons in writing and have the decision endorsed at XD level. That would force a degree of consistency. Others disagree.

As it stands, and I quote a real example, BD can declare a system unsafe, the IPT reject their advice, sign and pay off the contract, and offer an aircraft to the Service which is not airworthy or otherwise fit for purpose. And walk away. Then, another IPT, under the same XD, can be instructed to make the aircraft/system safe, paying the same company again to do what they should have done in the first place, using funds from their own programmes which must, if necessary, be chopped to pay for it. What were the politics? Don’t make waves on certain individuals’ projects, as they have been earmarked for greater things. Or, typically, don’t mess with me, I’m on the fast track scheme and could soon be writing your report.

Now that I’ve moved on to Mk3 (!), what was the political imperative of the day? In my opinion it was (a) Mull of Kintyre and (b) COTS. The Mull thread is full of verifiable facts which demonstrate the airworthiness process was flawed, perhaps due to political imperative. COTS and MAR are, in many ways, mutually exclusive concepts. Same people involved, so is it possible they were overly cautious and risk-averse on Mk3? They would be bricking it in case something they signed for went wrong. I’ve asked people to consider this question before, “Why were far more complex concurrent programmes delivered ahead of schedule, under cost and to a better performance by the same Directorate?” Answer that, learn from the lessons, apply that learning consistently (vitally important – MoD is full of lessons learnt papers, but few are implemented), and many of MoD’s procurement problems would disappear. However, the lessons are politically unacceptable. The main one was, do the proper thing, not what the bosses say. If we’d followed their instructions the aircraft wouldn’t be flying yet, at 3 times the cost. Kind of like Mk3 really.

GlosMikeP 20th Oct 2006 07:25


Originally Posted by tucumseh (Post 2907926)
“Ah, but are those the criteria applied to every other type?”

Tuc

Please check urgent PM.

Anyone with private line to Tuc, I'd be grateful if you could alert him.

Jackonicko 23rd Oct 2006 13:13

Can anyone confirm that fix-to-field is now signed?

Can anyone explain how Thales Top Deck will be validateable when the original software wasn't?

And in view of the VERY mixed reports about this, can anyone say which aircraft wasn't at Boscombe, and positively confirm where the eight are as of now?

Is there definitely not one in the US?

Is there no longer an aircraft at Odiham?

Have any HC2s flown with the big tanks?

nigegilb 23rd Oct 2006 13:23

Can you also confirm the cost.


Amazing what a bit of media attention can do.;)

ukmil 23rd Oct 2006 18:38

firstly, there is NO Hc3 at odiham. Secondly, it will be some time before we see an operational MK3. Of the 8 that were bought, most of the 'unused' ones were sent back to the us, very early after the initial afghan conflict, to fill a stopgap in the us army. This was a deal signed by the government, in a part exchange deal, as the US re desparate for them. Part of the deal, is the RAF was to be supplied with upgraded MK2's which had the larger tanks, and glass cockpit. As where this deal is currently at, no one knows, but seing has we had to 'rob' the Chinny from the falklands to meet other tasks, it shows how desparate we are for airframes at present. Overcommited?

Jackonicko 27th Oct 2006 16:26

It's my understanding that Main Building fluffed the deal to PX the HC.Mk 3s, which was to have been a no-cost transfer of the HC3s to the US Army, with a subsequent no-cost transfer of new build MH-47Gs to replace them.

BossEyed 27th Oct 2006 17:42

ukmil, I couldn't comment on the first and last two sentences of your post - but the rest of it is wrong!
The deal you mention was discussed some while ago, but as JN says it came to naught.

crabbbo 27th Oct 2006 17:56

Agreeing with the above i am afraid UKMil. The (face-saving?) 'deal' to get rid of the aircraft in 2002 was just water-testing by the USA and came of nothing. All 8 were still at BD in late 2005, the last flight having taken place in January of that year. There were even attempts to sell them to Middle East countries which fell through.


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