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The future of UK SAR, post SAR-H

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The future of UK SAR, post SAR-H

Old 2nd Dec 2012, 21:31
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http://www51.honeywell.com/aero/comm...1A_for_SAR.pdf
minimum radar range 450 feet!

Position verified how?

Its a weather radar and the manufacturers do not claim otherwise.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 22:20
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Devil

Ground mapping modes don't detect wx unless severe and aren't supposed to. Verification by cross reference tends to be the norm.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 22:47
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Hedski

Out of interest what is your procedure for getting to a cliff sticker on say a steep sea cliff/rockface with a 35-40kt directly onshore wind, with a visibility of say 300ft at night?

HF
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 01:13
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Its right there in the Ops Manual next to the procedure for rescuing one legged unicyclists going round in circles. In a crewroom with 50 collective years of military SAR experience, not one of us have ever had to do that for real and if I had been tasked to fly that scenario in a Sea King I would have taken a look but I would still have preferred to leave it to a cliff rescue team. There is no such thing as a purpose build SAR helicopter and that includes the Sea King, the S92 and the AW139. Yes an anti submarine warfare radar will always be more capable than a commercial radar but whenever you change aircraft there will always be gains and losses. If you are lucky enough to fly a modern helicopter then you will soon appreciate that things like the ability to climb IFR in icing, the ability to fly to the casualty at 150kts+ and a whole host of other benefits that you will use on a daily basis should more than offset any decrease in radar capability.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 06:24
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And a 40kt tail rotor authority to cope with that wonderful cliff job
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 08:11
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There is no such thing as a purpose build SAR helicopter
Yet the venerable Sea King/S61 is widely acknowledged as the best SAR helicopter ever built with a track-record that modern helicopters can only dream of.

The S-92 is proving its worth and I would much rather have it than the AW189 but whichever way you cut it a 120 degree weather radar does not give you the safety and flexibility of a 330, whether it is making approaches to land in poor weather or operating in a multi asset environment over the water. You need to see what is around you, not just what is in front of you.

What do you do over the sea at night below 1000' (effectively IMC below SAlt) since you don't have NVG? How does your weather radar make that legal or safe or is the CAA clearance only for the let down phase ie 1000' to the hover rather than manoeuvring at low level?

As for the 150 kts and the icing clearance - neither of those are much good at low level over land at night in poor weather - you won't be going fast because you can't see much and if you climb for IFR you won't get down again to do the job.

I know, I know, everyone will be getting NVG come SAR H - that was promised before and still hasn't happened - if the CAA were serious about it, civ SAR would at least be trialling it now ready for the future.

Detgnome - more time on the radar required then because I seem to fly with Radops who can see anemometer masts
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 09:00
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Detgnome - more time on the radar required then because I seem to fly with Radops who can see anemometer masts
Give or take a few departures and some new arrivals, they are the same radops....
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 16:47
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Devil

Manoeuvring low level conducted within operations manual, radar and afcs system limitations as approved by the OEM and the CAA.

Last edited by Hedski; 3rd Dec 2012 at 16:50.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 17:22
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There has been clear recent evidence that amongst the crucial capabilities for land SAR aircraft are seeing and hearing in the fullest possible variety of conditions that occur on a cluster of sub-arctic atlantic rock outcrops like these ones. [Sea King: high marks. S-92: must try harder.]

Unfortunately for the Sea King, there a little bit of a hot'n'high spec (Scottish version of hot'n'high) in the new contract that makes it look its age.

Speed is useful and a recent near 200kt AIS trace for a NE-bound S-92 was a good demonstration of how that can work. For the 10-base solution, and the variations on it that we shall probably see put into practice, modern cruising speeds are essential.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 21:11
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Hedski

Thank you for enlightening CRAB on that, as I'm sure many are tired of him banging on about that. He really has no idea how easy it is to operate even something as old as the S61 on SAROP's, let alone a modern aircraft. Given the right 'attitude & training'

OMG no Radop Don't worry Crab, some civvie will show you how to turn it on.
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 14:05
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Max Contingency

Its right there in the Ops Manual next to the procedure for rescuing one legged unicyclists going round in circles. In a crewroom with 50 collective years of military SAR experience, not one of us have ever had to do that for real and if I had been tasked to fly that scenario in a Sea King I would have taken a look but I would still have preferred to leave it to a cliff rescue team.
I am surprised that with 50yrs of SAR experience nobody has had to use the full capabilities of a 360deg radar. In my 3 tours on SAR I can remember using the capability several times on the cliffs around Brawdy and the N Devon Coast. I certainly wouldn't have been able to close with the cliffs using a radar that only had a 120deg forward arc. While the cliff rescue team, if there is one in the area, can mount a rescue by the time they have driven to the often difficult to access area, done their recce and risk assessment, set out their kit we are way past the golden hour.

The S92 is obviously the way forward as it is the only modern a/c available. It is, however, not as capable as it should be bearing in mind it will be our SAR a/c for many years to come.

HF
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 15:04
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I didnt say that no has had to use the full capabilities of a 360 degree radar I said that no one had been called upon to fly your very unique scenario.
a cliff sticker on say a steep sea cliff/rockface with a 35-40kt directly onshore wind, with a visibility of say 300ft at night
. There will always be a scenario that you can invent to defeat any aircraft. Take out any one of those factors and a Wessex could probably fly the mission. Add in a requirement such as a transit IFR in airframe icing, an ROA greater than 240nm or a requirement to fly faster than 120kts and you would defeat a Sea King. All helicopters are a compromise.
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 15:23
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Hummingfrog - quiet! - that is not the message the naysayers want to hear!

They want desperately to believe that a 120 deg radar is as safe and capable as a 330 one.

Why? because that is what they accepted and what they are stuck with. Once a capability is compromised, it is lost for ever.

As for icing, the Sea King can fly in airframe icing down to minus 7 and there is no panic if the RIPS stops working. The only time icing has stopped me from doing a job is when freezing rain was forecast and even the clever S-92 can't fly in that.

The extra range isn't available in all the S92s is it? You have to have the extra tanks fitted (something that was conveniently ignored when it first saw service in Scotland).

Getting to the job quickly is only part of the equation, you have to be able to let down quickly and safely and a 120 radar and lack of NVG make that more problematic at night - swings and roundabouts as they say.
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 17:57
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Crab I donít recall anyone saying a 120 degree RADAR is as safe and capable as a 330 degree. Honestly; why would they?? My dear chap life isnít a pissing contest.......you do know that.....right? But I think the truth is you donít and will excuse your recent posts as some feeble attempt at humour/banter etc.

I hope that the future SAR service is as reliable, capable and accountable for the money the government has available to spend; donít you? I believe (at the moment) it will be, and arguably more so than the current service provided by the RAF.
Sure a full 360 RADAR would be nice for the given fore-mention scenario, and I bet there are plenty of other goodies we could have in the mix. But to add a wee bit of balance; Iíve not required the use of a 360 yet and have not been unable to accomplish a mission due to its absence. If it came down to choosing where best to spend some extra money found in the coffers of the treasury, wouldnít it be preferable to see Portland and Boulmer remain operational than a 360 radar bolted to the cabs?
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 20:43
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This little debate certainly seems to be going round and round in ever decreasing circles. Two decisions have been made and are unavoidable (if not delayable!);

1. UK SAR will be civilianised.

2. The Sea King will retire.

Both are going to happen very soon.

A p*ssing contest regarding who has the best radar, although mildly amusing to read when there's nothing better on't telly, is irrelevant. Whoever gets the contract(s) will have to order and deliver a substantial amount of aircraft in quick time and that narrows the field to the few platforms already mentioned in this forum. Nobody is going to build a bespoke SAR platform (obviously) and the option for a fully swept-up radar a la Sea King isn't an option. Therefore, as stated many times previously herein the solution will be a compromise, every aircraft ever produced has been.

I'm fairly convinced that the majority of us who have flown both vintage and modern aircraft in similar roles would chose the modern variant (I standby to be corrected!). For what it's worth I believe that the advantages a new aircraft will offer will outweigh the capabilities lost when the current stalwart retires. Just my very humble opinion.
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 21:31
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llamaman

For what it's worth I believe that the advantages a new aircraft will offer will outweigh the capabilities lost when the current stalwart retires.
That statement is not always true. I started on the NS on the 332L a capable a/c that did the job better than the S61 it replaced as it was faster and could carry the same number of pax. I then flew a newer a/c that had a better autopilot, radar, navigation system and was faster so you would think this was better than the 332L - only trouble was it could only carry 6 pax out to the nearest rigs so, although it was better as a flying platform than the 332L, it was far inferior in what the customer wanted which was as many people as possible flown to the rigs on each flight. The 365N2, however, was brilliant as a single pilot interfield shuttle a/c

We all know that it is inevitable that the S92 will takeover UK SAR and will probably do an adequate job but it does have some failings in what a SAR cab should be as it has a limited radar and without the longrange tanks a limited range. It is not a pissing contest as you eloquently put it but just differences in views. The next SAR helicopter is going to have to last a very long time it is a pity it won't be as capable as it should be.

HF
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 22:01
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Hummingfrog

Quote:

'The next SAR helicopter is going to have to last a very long time it is a pity it won't be as capable as it should be.'

As I understand it the contract is for 10 years, hardly a very long time when you look at the lifespan of most modern fleets of aircraft. Also, what do you mean by 'it won't be as capable as it should be'? I'm very interested to hear what your solution might be, either in the form of a commercial replacement, and a hypothetical military option? Affordable/realistic answers only please.
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 06:40
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Crab I donít recall anyone saying a 120 degree RADAR is as safe and capable as a 330 degree. Honestly; why would they??
So then current civ SAR aircraft are not complying with the ALARP concept when conducting IMC overwater operations - oh dear, and the CAA have approved that!

You clearly acknowledge a deficiency in both current and planned capability.

Llamaman - if the S92 was going to be the answer for the whole of UK SAR I might agree that, overall, the proposed solution might be acceptable but primarily due to the increased availability of a modern helicopter (although one S92 flight was offstate for poor weather ops thanks to a rad alt failure the other night).

However, politics and bean counting are more than likely to create a 2 -contractor solution with the S92 going to the bigger bases and the AW189 going to the smaller ones.

Why? partly because the DfT are nervous that a single fleet with a single type is more vulnerable to either industrial action, contractual problems or type-grounding (a la super puma) following an incident or accident.

Secondly, because the S92 is expensive and AW have offered the 189 at a cheaper price with the added political kudos of keeping jobs in Yeovil.

So before we even start, the service is being hamstrung by factors other than capability and the 'no less capable service' ideal is well compromised (not least by the fact the civil servants keep redefining what capability is).

Hypothetical military option - lease S92s with a 360 radar spec - job done! Would it be cost effective? No one knows because the SARF were not allowed to bid in the competition.

Contractor owned and military operated aircraft is hardly a new concept and much of our future AT and AAR fleet will be provided this way and it's even good enough for the boys at Hereford!

That way you retain the all the current mil experience, you don't have to invent a new training system, you will never run out of crews and you won't ever have to worry about industrial action.

I know it is pie in the sky but the certainty of the last civilianisation was absolute, right up until it tripped over its own shoelaces - fortunately mil SAR was still around to carry on or where would we have been now?

Last edited by [email protected]; 5th Dec 2012 at 06:42.
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 10:29
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Crab leasing S92's

Well, we all know the expensive, delayed cluster fcuk that would be, don't we would cost the tax payer much more and you know it....hence the reason it will never happen.

Good try though, will you ever stop trying to 'big yourself up' and 'pooh pooh' the fact that a great service is being provided and will only get better with enhanced capability requirements?

Your smoke and mirrors attempt to scare the un-informed masses is at best laughable and at worst, devisive

But then again that is the game you play.......will you be a civvie team player? Who knows, but you may find a few less than impressed colleagues up there in Sumburghbtw the only place you'll get.
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 11:03
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Well said NRDK!

The only reason I eventually stopped being a lurker on this forum was that I'd had enough of Crab's expoundings of self-protection, thinly disguised as wanting to safeguard a capability.

Plenty of people looking for a nice little slot at Chivenor!
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