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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 3rd Aug 2020, 14:42
  #1321 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Nige321
Peely
You are wasting your breath.
The luddites on here will never accept anything other than 'it's better to do it my way because that's how it's always been done'...
I say bring back the Walrus.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 16:54
  #1322 (permalink)  
 
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The MCA did a drone trial a few years ago from St Athan. How did that go?
Does anybody have any information on what the trials consisted of and their success?
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 17:42
  #1323 (permalink)  
 
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Elbit Systems did trials out of St Athans in 2018.
https://www.flightglobal.com/civil-u...136554.article

So that is Elbit with their big bird and Schiebel with their smaller rotorcraft that are out in the public domain. There has been other techie stuff going on with sensors and planks.

Some might recall that Elbit showed early interest in the SARH contract last time around. They, and other corporate wannabes, soon disappeared once it was whittled down to real helicopter guys and then the usual suspects.

The currently proposed Lot 3 mixes fixed wing and UAV. I dare say we will see more than 3 lots in the contract notice next year when more of the detail is fleshed out.

As other have already stated, Mark One eyeball is the most successful SAR sensor up to this point and sticking techie stuff on a platform that doesn't require as many expensive aircrew isn't a search for persons in distress but a search for cost saving. Where I believe the greatest advances in search tools are waiting to be found are in the use of sensor systems that advance spectral imaging to the point where specific materials (like nylon-faced lifesaving equipment or mountaineering waterproofs) can be automatically located in real-time. At present, it may be that only military users have the deep pockets necessary to make this a practical solution. It cannot be far away as a commercially available civilian solution. If it is done well then it will be a far greater step forward than UAV.


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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 19:24
  #1324 (permalink)  
 
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Nige321 - or perhaps because there are some realities to searching that have been learned through long experience both on the ground and in the air.

The search is one part of the equation and without the rescue asset nearby becomes pretty pointless if life is at stake.

I'd like to see the drone search in a 200' cloudbase over steep wooded terrain in the dark or in heavy rain at 100' over the sea at night or in blowing snow or 60 kt winds - many SAR boys and girls have done all of these and much more and a model aircraft (no matter how much you polish it and roll it in glitter) just won't cut the mustard.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 21:00
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Originally Posted by Nige321
Peely
You are wasting your breath.
The luddites on here will never accept anything other than 'it's better to do it my way because that's how it's always been done'...
Hahahahahha... OK. I take you have been SAR aircrew and that qualifies you to make such a comment?
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 22:22
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Originally Posted by Evil Twin
Hahahahahha... OK. I take you have been SAR aircrew and that qualifies you to make such a comment?
No.
But I have worked on DSTL UAV projects and have seen the huge leap in capabilities over the last few years.
It's coming, like it or not...
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 22:26
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
Nige321 - or perhaps because there are some realities to searching that have been learned through long experience both on the ground and in the air.

The search is one part of the equation and without the rescue asset nearby becomes pretty pointless if life is at stake.

I'd like to see the drone search in a 200' cloudbase over steep wooded terrain in the dark or in heavy rain at 100' over the sea at night or in blowing snow or 60 kt winds - many SAR boys and girls have done all of these and much more and a model aircraft (no matter how much you polish it and roll it in glitter) just won't cut the mustard.
I'd hardly call the schiebel a 'model aircraft'.
Where has anyone said that's where the schiebel will be used...??
It's not going to replace exisiting SAR, but it will augment it.

What I don't understand is how some here can be so dismissive when they don't know what the course of the trials is going to be, the intended use, nor the outcome...
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 01:28
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Originally Posted by Nige321
I'd hardly call the schiebel a 'model aircraft'.
Where has anyone said that's where the schiebel will be used...??
It's not going to replace exisiting SAR, but it will augment it.
What I don't understand is how some here can be so dismissive when they don't know what the course of the trials is going to be, the intended use, nor the outcome...
The Schiebel has a range of about 100nm (about the same as a Sikorsky R4 ). What are its minima? What are the airspace constraints? (Is it on AVGAS?)

The Ebit has a long range and endurance but cruises at just over half the speed of a Sea King. Just as well it's not an emergency. No wait, it IS an emergency.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 06:59
  #1329 (permalink)  
 
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It's not going to replace exisiting SAR, but it will augment it.
Does it actually need augmenting? This is a new(ish) toy that someone needs to invent a job for to recover R and D costs. If it can only go out on nice days it's really not much use at all.

Perhaps you should go out on a real search Nige321 before coming on here and calling us luddites.

I did the first job with the IR/TV turret on the RAF SAR Sea Kings - it was a search at night and we would not have found the guy (badly injured on a beach after a cliff fall) without the FLIR but we couldn't have saved his life by getting him to hospital quickly without the helicopter.

A drone might have found him but then what? Oh yes, call the helicopter which could have been there in the first place.

Each time you think you find something on a search, you have to investigate it closely to determine if it is who or what you are looking for - is that going to be the drone's capability? It usually requires the human eye and brain combination to work out what your sensors have seen.

Your drone is very likely to identify a number of false positives that need further investigation - then you have to drag another asset away from their search area.

Nice idea Nige but learn a bit about searching first.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 07:12
  #1330 (permalink)  
 
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A little OT but the Surf Life Saving NSW has structured their UAV programme around the task at hand, and it is operating quite successfully

Although I am probably joined by others here in curling my toes when I read the operators termed as 'pilots'

https://www.surflifesaving.com.au/uavs-surf-life-saving

Drones | Surf Life Saving Queensland
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 07:43
  #1331 (permalink)  
 
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Sadly it is clear to me from what i've seen on the UKSAR2G tender it is all about reducing costs and not augmenting capabilities.
Only one aircraft / base for instance is not workable IMHO and these drones would be good to augment SAR in certain cases but not always because the problem with a search part (drone) and a rescue part (heli) is the time lost which we all know is a commodity we don't always have.

As always it looks realy good on a power point presentation especially what the cost factor is concerned .
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 08:52
  #1332 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Nige321
No.
But I have worked on DSTL UAV projects and have seen the huge leap in capabilities over the last few years.
It's coming, like it or not...

Then your frame of reference is skewed. If you have worked on SAR you KNOW what works. Your UAV capabilities may well have made a huge leap at this point however, you still don't know whether it would be as efficient or as capable at finding the missing person. Even if you did, as the point has been made, you will still have to call in a real helicopter and flight crew to get the job finished. I have worked in conjunction with drones and I can see benefits and a great many limitations, still a very long way from replacing a SAR helicopter and crew.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 09:19
  #1333 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Evil Twin
Then your frame of reference is skewed. If you have worked on SAR you KNOW what works. Your UAV capabilities may well have made a huge leap at this point however, you still don't know whether it would be as efficient or as capable at finding the missing person. Even if you did, as the point has been made, you will still have to call in a real helicopter and flight crew to get the job finished. I have worked in conjunction with drones and I can see benefits and a great many limitations, still a very long way from replacing a SAR helicopter and crew.
Errr... Which is the whole point of having the trial...?

I apologise for calling people Luddites.
However there does tend to be a marked reluctance by posters here to accept that there just might be better ways of doing things...
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 13:51
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Originally Posted by finalchecksplease
Sadly it is clear to me from what i've seen on the UKSAR2G tender it is all about reducing costs and not augmenting capabilities.
Not entirely sure about that yet. Do they want value for money? Yes. Are they more interested in capability or cost saving? Look at the 2011-13 process and I think the answer is both: and capability appeared to be fairly high on the agenda.

We have about six months to go before contract notice. The industry and SAR stakeholder engagement processes are ongoing. There was no time for this in 2011-13 but we still got a world-class service out of it. If you have something to contribute then the email is on the GOV.UK site so get stuck in.

If we consider that CAP 999 v2 never appeared until over a year after contract award, NVG regs were still being written as the contract started and then all the 189 stuff, who thinks there will be a regulatory solution for a fully capable and effective remotely piloted SAR by Sept 2024? No, me neither. So the whole UAS thing might just go away for a few years. Enhanced sensors, new winch tech, new PCDS, S-92B, AW189K, perhaps, but fully capable cost-effective UAS, not so likely.

Originally Posted by finalchecksplease
Only one aircraft / base for instance is not workable IMHO ...
Various versions of history are out there for how this happened last time. My understanding is that, in the early stages, more than one bidder was looking at around 14 to 16 aircraft for 2 sets of 5 bases. How much the 22 aircraft was about Super Puma ditchings and how much was about legacy or BHL seems to be a bit muddied????

Last edited by jimf671; 4th Aug 2020 at 14:18.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 14:47
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First drone footage of a person drowning, that head going under for the last time.. or a cliff sticker becoming unstuck will be a PR SH*t storm for the MCA & Govt.

It seems a clever solution looking for a problem. I probably am a bit of a Luddite but for the most part when I use a bit of ground breaking latest tech Im disappointed, it usually breaks. With age i realise there are no short cuts and humans actually do things very well, we have an instinct that only comes with experience and being actually there.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 14:52
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The Australian surf lifesaving stuff is a very different concept to searching it would appear. They will use it to patrol from the air for sharks in a relatively restricted area and use a skyshout facility for swimmers and surfers who can't hear the megaphones from the guys on the beach.

This sounds like a far more realistic and practical use for a drone.

Reluctance to change that which does not need changing is not a bad thing in many areas. Constant change is not progress no matter how much management-speak accompanies it.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 16:48
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We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. … I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”

Anon
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Old 12th Aug 2020, 09:33
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I have always been of the mind that a successful SAR system is not purely about range or speed but the number of assets. Once tasked, a SAR cab can't be 2 places at once, which is where ARCC will prioritise. In terms of the UAVs most posters with a SAR background are dwelling on the negatives rather than looking at the positives. It could be used as a force enabler if tasked alongside a SAR helicopter for those long overwater searches. A greater area could be covered much quicker with more assets and with a SAR cab close at hand anything spotted by UAV could be quickly checked out. One other aspect of searching is to prove that nothing was found in the area searched, especially on those jobs where there is doubt that someone needs rescuing at all (clothes found on beach etc). Again, Coastguard and ARCC could prioritise and rather than send a SAR crew out in the middle of the night they could deploy the UAV. That said, I agree with all the issues over weather and the like. There are many limitations but used in the right way it could work well.
RC
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Old 12th Aug 2020, 10:07
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Roger - the problem is that you have to stop the SAR aircaft searching in order to investigate anything the UAV 'sees' which might prevent the helicopter locating the actual target. For every time this happens, you have lost your 'force enabler/multiplier.

Things like clothes found on a beach normally require detective work by the crew along with the CG and police - a UAV can't land on and ask a member of the public if they have seen anything.

You are not going to improve the quality or effectiveness of searches by using UAVs but you might reduce the cost and tick some 'area searched' boxes which could keep the beancounters happy.

Are the UAVs going to rely solely on AI or will there need to be a human operator staring for hours at the downlinked images as well?
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Old 13th Aug 2020, 13:20
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Crab, history is littered with doomsayers. There may be an element of cost saving involved but it is also another string to the bow. Don't be like those Whirlwind guys who said the Wessex was too big or the Wessex guys who said the Sea King wouldn't get into places they could in the mountains and the downwash was too severe. Give this a chance and you might be surprised. Many years ago I was involved in a search, at night, for a man and his son, missing in their very small fishing boat out of Sunderland. It was pre-FLIR and we, along with the RNLI, conducted the search and found nothing. The next morning a Nimrod was tasked and they found them 40nm off the coast. We were called from our beds and picked them up, safe and well. Different types of assets can work well together, give it a chance. Don't forget, people are still getting rescued despite the demise of military SAR.
RC
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