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RAF announces Puma Replacement plan

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RAF announces Puma Replacement plan

Old 12th Sep 2023, 16:20
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I am not disagreeing with you either (I think we are in violent agreement)

My point being the headline cost (per airframe) is equitable with what AH and AW are quoting, and then there is a through life cost. Aside from the BH being an established workhorse and known performer, I personally would not pin my supply chain on Macron not having a tantrum over fishing/electricity/not getting Anne Widdecombes phone number and slowing supply side, or some EU future fudge on border controls. Yes, AH and AW say they will produce it all in the UK, as do LM, and I don't believe any of them. However, I do believe in something arriving from the US in a time of crisis, rather than Europe.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 17:36
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Originally Posted by minigundiplomat
I am not disagreeing with you either (I think we are in violent agreement)

My point being the headline cost (per airframe) is equitable with what AH and AW are quoting, and then there is a through life cost. Aside from the BH being an established workhorse and known performer, I personally would not pin my supply chain on Macron not having a tantrum over fishing/electricity/not getting Anne Widdecombes phone number and slowing supply side, or some EU future fudge on border controls. Yes, AH and AW say they will produce it all in the UK, as do LM, and I don't believe any of them. However, I do believe in something arriving from the US in a time of crisis, rather than Europe.
I love AH products - best helicopters i have ever flown. But the service and support is appalling to the point of downright negligent.

Even if Macron is our best buddy and we pay Anne Widecombe to jump out of his birthday cake in a white dress and blonde wig to sing Appy Birthday Monsieur President (Got that image in your head now haven't you! ;-) AH are still utterly cr@p in terms of support and servicing. I suppose the one thing to be said is that if Vlad does start moving West then they'll all run over here again and we might actually be able to get some work out of them!

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Old 12th Sep 2023, 18:51
  #443 (permalink)  
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Very interesting to see Standard Aero and assumedly their expansive Fleetlands facility as the assembly location. Standard Aero is owned by The Carlyle Group - if you're not familiar wth who they are, you might need to do some Googling! I did have to laugh at the final sentence.

https://www.defensenews.com/industry...r-pitch-to-uk/

Lockheed touts local links in Black Hawk-based helicopter pitch to UK

By Sebastian Sprenger and Andrew Chuter
Sep 12, 11:27 AMLONDON — Lockheed Martin’s U.K. subsidiary unveiled a local industry team, capped by aircraft assembly lead StandardAero, to support its Black Hawk-based bid for the British military’sNew Medium Helicopterprogram.The roster of local companies is meant to put a British face on a U.S. military product, with the head of Lockheed Martin UK, Paul Livingston, saying the aim is to have 40% of the prospective program realized in Britain.
The offer responds to a requirement for a new helicopter type, envisaged by the U.K. government to cost more than £800 million (U.S. $1 billion), that will replace four variants that have been in service for decades.

Lockheed is the last of three contenders to announce its industrial lineup for the much-delayed New Medium Helicopter program. Alongside rival bidders Airbus and Leonardo, the U.S.-based company is still awaiting the release of an invitation to negotiate for up to 44 helicopters.

In the meantime, the three contenders have wasted no time dissing their rivals’ industrial offers while talking up the U.K. credentials of their own, with local jobs and an enduring domestic helicopter-making capability becoming key discriminators in their efforts to woo the Defence Ministry.

Italian company Leonardo, which has made helicopters in the U.K. for decades, recently launched a campaign supporting its AW149 bid by labelling its Yeovil factory where the rotorcraft would be built as the “Home of British Helicopter.” And French firm Airbus is proposing to assemble its H175M at its commercial jet wing factory in North Wales.

With a general election expected next year, who wins the industrial argument might go a long way toward deciding who secures the order.

According to Livingston, a win for Lockheed would translate into 600 new, high-skilled jobs in Britain, plus assured work for decades after the delivery of all helicopters. He pointed to the case of the Lockheed-made F-35 jet, parts of which are made in the U.K., as an example of how a U.S.-developed product would help boost the local economy in participating nations.

Livingston took several jabs at the “fragile” competitors’ offerings during a news conference at the DSEI defense show in London, saying the Black Hawk proposal was the only option developed purely for the military.

“Some are designed to survive a bump on an oil rig; ours was designed to survive getting shot at,” he said.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 21:07
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As big a fan as I am of the platform, the Lockheed spokesman’s comment about the toughness of the H-60 seems pretty lame when you compare how the original Sikorsky team went after the UTAAS (and subsequent) contracts.

The best they can do is take cheap shots at the other companies, instead of being all in demonstrating why the product they are offering, (the product that *right now* can fill this role, unlike the other products on offer) should be chosen.

Of course, if the money isn’t there right now, none of that matters and maybe Lockheed sees that?

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Old 13th Sep 2023, 05:06
  #445 (permalink)  
 
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“Some are designed to survive a bump on an oil rig; ours was designed to survive getting shot at,”
​​​​​​​Never were truer words spoken.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 08:47
  #446 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Nescafe
​​​​​​​Never were truer words spoken.
I seem to remember that one of the deciding factors for UTTAS was the loss of a demonstrator Blackhawk.
Not an ideal way to demonstrate your aircraft but it proved it's ability to protect it's crew in a crash turning what might have been a fatal accident into a surviveable event.
Having spent the last 10 years working on Leonardo products I know what I would choose.
Blackhawk, proven, reliable, tough.
What we will get is a politically driven decision.
So I expect another NH90 type debacle.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 09:23
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Originally Posted by ericferret
I seem to remember that one of the deciding factors for UTTAS was the loss of a demonstrator Blackhawk.
Not an ideal way to demonstrate your aircraft but it proved it's ability to protect it's crew in a crash turning what might have been a fatal accident into a surviveable event.
Having spent the last 10 years working on Leonardo products I know what I would choose.
Blackhawk, proven, reliable, tough.
What we will get is a politically driven decision.
So I expect another NH90 type debacle.
I think John Dixon has posted the photos previously
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 11:43
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I don't know the source of this quote, but it's clearly a long way off the mark!

Not at all. You can purchase an airworthy restricted category UH-60A for less than $3m.

- any military BH procurement will include additional through life costs that will escalate the apparent unit costs.

ALL, commercial or military helicopter procurements have through life costs.

The rule of thumb is that the platform acquisition cost is about a third of the 'Total Life Cost (TLC).

TLC’s would include the initial purchase price, then costs associated with scheduled and corrective maintenance, repairs, refurbishment, overhauls, etc, account for the additional two thirds of costings incurred for the remainder of the helicopter’s ‘In-Service’ life.
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 12:38
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This was in the defence review 2020 thread in the military aned was published in The Times.

Ben Wallace was accused of sparking a diplomatic incident with the US government after threatening to cancel an order of American-made military helicopters intended for use by Britain’s special forces.

The former defence secretary issued the warning directly to his counterpart in the Pentagon last month before an agreed position had been reached among ministers back in London.

The row, which embroiled the British and American ambassadors, forced Downing Street to intervene in an attempt to defuse tensions.

Wallace, who formally stepped down as defence secretary on Thursday, had hoped to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as the secretary-general of Nato.

In June, Wallace acknowledged that his campaign to take over the military alliance had failed, after President Biden refused to back his candidacy.

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, has extended his term by a year. Allied leaders are said to be looking for a former head of state to replace him.

Last month, Wallace publicly voiced his frustration over the lack of support from the White House, telling The Sunday Times: “Why do you not support your closest ally when they put forward a candidate? I think it’s a fair question.”

It can now be disclosed that Wallace, 53, spent his final weeks in office pushing to cancel the deal, worth billions, to buy military helicopters for UK special forces.

The contract involves the purchase of 14 Chinook H-47 extended-range helicopters made by Boeing, which is based in Arlington, Virginia. The first of the new aircraft had been expected to be delivered by 2026.


America said that the helicopters would improve the UK’s capabilities and its ability to contribute to joint operations with the US and other Nato partners.

However, UK sources said that in recent weeks Wallace began to express serious misgivings about the deal. During internal discussions, he proposed cancelling it as part of a cost-cutting exercise to relieve pressure on the MoD’s tight budgets.

Sources close to Wallace said he had tried to cancel the project during the last spending review, but had been assured that delaying it would produce savings of close to £200 million. The costs have since ballooned, rising by approximately £500 million to about £2.3 billion.

Wallace has argued that he could buy two Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft for £500 million. The UK’s 60-strong Chinook fleet costs approximately £14,000 an hour to run, a source said.

There is also a debate about whether the UK needs the capability. A source close to Wallace said Britain already had the biggest heavy lift fleet in Europe, and that the money could be better spent investing in medium-lift support helicopters, which are cheaper to run.


There are also concerns that the UK lacks the communications, satellite technology and transport to carry out special forces operations with the Chinooks. “Spending £2.3 billion on this will mean we will have less to spend on medium-lift helicopters that will be British-assembled and made,” the source added.

Others in government disagreed, with one describing the proposal as “mad”. A second added: “It seemed like he was trying to piss off the Americans. That is certainly how some have read it.”

Another said the move led to progress on the deal grinding to a halt. “Everybody realised this was mad and we’ve been sitting on it over the summer. It has certainly caused a flare-up. These things are done on a very long programme of activity, so disrupting all that is not cool.”

A source close to Wallace categorically denied that the issue was in any way related to the Nato job, branding any suggested link “pathetic” and pointing out that he had raised the prospect of cancelling the deal two years ago. They added that Wallace’s concerns were based entirely around cost, capability and the actual value of the deal to the UK.

With the US becoming increasingly alarmed, Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to the UK, wrote to No 10 on August 1 to seek clarity on the future of the deal. Downing Street is understood to have tried to provide assurances to Hartley.

Separately, Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the US, is understood to have received representations from Washington. In a letter sent back to London, she is understood to have warned No 10 it was a “bad idea” to cancel the deal. “She was very unhappy,” a source familiar with her letter said.

A source said British officials had also tried to reassure their counterparts that the issue would be resolved when Wallace left government. “There has been a lot of reconciliation, just to keep the US reassured.” He was replaced as defence secretary last week by Grant Shapps.

In a letter on August 10 to Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of state for defence, Wallace is said to have made clear that he was considering cancelling the deal.

A source said Wallace’s letter was sent despite there being no agreed position in government. “Meanwhile Wallace is writing to his counterpart in the US saying this might happen, when it’s still being considered privately within the government. It’s quite destructive behaviour.”

It is unclear whether Downing Street was aware or authorised the letter. No 10 declined to comment when approached, as did spokesmen for Hartley and Pierce.

With Shapps taking over from Wallace, sources said the issue remained a “live discussion” in government and would be one of the top items in the new defence secretary’s in-tray. Sunak is understood to be of the view that Shapps should press ahead with the deal.

The Ministry of Defence said last night: “There has been no change to the UK’s future heavy-lift helicopter portfolio. We keep all capability requirements under review to ensure we have a balanced and affordable portfolio which best meets our needs. The US is one of the UK’s closest allies and our defence and intelligence partnership is, and will always be, one of the strongest in the world.”
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 13:58
  #450 (permalink)  
 
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60 FM wrote:
As big a fan as I am of the platform, the Lockheed spokesman’s comment about the toughness of the H-60 seems pretty lame when you compare how the original Sikorsky team went after the UTAAS (and subsequent) contracts.

The best they can do is take cheap shots at the other companies, instead of being all in demonstrating why the product they are offering, (the product that *right now* can fill this role, unlike the other products on offer) should be chosen.

What the original Sikorsky team did was design and flight test a vehicle that met all the performance, crashworthiness, and ballistic vulnerability/survivability standards that were specified in detail by the US Army. We then “went after it” by incorporating fixes for development testing problems into the test aircraft* before the fly-off, and winning fly-off competition against the Boeing UTTAS design, and by the way, demonstrating a hover lift performance advantage of roughly 2000 lbs over the Boeing ship along the way on two separate instances.
*it was learned later that Boeing chose to propose solutions to their development problems in their production proposal, which of course they were free to do.
* A key difference therefore was that the Army had one competitor with a product that met specs and was production ready and another with a good deal of retesting ahead of them ( larger main and tail rotor, e.g. ).
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Old 13th Sep 2023, 15:44
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Originally Posted by Hilife
I don't know the source of this quote, but it's clearly a long way off the mark!

Not at all. You can purchase an airworthy restricted category UH-60A for less than $3m.

- any military BH procurement will include additional through life costs that will escalate the apparent unit costs.

ALL, commercial or military helicopter procurements have through life costs.

The rule of thumb is that the platform acquisition cost is about a third of the 'Total Life Cost (TLC).

TLC’s would include the initial purchase price, then costs associated with scheduled and corrective maintenance, repairs, refurbishment, overhauls, etc, account for the additional two thirds of costings incurred for the remainder of the helicopter’s ‘In-Service’ life.
They stopped making UH-60As 34 years ago, so I'm not sure why that is even a conversation - clearly this programme will be buying new-build aircraft.

Of course civilian aircraft have TLCs, but they are not quoted when discussing purchase costs in the same way as a military procurement programme. They are more like cars - you just quote the sticker price, which is paid from CAPEX, and then budget the spares and maintenance costs (usually via a form of PBH) to be paid out of OPEX.
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Old 14th Sep 2023, 12:51
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Originally Posted by OvertHawk
l(Got that image in your head now haven't you! ;-)
Not sure how much rye whiskey it will take to get that image out of my brain.
Originally Posted by Hilife
I don't know the source of this quote, but it's clearly a long way off the mark! Not at all. You can purchase an airworthy restricted category UH-60A for less than $3m.
But can you afford to support it? The Army's A models were worked pretty hard over the years. Last I heard (and yes, this is second and third hand info) was that maybe a dozen or so A's were left, after the A to L conversion in the 00's kept the best ones in the inventory.
Originally Posted by 212man
They stopped making UH-60As 34 years ago, so I'm not sure why that is even a conversation - clearly this programme will be buying new-build aircraft.
Indeed.
The M is a good upgrade on the L.
Whether or not to hold out for the new GE engine (CT 901), go with the recently fielded YT706 (some of the Army's MH Blackhawks use that more powerful engine) or stick with the venerable and reliable T-700 is the kind of program decision that probably needs a thorough look.

For John D: thanks again, as ever, for clarifying the record on UTTAS.
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Old 14th Sep 2023, 14:17
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A key differential between the potential bidders is the military experience each have with the platform they are bidding with.
  • Airbus - have delivered 52 H175s total - all in the civil market, and converted a civil demonstrator H175 to a mostly-military spec and painted "H175M" on the outside. The nearest they have to "military" are the 7 SAR examples in Hong Kong and a handful of VVIP role aircraft (which is not an NMH requirement)
  • Leonardo - have delivered 120 AW149/AW189s, of which 31 are the military AW149
  • Sikorsky - have delivered 5000+ UH-60s of many different variants. Practically every single one was delivered for military use (a few in recent years were produced solely for firefighting under the "FireHawk" nomenclature)
The NMH program for 44 helicopters replace Bell 212, Bell 412 Griffin, AS365N3 Dauphin and the venerable Puma - and these four types covered a wide range of roles, including troop transport, SAR, jungle ops, Special Forces Ops and many more no doubt. Given the experience built up by the Black Hawk, that means that Sikorsky effectively have off-the-shelf tried-and-tested variants of their platform ready to go. Airbus and Leonardo are thus a distance behind and most of the required roles will need design and testing time - I suspect some of the design work is being done now while we all wait for MoD to decide if/when they are going to issue the paperwork.

Interesting side note - the Airbus "H175M NMH demonstrator" is currently on a ferry flight back to Marignane after spending 10 days in Saudi Arabia

[Numbers from Parapex Media]
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Old 14th Sep 2023, 20:24
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DSEI

I have been here since tuesday....and I did attend the L-M Sikorsky brief on that dya, with L-M UK MD chatting and welcoming the Standard Aero to the club







Leonardo brought their AW189 , trucked it in...


and I think its the same one they had 2016 Farnborough where they announced extra weight.

If anyone is wondering where the Airbus Helicopters H175M demonstrator it is in Saudi Arabia right now..

cheers

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Old 14th Sep 2023, 20:39
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Interesting artists rendering, seems to use conformal fuel tanks on the ESSS fairings. Or it’s a cruddy picture they threw together. Also depicts no infrared suppression on the exhaust, great for maintenance and less drag, but probably not realistic for a combat aircraft.

Also seems to indicate the cabin seating will contain the old crew chief/gunner seats, which are terrible, instead of the rotating gunners seat, which is also made by Martin Baker.

Oh well, in the words of Monty Python: “It’s only a model…”

👍 on the 701D engines though!

FltMech
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Old 15th Sep 2023, 02:52
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Nutty,

Might want to proof read what you post when you quote someone.

In a letter on August 10 to Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of state for defence, Wallace is said to have made clear that he was considering cancelling the deal.
Lloyd Austin is the US Secretary of Defense (SecDef) which is a Department of Defense (DOD) office.

US Secretary of State (SecState) is a separate position not held by Austin that is an office in the Department of State which is a completely different department from DOD within the Executive Branch of the Government.

Each are a member of the President's Cabinet.

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Old 15th Sep 2023, 19:35
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When the US Army issued their Request or Proposal in 1972, it was the result of at least 4 years of serious study. That request was based on a very detailed Material Need Document, which in turn was in part based on recent work providing standards for crashworthiness and ballistic survivability/vulnerability, studies of the UH-1 statistics from Vietnam ( which were being studied before that war came to a close ) etc etc. That document was in fact pretty much a detailed specification, including very specific performance and handling requirements ( the famous UTTAS Maneuver as only one example ).
Is there a similar spec-type document published for the Puma replacement?

Last edited by JohnDixson; 15th Sep 2023 at 19:38. Reason: Additional thought
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Old 15th Sep 2023, 19:49
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Originally Posted by JohnDixson
When the US Army issued their Request or Proposal in 1972, it was the result of at least 4 years of serious study. That request was based on a very detailed Material Need Document, which in turn was in part based on recent work providing standards for crashworthiness and ballistic survivability/vulnerability, studies of the UH-1 statistics from Vietnam ( which were being studied before that war came to a close ) etc etc. That document was in fact pretty much a detailed specification, including very specific performance and handling requirements ( the famous UTTAS Maneuver as only one example ).
Is there a similar spec-type document published for the Puma replacement?
I very much doubt it. The original US Army procurement was founded on wholly different assumptions . The US was prepared to pay ( and wait) for a design, build and support activity. The UK professes to want an OTS buy. Now, or next year, or maybe the year after that.

Just as War is the conduct of diplomacy by other means, military procurement in peacetime is an extension of domestic policy. Politics rules all.

N
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Old 15th Sep 2023, 21:27
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Understand-thanks.

John
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Old 16th Sep 2023, 07:00
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The UK professes to want an OTS buy. Now, or next year, or maybe the year after that.
Yes, they have been saying that for 40 years or more - started out as a Puma/Wessex replacement.......
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