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RAF announces Puma Replacement plan

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RAF announces Puma Replacement plan

Old 5th Nov 2023, 10:45
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As idyllic as the buy the US OTS option sounds, the practicalities of politics get in the way. Remember our AH 1Ds had different engines (to keep UK suppliers and voters happy) but with the RTMs came a change in fuselage dynamics when the cannon was fired and Boeing wanted even more money to re-jig the fire computer algorithm so the cannon got more accurate instead of less as rounds were fired.

Then you had the fiasco of the AAC being forced to sign off delivery at Middle Wallop for a number of Apaches that were flown there, had the MFDs removed (because there was a shortage) and then driven back to Yeovil to be installed in the next one. Now, such shenanigans could also be experienced dealing with a UK or EU supplier but you can be pretty certain that the required UK spec for UH60 would be different from US spec and extra costs would be involved in modifying it.

Not sure what the perceived problem with Puma 2 is, most of the Puma 1 s foibles have been removed and although not a specialist in any particular area, manages a reasonable fist of most jobs it is asked to do.
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Old 5th Nov 2023, 15:57
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All legacy airframes were once unproven, unbuilt and untested designs, so not sure your logic really holds up.
Study up on the original UTTAS program and you might think a bit differently.

Ask John Dixson who frequently posts here about his personal experience as a Test Pilot for Sikorsky during that procurement program that resulted in the the UH-60 Black Hawk winning the competition.

The key is how it is "spec'd", "tested", and "certified".

The US Army did it right on the UTTAS Program and learned from that.

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Old 5th Nov 2023, 17:11
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Originally Posted by [email protected]
As idyllic as the buy the US OTS option sounds, the practicalities of politics get in the way. Remember our AH 1Ds had different engines (to keep UK suppliers and voters happy) but with the RTMs came a change in fuselage dynamics when the cannon was fired and Boeing wanted even more money to re-jig the fire computer algorithm so the cannon got more accurate instead of less as rounds were fired.

Then you had the fiasco of the AAC being forced to sign off delivery at Middle Wallop for a number of Apaches that were flown there, had the MFDs removed (because there was a shortage) and then driven back to Yeovil to be installed in the next one. Now, such shenanigans could also be experienced dealing with a UK or EU supplier but you can be pretty certain that the required UK spec for UH60 would be different from US spec and extra costs would be involved in modifying it.

Not sure what the perceived problem with Puma 2 is, most of the Puma 1 s foibles have been removed and although not a specialist in any particular area, manages a reasonable fist of most jobs it is asked to do.
I doubt Leonardo will want to build a Puma under licence from a competitor.
Really the Puma and the Black Hawk will have similar issue if the clowns at the M.O.D are allowed to interfere.
You would have thought we had learned a few very expensive lessons by now.
Political interference is the biggest problem.
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Old 6th Nov 2023, 13:44
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when talking about logical choice, puma's replacement is the super puma.
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Old 6th Nov 2023, 19:35
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Originally Posted by Mee3
when talking about logical choice, puma's replacement is the super puma.
the Dutch agree - 225Ms replacing their Cougars
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Old 6th Nov 2023, 20:29
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The Dutch are going down that route because a % of their military aircraft need to be European. If they’d gone for non European their ratio was compromised.

LZ
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Old 6th Nov 2023, 21:49
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Originally Posted by Hot_LZ
The Dutch are going down that route because a % of their military aircraft need to be European. If they’d gone for non European their ratio was compromised.

LZ
I guess the F35s, F16s, C130s, CH47s and AH64s have skewed that percentage!
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Old 6th Nov 2023, 22:52
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Going the 225M route would fall under the concept of "logic" .....now there is a concept designed built for debate!


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Old 7th Nov 2023, 08:01
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Originally Posted by 212man
I guess the F35s, F16s, C130s, CH47s and AH64s have skewed that percentage!
You can’t argue that those types serve their purpose and pretty well. Speaking to the guys in NL I think they’d also prefer Seahawk/Blackhawk but it just won’t happen for the above. They didn’t want NH90 by all account…

LZ
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Old 7th Nov 2023, 12:11
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Originally Posted by 212man
I guess the F35s, F16s, C130s, CH47s and AH64s have skewed that percentage!
Worked with Dutch Cougars years ago ,they said they wanted Black Hawk but as they had Apache (28) for Gunship and Chinook (20) for heavy lift had to have a European build Machine , went with the Cougar (12) as it was the smallest number of the Helo fleet and there for the smallest cost.
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Old 7th Nov 2023, 12:13
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Originally Posted by SASless
Going the 225M route would fall under the concept of "logic" .....now there is a concept designed built for debate!
Yep and they could have got as many ex offshore 225's as they wanted for a song and had them brought up to the mil spec they want for a fraction of this new contract.
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Old 7th Nov 2023, 12:26
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.....and still have something not fit for task as the Spec was not for a combat aircraft and that small bother of spontaneeously departing rotor heads.
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Old 7th Nov 2023, 12:45
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SAS, as it has been the subject of comment in the FARA thread, the Army may not now have access to the technical expertise then residing in the Army Aviation Systems Command, and specifically the Flight Standards Division under the late Charles Crawford and his very technically astute staff.
I did send a query to the DTIC organization, asking if they had a copy of the UTTAS Material Need Document and the UTTAS Request for Proposal. Received a positive response that they would do a search. If found, I’ll try and make it available so that readers can appreciate the depth of expert study that went into defining UTTAS requirements. It certainly paid off in creating two very good competing aircraft for the fly-off. Even the fly-off was conducted in detail*: one ship from each company went to Edwards AFB for the technical performance and handling qualities assessment and the other two from each company went thru a service test at Ft Rucker and then a multi month field evaluation at Ft Campbell, with 10 Army Pilots flying two from Boeing and another 10 flying two from Sikorsky. ( BTW, those 20 pilots in turn were selected to reflect the Army pilot cadre: some were older/experienced, some were younger/little experience ).
* each aircraft had a complete flight envelope and had completed the defending structural demonstration requirements as specified in AMCP 706-203, and they were issued to the Army evaluation group with a spec compliance Army Operators Manual**. Maintenance during the field testing at Ft Campbell was performed to the required Army Maintenance Manuals. The Army maintenance personnel were trained by the contractor and that included Maintenance Officer and Maintenance Test Pilots for each. Required maintenance activity was tracked as part of the competition.
** It had a few charts that were by request of Army Flight Standards. One was bank angle limits vs airspeed: it featured a 90 degree bank angle limit of 90 degrees between 42 KIAS and 137KIAS, for both Design Gross Weight ( 16,700 at the time, and Alternate Gross Weight ( 19,930 at the time ). The Army pilots were trained via a 10 hour syllabus ( Army request as I recall ). Syllabus had one flight empty, and all others at Deign or Alternate G.W. It included the entire flight envelope and also all of the SAS/AFCS/Stabilator failure modes. We installed the “ Hardover Box “ which we had used in testing all the failure mods during development, and used that in the training syllabus. ( tried to get the Army to buy a few for the Ft. Rucker Flight School use, but they reneged saying they would use the simulator-missed an opportunity there )

Last edited by JohnDixson; 7th Nov 2023 at 14:15. Reason: Add’l thoughts
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Old 7th Nov 2023, 14:34
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Air Staff Target 304

Originally Posted by SASless
Going the 225M route would fall under the concept of "logic" .....now there is a concept designed built for debate!
With regard to the ongoing conflict against the bad guys, does anyone remember the James Follett high tech thriller Dominator, written in the late 80s? Its about PLO given free reign by the Russians to launch air strikes against Israel and the POTUS is refusing or being reticent in helping out Israel with supplying of war material. So in response, a Mossad agent, teams up with scientists, a dodgy South African criminal organisation and kinda cons a UK based satellite company to build a satellite (which is subsituted for an Israeli space based weapons system) onto the shuttle and our hero who is a washed up astronaut.


In the chapter when the shuttle is held hostage and the israelis make their demand for US support, otherwise its launch the weapons, in the uK the SAS team storms the UK satellite facility ...and guess this deplaning from a 'Cougar' helicopter.

Nice bit of fiction,

Back to reality Go back a few years to 1980/81, Air Staff Target 304, then we looked at acquiring the Aerospatiale AS332M Super Puma...(according to RAF Yearbook magazine)



cheers

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Old 7th Nov 2023, 14:39
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I agree, and ask again why the 215/ 225 / 725 isnt an option.
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Old 7th Nov 2023, 17:21
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Originally Posted by CopterDoctor
I agree, and ask again why the 215/ 225 / 725 isnt an option.
Because Airbus didn't offer it - either through choice or because it doesn't meet the requirements.
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Old 8th Nov 2023, 13:12
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Originally Posted by pba_target
Because Airbus didn't offer it - either through choice or because it doesn't meet the requirements.
Or they count them as legacy aircraft and do not want to have to offer support for them for the next 50 Years
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Old 10th Nov 2023, 21:04
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https://www.flightglobal.com/helicop...155777.article
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 11:57
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That's all folks !!
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 21:54
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I cannot speak to the 212 replacement for Brunei, but the 145 is definitely suited to replace the 412 in Cyprus. I double-toured on 84 (Wessex and 412) and I know the role as well as anyone. Neither the Wessex nor the 412 were Safe Single Engine on the vast majority of occasions, so the 145 is no different at all. We just made sure our pilots were initimately familiar with SSE, Flyway and Committed calls and procedures which was admittedly easier with ex RAF SAR guys to be sure - the current RAF pilots out-of-training are a shadow of their predeccessors sadly in terms of judgement and decision making, although that is a result of the MFTS system, not their fault. The 145 is clearly not as large as a Puma, but it is large enough for the role. It has around double the endurance of the Puma and a fraction of the operating costs. All new UK helicopter pilots are now trained on the H135 and it is a simple conversion (I did it in 1 sortie) to qualify on the H145, so similar are the checks and controls (although not identical).
I see this as a very positive move. The Blackhawk is surely the best bet for NMH, but it would be overkill for Cyprus. This means a cheap, reliable platform can fill the 84 Sqn role, and fewer of the far more expensive S70i are required for NMH as Cyprus and Brunei requirements will be removed from the mix, making Blackhawk a more viable option in the UKP 1.2 Billion NMH budget.
For once, a sensible decision from the MoD procurement dudes. This makes NMH more likely to happen.
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