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AH-64 Apache

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AH-64 Apache

Old 11th Jun 2002, 00:03
  #1 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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AH-64 Apache

I don't know if this will scare the enemy, but by God it scares me. You can spend as much as you like on precision weapons; but if you can't or won't find the right people to the designation and train and equip them properly................

I also find ther concept of only qualifying only half the AH-64 crews strange. Unless they mean 50% of each crew?


The UK armed forces are planning to expand both the number and size of their tactical air control parties (TACPs). According to UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, the future vision is of an enlarged matrix of TACPs dedicated to forward air controlling (FACing), each with a full equipment set (including terrestrial and satellite communications facilities, plus target location/designation systems) and a full complement of personnel, of which at least one is qualified as a primary FAC.

As a complement to the TACPs, it is foreseen that designated secondary FACs, currently trained to the same standard as the primary controllers found within the TACPs, will in future undergo a shortened course (two weeks instead of four) with the object of proliferating the total number of 'eyes' on the battlefield able to understand target location and marking. Among them would be secondary FACs aboard Apache attack helicopters, Warrior OP vehicles and reconnaissance vehicles who, by exploiting digitization, would be able to feed additional target data into the TACP matrix.

The long-sought increase in the personnel establishment of UK TACP from two to four personnel (see IDR 6/1999, pp56-61) has now been officially authorized and the necessary manpower found (in most cases). The British Army's 16 Air Assault Brigade already has its quota of three TACPs, as does the Royal Marine 3 Commando Brigade and the UK-based 3 Division. The Germany-based 1 Armoured Division has none as yet. The next step, still an aspiration, will be to double the number of divisional TACPs to six, bringing the overall number to 18.

It has been decided that 1 Division's TACPs should be carried in Warrior tracked vehicles, as opposed to the smaller and less mobile Spartan carriers or Land Rovers currently available (3 Division will have to persevere with the smaller Spartan). The Warrior OPV (observation post vehicle) variant already has an integral target location facility, and though a [email protected] target designator would not entirely be operable from under armor, there is an existing blanking plate to which the mounting bracket for the FAC's LF28 designator could be secured.

The officer commanding a TACP (OC TACP), normally its primary FAC, desirably has bi-service experience. The majority are ordinarily drawn from the British Army. However, the latter currently has insufficient captains with the right qualifications, while the Royal Air Force (RAF) no longer has pilots to spare to send on ground tours.

At the moment, therefore, the RAF Regiment, the air force's ground defense organization, provides the majority of OC TACPs (albeit paid for by the British Army). 3 Division has two RAF and one Army OC TACP, while 3 Commando Brigade's three OC TACPs are found from the Royal Marines, and all three of 16 Air Assault Brigade's OC TACPs are from the RAF Regiment. The Army has been tasked to find three suitable captains for 1 Division.

The CAS (close air support) applications of the British Army's Longbow Apache AH Mk1 attack helicopter fleet are the subject of a current evaluation, the feasibility and utility of ground FACs calling upon the Apaches for support being assessed, as well as the use of the Apache crews themselves as airborne FACs (ABFACs). The intention is that 50% of Apache crews should be ABFAC capable, their aircraft already being fitted with designators and IDMs (improved data modems), and their crews already being able to operate "in the third dimension" (ie being attuned to air matters). However, it remains to be determined what the optimum split between FAC and Apache crew training should be - "there's a lot they already know, but they still have to understand how to pass information to the other agencies".

The standard issue ground-radio is currently the UK/PRC346 TacGA V/UHF transceiver intended to replace the old AN/PRC-113 HaveQuick and UK/PRC344 sets. Continuing problems encountered with both the TacGA's receive and transmit ranges are understood to have led to the raising of an urgent operational requirement (UOR) for a new multiband radio specifically for FACs.

Desirably this would have the multirole capabilities of a radio such as the Harris AN/PRC-117F (C) or Raytheon PSC-5, including satcoms. However, the worsening capacity problem in the UHF satcoms band that both of these use may compel a move to a higher frequency range. Meanwhile, the authorized link to the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) remains the existing unencrypted, fixed-frequency Clansman HF radio (UK/PRC320, VRC321), which has been supplemented by 'borrowed' satcoms radios such as the PRC-117D model.

(ps. The correct data code for Airborne FAC is FACA - not ABFAC)
ORAC is offline  
Old 11th Jun 2002, 19:36
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I note with interest the comments on the PRC 346.

I use these radios on a daily basis, and with a recieve and transmit range of up to 100nm, they work very well. Yes, line of sight helps, but speaking to a 8-ship formation of hercs (and crystal clear as well), 75nm away is OK for my Unit.

The only problem my Unit has identified with the radio is the lack of an audio warning of a low battery, and yes, they could do with an encryption device along side HQ II. (The American version of the radio has this)

What more do you want from a radio that was part of the Bowman system that sneeked through??

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Old 12th Jun 2002, 20:25
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Ground to Air Radio

Dear Santa,

Please may I have..

1. SATURN upgrade.
2. Secure HF with chirp sounder (fitted to aircraft for long range comms).
3. IDM compatability with all TACPs.
4. BOWMAN to be funded properly for aircraft.
5. Compatability with US SINCGARS.
6. Someone to co-ordinate all the different J6/Comms/Digitization issues that have so much commonality but projects are worked on in isolation.

And a DAB radio for my car please....

And then I wake up with my head in a bowl of cornflakes......more chance of getting a DAB radio than 'my' wish list.

A Grey Man is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2002, 21:11
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What you really want are JTRS radios. The US army initially intends to buy 104,285 vehicular and 2,115 helicopter radios as well as 560 vehicular sets for the USAF TACP vehicles.

The USN is expecting to undertake procurement for their ships, the USAF for aircraft and special forces a hand-held set for dismounted soldiers. The total initial DOD purchase is estimated at 260,000 sets.

JTRS radios are totally software driven and can support any waveform in any band and can simultaneously Tx/Rx on multiple frequencies using the one radio.

inital waveforms supported in Cluster 1 include:

Single Channel Ground/Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS),
Enhanced SINCGARS Improved Product (ESIP),
Ultra High Frequency Demand Assigned Multiple Access (UHF DAMA),
High Frequency Single Sideband with Application Link Enabling (HF SSB with ALE),
Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS),
Very High Frequency AM (VHF AM),
and Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW).


JTRS FY01 Report

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Old 13th Jun 2002, 00:19
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Saturn is coming, but slowly! (for ground ops anyway)

We were meant to trial it last autumn (on SSII), but it has only just reached the unit in a "test stage" now. Unfortunately, it still requires a lot of work done. Perhaps we will have it in a year or so from now.

Never mind, another project years late entering military service won't go un-missed........

As for giving RAF Tac AT aircraft Cougar.....

or TAC SAT....

Wait out........... for a long time I expect.

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Old 13th Jun 2002, 11:21
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ORAC, by my reckoning 50% of each crew is half of the Longbow crew! Why would this percentage worry you? It is a great deal more aircrew than are currently trained ABFAC. Even if two ABFACS were seated in each aircraft it would still be 25% of the force ABFAC trained! Again that is a higher ratio than current units have.
Numbers, numbers!
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Old 14th Jun 2002, 15:13
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why do facs have to be officers? military air traffic controllers are a mix of commisioned and nco so why is it that facs are comissioned? do the crews call up on the radio and ask for the facs rank before commencing an attack? some how i doubt it! i was 24bde and our facs were aac and a sapper, the aac was an x raf loadie. but i have to ask why they have to be comissioned after all the army trusk cpls to fly helicopters why cant they be facs, i think the answer may be tradition, but is it a tradition or a bad habit?
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Old 14th Jun 2002, 20:10
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An AAC ABFAC is in fact an NCO/WO/Officer. As a general rule, few Officers go down this route as they unfortunately get spannered with other"Officer" type jobs and can't spare the time it deserves. The task is mainly an NCO/WO preserve. I may be wrong but certainly, Cpl's have attended the course, the only thing is, I think they are held as limited CR until they achieve Aircraft Commander status and the subsequent promotion to Sgt that goes with that. In real terms that means they can only FAC under supervision.
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Old 14th Jun 2002, 21:01
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As a former AAC ABFAC I can offer some light on the subject.

1. The reason the TACP FAC is a Commisioned Officer is because he commands a team of four or five personnel and will operate in remote area's more often than not. They are also responsible for abvising the Brigade staff on FAC and CAS matters. It sounds better coming from a Rodney! I recall that due to a shortage of Army Officers to fill the posts, the establishment were looking at allowing AAC WO's do the job, if they had previously done the job of an ABFAC.

2. Any AAC pilot who attends the FAC course will be CR'd when he achieves the requesite number of strikes ( hits preferably!) regardless of being an aircraft commander or not. He will however have to fly with a qualified aircraft commander to satisfy the crew composition. I was that man on many occasions. With hindsight it was alot of resposibility for a Cpl!

3. With reference to Longbow drivers becoming ABFAC's I can't see any problem with that, but I also reckon that the Longbow will be called upon to provide CAS rather than call for it!
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Old 16th Jun 2002, 19:43
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Couple of thoughts here..

The AAC have stated that Apache pilots will be trained to fly the aircraft from both seats, but only the front seater will be trained as a Tac Commander. ABFAC 50%?...mmmmmm.. if this only the front seater, this chap is going to be very busy. I would have thought ALL apache crew to be trained as ABFACs, to maximise CRM and the platform.

What is more interesting is the training time for these poor geezers, it just keeps adding up; 6-7 months CTT (if they are lucky- night, weather, servicable airframes, etc etc), probablytalking 9 months, extra time for Instructor pilots, 4 weeks Tac training, simulator training 1 week, about 1 year on operational work up, EW,QHTI, Air Weapons courses for some, E&E, RtoI for all and now 4 weeks for 1 in 2 at JFACSU!!! Bloody hell, just get them qualified and their tours will up!

Almost as long as our F3 OCU...no end in sight!
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Old 29th Jun 2002, 08:25
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Lightbulb Apache FAC

The doctrinally pure amung us (are there any?) will be aware that CAS is dead, long live CIFS (Close In Fire Support).
I am sure that the rear seater has enough to do flying the aircraft on the NVS in and around trees/wires while slaving the gun to provide local protection from small arms/manpads. Your having a laugh if you thing he is also going to call in Fast Air. In addition, the front seater is the chap with control of the sight (TADS) and he is only one who can operate the [email protected] I expect the 50% figure will be more than enough if achieved.
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Old 30th Jun 2002, 09:10
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Agree with Bob; far fewer than 50% of battlefield heli crews are qualified FACs at present; what makes anyone think this will change with Apache? Trying to secure a space on the course is a major task, then there are the problems with maintaining currency; unless we are going to regularly send crews to the States we will never be able to achieve this with the assets available in UK. Certain JRRF land formations have cried out for additional TACPs / FACs for years but can't have any more for just this reason. Only when ops are imminent are FOOs/Recce callsigns and the like trained up as emergency FACs.
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Old 30th Jun 2002, 14:42
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army and helicopters

just read an article in the sunday post about army horses. did you know the army has 560 horses? and how many helicopters? what century are we in?
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Old 30th Jun 2002, 20:46
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Horse = 000's I guess (not being a horsy type) at most, and many to the Army are probably free - from sanctuarys etc (saw a recent bit of Army PR).

Helicopter = 000,000's

therefore 1 helicopter = cost of all Army horses and some.

PR value to UK of horses - Trooping of the Colour etc. is immense.

Getting rid of horses in the Army would be a big mistake for the Army and Great Britain.

Right enough defending the Army - The RAF are great the Army aren't!

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Old 31st Oct 2002, 06:54
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Arrow AH-64 Apache

Not news to the guys who've flown them to Shawbury I suspect, but check here for BBC News on the matter.

If they're in storage, can I borrow one to play with for a bit ?
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Old 31st Oct 2002, 07:10
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'Bodged PFI deal' they say?

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Old 31st Oct 2002, 08:31
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2007 when the airframe is 32 yrs old.

We may get it before commanche is replaced.
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Old 31st Oct 2002, 08:40
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Check out this piece from the BBC dated 23 May 2002:


I don't suppose much has changed?
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Old 31st Oct 2002, 08:47
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Arrow Army mothballs Apache

from the BBC

Dozens of the Army's new 3bn Apache attack helicopters will be kept in storage for four years due to a shortage of trained pilots, the government's spending watchdog has said. Eleven of the 25 helicopters so far delivered - out of an order for 67 - have been mothballed in a move described as "wasteful" by the National Audit Office.
The NAO's report warned that although the Apaches were being delivered on time, a private finance initiative (PFI) deal to train aircrew was three years late.
Shadow defence secretary Bernard Jenkin blamed the government for the delays. "The delays in this programme mean that we have more than an entire squadron of attack helicopters sitting in sheds. They should be flying by now," he said.

The delay means dozens of aircraft will have to be stored away in hangars while the completion date for the initial training programme for 144 pilots is put back from April 2004 to February 2007.
The NAO warned the delay in training also put in jeopardy the delivery of 16 more Apache helicopters, scheduled for February 2005. That would reduce the Army's capability, it added. Contractual problems over the supply of spares could mean the Apaches kept in storage may have to be used for parts.

The initial order for 67 Apaches, placed with Westland Helicopters in 1995, was said to offer the greatest advance in Army effectiveness since the tank. A separate PFI agreement was reached with ATIL - a company jointly-owned by Westland and the Apache's US manufacturer Boeing - to cover the training. But delivery of the hi-tech flight simulator was delayed by 17 months, pushing the start date for pilot training from 2001 to September 2003.
The length of the training courses has been extended from 15 weeks to 26, because of the 45m helicopter's complexity and the UK's poor weather conditions for flying.
As a result, the NAO said a "large number" of Apaches - some estimates say more than half - will have to be stored away in hangars at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire at a cost of 6m. Out of the 25 helicopters delivered so far, 11 have been mothballed.
The head of the NAO, Comptroller and Auditor General Sir John Bourn, criticised the decision to split the training programme from the main contract. He said: "It is disappointing that because of problems with the training programme the helicopters are not expected to provide a brigade-level capability until February 2007."
The MoD said it had noted the NAO's concerns and steps were being taken to try to reduce the duration of the pilot training courses without compromising the quality.
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Old 31st Oct 2002, 09:07
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Corrupt ...

45m each - on telly this morning.

The military utility of 150 R44's is obviously greater than one Apache.

Any how sounds like it's riddled with politics!
Q max is offline  

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