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Irish Air Corps to replace heli fleet by 2028

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Irish Air Corps to replace heli fleet by 2028

Old 4th Dec 2023, 11:52
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Irish Air Corps to replace heli fleet by 2028

Per the link below, one of the accepted recommendations from the Commission on the Defence Forces Final Report is to replace the existing fleet of 6 x AW139s with 8 x Super mediums by 2028.


https://assets.gov.ie/277340/9e0bf01...e3f1d5371b.pdf
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 13:57
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Bit confused by both the expansion of the existing RW capacity acquisition phase 9/2024 to 12/2024 and acreplacement with super-medium acquisition phase from 3/2025 to mid 2026. Does this mean the future force will be larger than 8. Or is ATCA (MACA in UK terms) a euphemism for the aircraft used to support the Garda Síochána?

Also see that the' Development of a primary radar capability to ensure a complete Recognised Air Picture can be maintained' has been accepted in principle for completion by 2028
.
The AD jet combat aircraft appear to have been kicked in to the long grass, 'Revert to Government' - no real suprise there.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 15:18
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Yeah.. Yeah and the RAF will be replacing Puma too... Let's hope there is more credibility to Eire's planned update than the fairy tale that the UK puts out.
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 15:19
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At a guess, I’d say it’s initially adding the extra two 139s that would account for EAS, the civil/mil HEMS in Athlone that wasn’t on the horizon when that tender was specced. That would also fit with ATCA - Aid To the Civil Authority, which covers the likes of disaster relief, air ambulance HEMS etc.

ATCP - Aid To the Civil Power covers civil security related tasks, which would include the pilots supplied to GASU , although the Gardai own those aircraft, so they wouldn’t be included in the air corps’ own count.

As to the jets, we can but hope. There’s a case before the courts that the current arrangement may be unconstitutional and I’d say the govt are waiting to see it play out.



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Old 4th Dec 2023, 16:00
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As a helicopter pilot (OK, was) I admit my bias in applauding this good news.

As to radars: about 30 years ago on our SH-60B Seahawks, our APS-124 radar, which was designed for surface search at sea, had a modest air-to-air capability if your radar operator was pretty good - but it wasn't automated in that mode.
Radars have gotten quite a bit better in the intervening years. I expect that rotary wing-based Air-to-Air radar capability is well within reach if they can find the money to buy the kit.

Best of luck to all involved in this going forward!
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 17:27
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
As a helicopter pilot (OK, was) I admit my bias in applauding this good news.

As to radars: about 30 years ago on our SH-60B Seahawks, our APS-124 radar, which was designed for surface search at sea, had a modest air-to-air capability if your radar operator was pretty good - but it wasn't automated in that mode.
Radars have gotten quite a bit better in the intervening years. I expect that rotary wing-based Air-to-Air radar capability is well within reach if they can find the money to buy the kit.

Best of luck to all involved in this going forward!
My dear chap, if it was the RAF, they would be about now rummaging through stores to see if they still held stocks of the radar last used on the Shackleton or Gannet... which of course was an ex US Navy Radar used on the Grumman Avenger in the closing years of the War, that's WW2 in case you are wondering
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 18:27
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Originally Posted by NutLoose
My dear chap, if it was the RAF, they would be about now rummaging through stores to see if they still held stocks of the radar last used on the Shackleton or Gannet... which of course was an ex US Navy Radar used on the Grumman Avenger in the closing years of the War, that's WW2 in case you are wondering
It wouldn't surprise me that if there were still stocks, there would be a service contract to keep them going...
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 14:41
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I think there has been a misunderstanding - the radar project is to set up an effective network of ground-based radars for air and sea surveillance. Rather than relying on ATC radars and the UK,
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 23:37
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Originally Posted by SLXOwft
I think there has been a misunderstanding - the radar project is to set up an effective network of ground-based radars for air and sea surveillance. Rather than relying on ATC radars and the UK,
Thanks for the course correction, but I will (due to my experiences) offer a nod toward an airborne radar as a good complement to that capability ...
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 16:24
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
Thanks for the course correction, but I will (due to my experiences) offer a nod toward an airborne radar as a good complement to that capability ...
Whatever ends up working with the Naval Services planned MRV could be one to watch in that regard, certainly a heli that could contribute to the surface picture would be an advantage. The Merlin and Seahawk are obviously out there in that role, but you also have the AW149/189 being used by the Egyptian navy as well.
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 18:40
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New helicopters are welcome as they have multiple roles, many of which are not combat related. I see mention above of jets for Ireland,
but in order to threaten Ireland, an adversary either has to get through Europe or the UK (or both) and possible the rest of NATO. If they have managed to do that, is there much point in Ireland having a few jets? This was effectively NZ's rationale for not replacing the A4 - a foe would probably have had to get past Australia, and if they had done that, then NZ would have no chance, so they took the pragmatic view and did not get a few newer jets. At least that was how a Kiwi explained it to me.
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 20:18
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"... I have always depended on the kindness of strangers"
~Blanche DuBois~ | A Streetcar Named Desire | (Tennessee Williams)

That's a nice line for a play, perhaps not well suited as a national security policy.
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 20:29
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Originally Posted by Lucifer Morningstar
New helicopters are welcome as they have multiple roles, many of which are not combat related. I see mention above of jets for Ireland,
but in order to threaten Ireland, an adversary either has to get through Europe or the UK (or both) and possible the rest of NATO. If they have managed to do that, is there much point in Ireland having a few jets? This was effectively NZ's rationale for not replacing the A4 - a foe would probably have had to get past Australia, and if they had done that, then NZ would have no chance, so they took the pragmatic view and did not get a few newer jets. At least that was how a Kiwi explained it to me.
1) There’s no problem that can’t be solved by adding more helicopters.
2) There’s a court case coming up that may end up finding the existing reliance on the U.K. unconstitutional. Certainly, it leaves even our version of neutrality* a bit lacking in credibility when you have a 70 odd year old defence agreement with the neighbours. There may not be a choice except to provide a service domestically.

* terms and conditions apply
3) So, about those helicopters.

Last edited by Declan275; 7th Dec 2023 at 20:48.
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 20:47
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oooh, the Egyptian Navy, heck of a recommendation there, must buy some before they all sell out ;-)
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 20:49
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aw139 - Super Medium??
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 20:57
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Originally Posted by Declan275
1) There’s no problem that can’t be solved by adding more helicopters.
2) There’s a court case coming up that may end up finding the existing reliance on the U.K. unconstitutional. Certainly, it leaves even our version of neutrality* a bit lacking in credibility when you have a 70 odd year old defence agreement with the neighbours. There may not be a choice except to provide a service domestically.
3) So, about those helicopters.
Well, the UK are apparently about to issue the ITN to the 3 down-selected OEMs for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program any day now (MoD have been saying this for a while though). The shortlisted aircraft for those who don't know are LH AW149, Airbus H175M and S70I Blackhawk. All would be assembled in the UK and represent significant UK workshare, although some more than others. As a replacement for the Puma and Dauphin (the Cyprus B412 and Belize B212 are being replaced by a new buy of 6 x H145's), the operators are clear that only the Blackhawk should even be considered - it is a proven military aircraft that meets all requirements and has an enormous spares supply. The LH and Airbus options are fragile, plastic Oil and Gas platforms being painted grey/black and touted as military aircraft when in reality they are nothing of the sort.

I suggest Ireland decide quickly to go for Blackhawk, team with the UK, and present this as a bigger potential opportunity to LM - after all there is strength in numbers. If the UK and Ireland partner on an order for S70I, there is almost cetainly a better deal to be done, and they would have the force multiplying advantage of using the same aircraft as their allies.

That said, the UK Government views the armed forces with utter distain, and I await the inevitable announcement of more work for Yeovil and serviceman being condemned to death by going into combat in a completely unsuitable aircraft, by spineless, snivelling politicians who could not care less about the people who really serve the UK.

The people who choose the NMH aircraft should be told that their children will be going to war in it. Cue Blackhawks at Benson. And for Ireland, it is a swiss army knife of an aircraft - it does everything but pour the Guinness...and I bet LM can offer that as an option.

Last edited by Lucifer Morningstar; 8th Dec 2023 at 09:16.
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Old 8th Dec 2023, 08:40
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
"... I have always depended on the kindness of strangers"
~Blanche DuBois~ | A Streetcar Named Desire | (Tennessee Williams)

That's a nice line for a play, perhaps not well suited as a national security policy.
Maybe they take the view that they don't need one
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Old 8th Dec 2023, 09:16
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Originally Posted by Lucifer Morningstar
Well, the UK are apparently about to issue the ITN to the 3 down-selected OEMs for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program any day now (MoD have been saying this for a while though). The shortlisted aircraft for those who don't know are LH AW149, Airbus H175M and S70I Blackhawk. All would be assembled in the UK and represent significant UK workshare, although some more than others. As a replacement for the Puma and A109 (the Cyprus B412 and Belize B212 are being replaced by a new buy of 6 x H145's), the operators are clear that only the Blackhawk should even be considered - it is a proven military aircraft that meets all requirements and has an enormous spares supply. The LH and Airbus options are fragile, plastic Oil and Gas platforms being painted grey/black and touted as military aircraft when in reality they are nothing of the sort.

I suggest Ireland decide quickly to go for Blackhawk, team with the UK, and present this as a bigger potential opportunity to LM - after all there is strength in numbers. If the UK and Ireland partner on an order for S70I, there is almost cetainly a better deal to be done, and they would have the force multiplying advantage of using the same aircraft as their allies.

That said, the UK Government views the armed forces with utter distain, and I await the inevitable announcement of more work for Yeovil and serviceman being condemned to death by going into combat in a completely unsuitable aircraft, by spineless, snivelling politicians who could not care less about the people who really serve the UK.

The people who choose the NMH aircraft should be told that their children will be going to war in it. Cue Blackhawks at Benson. And for Ireland, it is a swiss army knife of an aircraft - it does everything but pour the Guinness...and I bet LM can offer that as an option.
Blackhawk was one of the final three contenders in the contest that produced the 139 and was also a firm favourite of the military side of the house, but DOD thought otherwise. While it would do most roles better than most, the question is do you need something at the very upper end of the super medium scale to deal with the fact that there’ll still be low crew/tech numbers for the first ten years or so if it’s service life? That might favour a bigger bus.

In terms of partnering up, possible options could be a trg/logs partnership with U.K. for whatever ends up as the NMH selection, or Poland if the Air Corps go for 149 or Merlin. Subject to everyone else wanting to play….
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Old 8th Dec 2023, 14:44
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Originally Posted by Declan275
Blackhawk was one of the final three contenders in the contest that produced the 139 and was also a firm favourite of the military side of the house, but DOD thought otherwise.
By DOD do you mean an Irish Governmental body or did the US DoD (Department of Defense) have objections to Blackhawk being made available? (If they did, it strikes me as odd).
Originally Posted by LuciferMorningstar
I suggest Ireland decide quickly to go for Blackhawk, team with the UK, and present this as a bigger potential opportunity to LM - after all there is strength in numbers. If the UK and Ireland partner on an order for S70I, there is almost certainly a better deal to be done, and they would have the force multiplying advantage of using the same aircraft as their allies.
While an intriguing idea, do the Irish and UK requirements documents match closely enough to put their helicopters on the same contract?
(An example I've seen similar to that approach with differing requirements was the USN folding the CH-60S buy into the UH-60L multi-year contract back in the 90's, but that's both inside the same country...but it is a case of "similar enough requirements with some differences" with one vendor).
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Old 8th Dec 2023, 16:33
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That’s the Irish Dept of Defence - they weren’t Blackhawk fans at the time, who knows now?

I think if we ended up with the same type, some kind of formal training cooperation with either the U.K. as nearest neighbour, or Poland as an EU partner would make sense.
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