Author Topic: S-92 Procurement Potential Snags (Split from: Canada considers purchase of used US Army Chinooks)  (Read 19022 times)

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Offline Armymatters

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A fix is apparantly on its way for the Cormorants. The composite tail rotors are going to be replaced by an all titanium tail rotor, which EH is current developing as of right now.

Offline Ditch

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This would be fix #3 then - they have had fixes for this problem for the last couple of years.  I heard that the composite half-hubs were to be further reinforced with a titanium plate.
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline Good2Golf

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US-101 will get a monolithic-machined titanium half hub...if fix#3 is only going to be a titanium plate, I foresee that there will still be problems.  The fact that Agusta Wesland formed a piece in composite, then machined it further with tight radius corners is absolutely mind boggling!!!  I know of no other aerospace designer that would ever machine compsites after molding... ::)

Duey

Offline Armymatters

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The EH-101 is a good platform for what we use it for and many other roles, but like with any design, it has its snags. The tail rotor is apparantly it. All we can do right now is to buy more rotor bits and wait until EH gets their fix for the rotor developed and tested.

Offline FoverF

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Rule Number One in aviation procurement:

NEVER buy the -A model of ANYTHING.

There are design bugs that have to be worked out of any airframe. (or idiocy that has to be purged, as in the case of machining composite components? It IS done, but rarely, for obvious reasons, and I've never heard of it being done on any kind of dynamic component)
We also have the benefit of having several other large customers for the EH101 to bear the load, and have a substantial pool of airframes to monitor for any potential problems. And the clout of major customers like the RN backing us up, making sure things get done.
I expect the Cormorant ought to finish it's teething soon.

Just in time for the Cyclone to hit...
Perhaps the most specific application of rule number one would be: DON'T be the LAUNCH CUSTOMER for ANYTHING, EVER. ESPECIALLY when your order is pathetically small, and you're liable to get next to zero customer support, since the manufacturer is guaranteed to lose money on the program already, and wants to minimize losses.
Not to mention the large pool of military users... Oh wait, ours were the ONLY politicians who fell for that particular bill of goods. Not even the US government bought it. There's not even any major prospect of anyone buying it in any numbers (it's only real chance is sitting at the bottom of the list for a USAF CSAR requirement). I hope some Liberals got some VERY nice condos and golf trips out of the deal, because the CF is getting... well... I suppose this rant has been done before, so I'll just leave it at that. 

Cyclone=disaster

Not saying that it's an inherently bad design (even though everyone seems to prefer the EH101, or NH90, or Chinook, or Cougar, or CH-freakin'-53, or anything else they are offered), just that the government was inherently stupid in buying it, and if you think the Cormorant is being a pain in the arse, just wait till this one hits and the CF is all alone to deal with it.
Plan B is just to keep on givin' er

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Not knowing your background at all FoverF I will have to take the opinions of the helo guys such as Inch who has posted in past threads on the Cyclone. I suggest you look up his comments.
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
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Offline Good2Golf

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FoverF, although not intimately knowledgable on Sikorsky products, I don't think the Cyclone will be quite as much of a train wreck as the Cormorant has turned out to be.  True, being the rollout customer is risky for an unproven machine, but the S-92 does have a lot of similarity to the Blackhawk/Seahawk/Jayhawk family...something the EH-101 did not have.  To be fair, our Cormorant really is not an EH-101 either...there were notable modifications/changes to squeeze 15 aircraft under the $650M programme limit imposed on the project office.  I would happily fly an EH-101 Mk.4...I would also happily fly the Cyclone given its thouroughbred....its biggest issue IMHO is the folding head, the design for which is not finalized as I understand it.

Closer to thread, if the Chinook is selected as the machine that best meets the CF's TALC requirement, I truly hope we buy it "straight off the shelf" in US Army/SOCOM configuration (depending on whether the F or G model is chosen)...

Cheers,
Duey

Offline CTD

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The Cormoront has been around for more then a couple of years. I believe it has been around since the 1980's. Not the exact model but very close. To have known tail rotor problems and not have them fixed is a shame to the manufacture. Imagine if we had bought all those EH101 (aka Cormoront different color) how many of their tail rotor hubs would have been U/S? How many Helos would have been by the way side so that we could have enough spares to keep the min flying for emergency only. Our Navel forces would have had to go to sea with out any choppers.

As for the S92 only time will tell if the almost 90% interoperability with the former blackhawk fleet will work and is true to it's form. I am willing to bet though that Sikorsky will with out a doubt fix any problems that occur with their Helos that we may have.




Offline SeaKingTacco

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FoverF,

Man, thanks for setting me straight wrt the Cyclone.  I feel like such a TOOL.  I mean, 20 years in the military, five years at sea experience on the Sea King including time as a Detachment Commander on a Frigate, an instructor job at the Sea King OTU, all of those technical/professional courses, all of that time actually reading the Statement of Requirement for the Cyclone...wasted.

I had to come here, to Army.ca to find the truth about the Cyclone uncovered by a 23 year old University student who has no military experience.  I got to call the national media... we've got a major story here...


Now that we've got the sarcasm out of the way,  I have no doubt that there will be teething issues with the Cyclone when it enters service.  Having also watched Sikorsky carefully for since 1999, I find them to be good, professional operators who build good, solid helos.  Being the only (so far) military operator does concern me somewhat, but I am under the strong impression that a lot of other potential customers are watching closely to see how things work out for us... in other words, Sikorsky is motivated to not screw us.

FoverF, I hope that I have not offended you.  But, put yourself in my place- If I started beaking off at length online about your University and program (which I have never been to), how would you feel?

Offline SF2

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Perhaps the mods can split this thread into a separate S-92 discussion.

But I'm going to have to agree with SeakingTACCO - During LOFT,(LOFT is an army famil course for Griffon pilots), we received a lecture from an army medic. Thinking he was lecturing to young infantry officers, he taught us, for about 30 mins, that the Griffon was useless for anything -

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!
« Last Edit: January 14, 2006, 09:41:40 by short final »

Offline h3tacco

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I think I have said  this before but we are ordering the H-92 not the S-92. Kinda of semantics but seeing as there are many difference to the aircraft alone not including all the mission fit it is important to raise. However, ForeverF, may have some valid points though probably not based on his experience. That said I still I think we made the right choice in choosing the H-92. Nevertheless, there is the possibility that bringing the Cyclone online "could" (thats a big could) face some major delays. I think everyone agrees that new aircraft will have teething problems. There is a good article in the newest Vertical about CHC's expereince with their S-92 in Newfoundland. The article covers a good number of the teething related problems. More important though from that article is that it says most civilian S-92 have been delivered late some up to nine months late. I would suspect based on that, the more complicated CH-148 has a good chance of being delivered late. My main worries outside of teething problems are:

1. The fly-by-wire system which is the main difference between the S-92 and H-92
2. Integrating the mission system - The Aussie SH-2G program was something like 3 years late because of the mission system even though for most part it was off the shelf

I think the blade fold will end up to be a non-issue based on Sikorsky experience folding heads.  At the end of the day I hope to hell that I am wrong and like SeaKingTacco says Sirkorsky has a pretty good record.

Offline FoverF

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Please don't read too much into my 'background' (all 13 words or so of it)

Just because a fool says the sun is shining does not make it dark.

And please feel free to ignore the 'various civilian aviation experience' part.
I am a 3rd generation pilot, and grew up at airports. I eat, sleep, and breathe aviation. I started washing airplanes when I was five, and have worked professionally in the industry since I was 17. I have taken various courses, such as the ACST course at SAIT (GPA of 3.96), and have a couple years AME'ing under my belt (M1, and S-licence apprentice), and worked at a flight school for a few years. I have a decent amount of flight time on everything from gliders to Westjet's 737-200 sims, and have lived and flown for 23 years with flight instructors (one of whom is an instructor for WestJet, and the other is the single most experienced flgiht instructor in Canada, with the most students, and ~40,000 hours). I have declined to take the tests to get my commercial licence on the advice of several people in the aircrew selection process.

I don't claim to be "the World Expert", but perhaps I might be allowed to post my opinions without being ridiculed?

And I still think that there is absolutely no legitimate reason to split the SAR and maritime helo buys. It was pure politics, and a retarded decision.

I don't have anything against the Cyclone. I think the Merlin would have been a better choice, but I expect that it will do the job just fine (after an indeterminately long shake-down period). I think that it's sales record (read: lack of) is extremely concerning, given that the US Army operates such a vast fleet of Blackhawks, and has shown no interest in it. Likewise the USAF, USN, and USMC, all of whom have been offered it for various roles in various competitions, and it has never been shortlisted for anything except the Marine One contract, which it lost to the Merlin (that is, the PENTAGON chose a FOREIGN design over it). The only other military customer to my knowledge WAS Ireland, and they opted out. There have been other good airplanes that lost out in the marketing department, but the complete absence of other customers is a bad thing, even if the a/c delivers just fine.

Other than this, I really don't see anything specifically wrong with the a/c (other than the fact that it's several years behind the Merlin in terms of development, and is the devil which we most definitely DON'T know, Blackhawk commonality or not)

So it may very well be that it is a decent helicopter (Sikorsky generally build a good product, and they do have a lot of experience in the field). However, there is absolutely NO excuse for the CF operating ridiculously small fleets of TWO of the most expensive helicopters in the world, so that as soon as the bugs are worked out of one, the other shows up, for which the CF is ONLY customer to bear the burden.

The point is that it would be better to use the Cyclone for SAR and maritime roles, OR the Cormorant/Merlin, but to use both is ridiculous. It is simply bad policy. Any advantage that either a/c turns out to has over the other is not going to balance out the pain in the butt and expense of having reduntant training and maintenance systems, not to mention the interoperability/lack-there-of with frigates.
It was a bone-headed play to pick two types.
A decent-size buy of either of them would have been a far cheaper and more sensible solution. So I still say buying the Cyclone is a huge waste of money, time, and effort.

But I suppose not having any military experience, I wouldn't know anything about stupid decisions.

Plan B is just to keep on givin' er

aesop081

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And please feel free to ignore the 'various civilian aviation experience' part.
I am a 3rd generation pilot, and grew up at airports. I eat, sleep, and breathe aviation. I started washing airplanes when I was five, and have worked professionally in the industry since I was 17. I have taken various courses, such as the ACST course at SAIT (GPA of 3.96), and have a couple years AME'ing under my belt (M1, and S-licence apprentice), and worked at a flight school for a few years. I have a decent amount of flight time on everything from gliders to Westjet's 737-200 sims, and have lived and flown for 23 years with flight instructors (one of whom is an instructor for WestJet, and the other is the single most experienced flgiht instructor in Canada, with the most students, and ~40,000 hours). I have declined to take the tests to get my commercial licence on the advice of several people in the aircrew selection process.


Ok so you have aviation experience. So do i.  The guys responding to your coment have some too.  I'm still waiting for your ESM experience resume.

Offline CTD

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My concern with buying all one fleet of Helo's is when they have a major issue such as the Cormoront has then your whole fleet if grounded or at least highly restricted in it's operations.
To me I would rather have a little of this and a little of that to fullfill our roles of SAR, ASW and troop transport then to have a lot of any one airframe.
As far as I can tell the H92/S92 are the same airframe. One is rated for Civil and one for military use. Of course their are some differences as for electronics and engine packages to name a few. Both come with fly by wire technology and rotor anti icing.   

I remember people saying that the EH101 that the Liberals scrapped and the Cormorant were completely different aircraft. To which they they were incorrect. One is rated civil and the other military. Both of which are the same airframe except subtle differences for the end user. In the end we bought the Civil version I believe.

I doubt very much so that we will see the same level of problems with the H92 that we have seen with the EH101 (Merlin/Cormorant). The fact that the S92 has been around for a few years already and has had a pretty flawless record of flying shows that it is a good airframe. The incorporation of already tried and prov en parts from the rest of the Sikorsky fleet makes me a believer in this product.
One problem that we will see as the end user will be the modifications that we do to Canadians it.

The comment made about the quality of service and spares for the quantity that you have bought is absurd. The EH101 has been around since the the early 80's and has suffered numerous design flaws with their system. What we bought was the newest and latest version. Full of unproven parts that I may say are the main components of the system. The lack of support from AugustaWestland (Eurocopters) in the actual support to get a fix either in the way of replacement hubs and or a brand new design of parts is disgusting. These choppers were bought for the sole purpose of SAR and Augusta new that. To have the whole fleet of Helo's on a no more then 2 hr fly before a major inspection of the tail rotor hub when the chopper is only 2 years old makes me wonder the actual quality of the whole platform but also the ability to support a fleet or 30 or more choppers that we were going to buy. 
Worse is going to be the  fix that they will have for the hub assy, it is going to be composite hub with a titanium support bracket. Pretty much the same assembly with a patch over it. Instead of using a new assembly. Go to their web site and search up TSB's on the EH series they will explain this and a few other solutions. Mot of which will render the fleet U/S for the next couple of years.

At the end of the day. I think that the EH101 is a decent helo, has alot of good features and is  capable of alot of good flying. All we need is a permanent fix for it's hub problems.

 


Offline FoverF

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Ok so you have aviation experience. So do i.  The guys responding to your coment have some too. 

That's right. The key difference being that I don't assume you are all retards. That's the most common response that *I* get.

"He's not in the military, so he obviously doesn't know $hit about $hit."

Or people taking the fact that I'm getting a degree in physics to mean that I don't know anything about aviation. Aviation is the REASON I'm getting a degree in physics. Unlike all the other ROTP guys who are taking liberal arts degrees because they're easy, I'm taking the most aviation-related degree I can (well, mech eng is probably a tie, but way less cool).

But I don't go about slamming other people's posts because they're not an aviation tradesman (even though I AM), or dismiss other people's posts as 'beaking off', or presume to be the highest authority on a topic, just because I have worked in the field. In fact, I don't recall claiming to be an expert about anything. I may disagree with people's opinions, and state my own, but I don't feel the need to mock them and belittle their ideas, with a self-superior attitude, because my knowledge is obviously far superior to theirs. I sometimes even disagree with (gasp) people with more experience than me, but for reasons which I always try to clearly state.

I may disagree with you, but I do not call your competence/knowledge into question, and certainly not without reason.

This is in noted contrast to a lot of posts I see here.

I'm still waiting for your ESM experience resume.

Did I ever claim to have any ESM experience? I mean, I work in the IT department at the university, and I have a very solid physics background, and am fairly well read (from open-source material only) on the topic, so I'm not completely ignorant. But I never claimed to be an expert in the field, and I know that it IS your field, so what are you getting at? That you know more about it than me? Sure. I'm quite convinced that you know more about ESM than I do, and I never disputed that.
And yet there were some capabilities of the F-22/F-35 in that field which I suspect you didn't know about, so I pointed them out. Never once did I say anything about having ESM experience, or question your knowledge of your job. But just because you may know more than me doesn't mean that I have nothing to contribute on the topic.

And more to the point; WHAT does that have to do with potential snags of the Cyclone procurement anyways?

My concern with buying all one fleet of Helo's is when they have a major issue such as the Cormorant has then your whole fleet if grounded or at least highly restricted in it's operations.
To me I would rather have a little of this and a little of that to fullfill our roles of SAR, ASW and troop transport then to have a lot of any one airframe.

Well, that seems to be about the only point where we differ (well, I also seem to have a little less faith in the H-92 than you do, but I'm sure it will work out).

I think that the money and manpower saved is probably more important. The technical issue(s) and groundings are a big issue now, but will become less so once this major obstacle is (eventually) solved, while the costs of redundant maintenance and training are going to always be there, probably for a good 30+ years.

At the end of the day. I think that the EH101 is a decent helo, has alot of good features and is  capable of alot of good flying. All we need is a permanent fix for it's hub problems.


Agreed. I'm almost surprised AETE hasn't jumped on this one. It is a dynamic component, but it's not rocket science. Do they even have a Cormorant airframe? Will there be enough Cyclone airframes to second one to AETE?

Quote
The fact that the S92 has been around for a few years already and has had a pretty flawless record of flying shows that it is a good airframe

Actually, the first S-92 was delivered September 27, 2004. And as far as I can tell, only 24 have ever been ordered (not counting the Cyclone deal), and they have not all been delivered. So I think it's a bit too early to start praising it's service record.
Plan B is just to keep on givin' er

Offline SF2

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fellas,

There's a lot of hootin n' hollerin' over speculation, and aircraft that none of us have flown, or worked on.  Like the PAFFO folks always tell us, lets stick to what we do, what we work with, and where we've been.

Offline Inch

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Well, I have flown an S-92, so my experience is certainly more than reading what the press publishes and what you can find on the DWAN.

FoverF,

While you may have a bit of experience in aviation, I notice you never once mentioned a helicopter in your experience. Myself, I have a Commercial Aeroplane licence as well as being a winged CF rotary wing pilot. So I may accept your experience in the aviation field, but I have my doubts that you know a schmick about what goes on in a helicopter.

I have posted this multiple times, but I will post it again for your benefit.

What common training did you expect to get having a common aircraft for SAR and MH? MH has TACCOs and AESOPs, SAR has Flight Engineers and SAR Techs. The only common training for aircrew would be the basic conversion course for the front enders and that usually takes about 20-30 hrs of flying to accomplish, barely a drop in the bucket when it comes to saving any money.

Maintenance may be common for AVN techs, but certainly not AVS considering the systems the Cyclone will have on board. Thus having one big school or two smaller schools in existing infrastructure is again a drop in the bucket.

So, to sum up, I have flown both the S-92 and the Sea King and I am fully confident that the Cyclones will perform as we expect them to with of course a few teething problems like you would see even if we got EH101s instead. The point is that we're doing things with this aircraft that SAR pilots just don't do, IE landing on pitching and rolling ships at sea among other things.
You sir are a moron!
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Offline SF2

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Quote
Maintenance may be common for AVN techs

and remember, AVN techs don't even work on Cormorants - civis do.

Offline Ditch

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The point is that we're doing things with this aircraft that SAR pilots just don't do, IE landing on pitching and rolling ships at sea among other things.

Excellent point by his Inch-ness...  SAR flying is also very specific to its trade - the Cormorant school is in Comox for the very reason that almost every environment is available for training the pilots.  Shearwater is for training the MH pilots for those same reasons - both conditions cannot exist at the same school.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline SeaKingTacco

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Zoomie- Actually, I could happily accept Comox as the location for the MH OTU  ;D

FoverF- What made me go nuclear with sarcasm on your original post was the utter certainty you exhibited over certain features of the H-92 and potential problems they may present.  I don't ever hear the people who work on the actual helicopter program in question even talk with that degree of certainty... and they are the experts.

Some of your points may well be proven valid, but it is way too early to make that judgement yet.  The reason most of the crusty old guys here are taking you to task is because you are presenting potential issues as if they are actual issues- without the corresponding expertise to give you the credibility to do so. And believe me, as a worker bee in the Sea King world, I am deathly tired of "self-appointed experts" telling me whats wrong with our aircraft and our operation (there happens to be lots wrong, but most outsiders identiify symptoms and misread the root causes). I don't assume that you are a "retard" at all.  I know, from your profile, that you are young and eager and obviously intelligent.  By all means, ask questions and particpate.   Just don't too surprised that when you start talking about my job as if you are doing my job, that I will call you on it.

I apologize if I have offended you- I do wish to keep things civil here.  Now, where were we on the Cyclone discussion?

Cheers

Offline SF2

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I believe we were just about to talk about painting them green and using them for heavy lift ;D

Offline SeaKingTacco

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Quote
I believe we were just about to talk about painting them green and using them for heavy lift

That, my friend, will be coming to an Operation sooner than you might think.  We are already in the process of shifting some focus towards the Army, with our current fleet.

Offline Ditch

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That, my friend, will be coming to an Operation sooner than you might think.  We are already in the process of shifting some focus towards the Army, with our current fleet.

How feasible do you think this shift might be?  I can only assume that the ASW kit will be hard mounted within the confines of the cabin.  Doesn't this severely limit the number of pax and the max T/O wt?
Per Ardua Ad Astra

Offline Inch

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How feasible do you think this shift might be?  I can only assume that the ASW kit will be hard mounted within the confines of the cabin.  Doesn't this severely limit the number of pax and the max T/O wt?

Are you talking Cyclone or Sea King?

In the case of Sea Kings, we have 6 Bravo models that could be stripped down to around 14,000 lbs operating weight or less, add troop seats and be able to lift 8-10 guys (AUW is 20,500 lbs). Since the helos probably wouldn't be folded, those parts won't break, sonar problems become non-factors, and a few other things wouldn't be needed, thus it becomes quite a simple machine.

In the case of the Cyclone, even with it's full mission kit, operating weight will be around 16,000 lbs, with 5000 lbs of fuel, that still leaves 7000 lbs of payload.

The kit isn't "hard mounted" in the sense of being welded to the floor and incapable of being removed. Our techs removed the sonar from our helo in a couple hours enroute to Op Unison. The Cyclone is going to be similar, it's got to be able to be removed, even just for maintenance.
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Offline Ditch

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Inch-a-sauras,

I was referring to the new piece of kit you MH rotor-heads are getting.  7,000 pound payload would get you approx. 17 troops (at 400lbs each) - can the Cyclone carry that with the SONAR still in place?
Per Ardua Ad Astra