Author Topic: Helicopters and Money  (Read 80869 times)

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Offline The Ruxted Group

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Helicopters and Money
« on: December 21, 2007, 01:49:18 »
Link to original article on Ruxted.ca

Helicopters and Money

In a recent article The Ruxted Group said: “At a minimum The Ruxted Group believes we need four brigades – that’s 35-50 armoured (tank), reconnaissance, artillery, engineer, signals/electronic warfare, infantry, aviation, medical, intelligence and logistic support units.” Another recent article, in the mainstream media, highlights one critical aspect of the current capability deficiencies: a transformed Canadian military needs more and different helicopters.

Canadians appear, from the polling we have seen, to want the Canadian Forces to go to some of the world’s most difficult places, like Sudan, and, once there, do some very difficult things.

While there is considerable room for debate re: what kind of units might we need- and, once again, we remind readers of some words of wisdom from a former US Secretary of Defence: “...you go to war with the Army you have.  They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” - Donald Rumsfeld, 8 Dec 04 - it is quite clear to us that, for nearly all of the possibilities we can imagine, we will need to have dedicated rotary-wing aviation in support of deployed land forces: helicopters – lots of them.

The Government of Canada has already recognized this and is negotiating to buy some new CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters. That’s a good first step.

Even with the best pilots, whom Canada has, transport helicopters are vulnerable. They, rather like the merchant ships in the Battle of the Atlantic, need protection – armed helicopters of some sort. Such helicopters can do much more than defend the transport helicopters – they can recconoitre and surveille, bring highly accurate direct fire to bear on a wide range of targets, even heavy tanks, and they can use their instrinsic manoeuverability to get to the fight faster in support of our troops when other ground units may be challenged by unforgiving terrain.

There are some tasks for which a large helicopter is ill suited, at least, inefficient. Canada also needs lighter, agile, general-purpose, utility type helicopters suitable for tactical troop and cargo movement, casualty evacuation, and various other tasks. Canada has the CH-146 Griffon helicopter but it currently has limitations regarding unrestricted operations in hot climates and at high altitudes – just the sort of conditions where some strategic problems are likely to occur.

One of the important characteristics of aviation is flexibility. Helicopters are not much limited by terrain and they move relatively quickly. That means that they can accomplish different tasks in far away places. A utility helicopter, for example, can rapidly switch between delivering troops, evacuating casualties, and delivering cargo, often within the same mission. Similarly, helicopter units are multi-functional:  supporting combat operations overseas they can fly Search and Rescue missions in Canada or peacekeeping and disaster relief operations anywhere in the world.

In Ruxted’s view, Canada needs a holistic helicopter replacement programme to acquire, operate and maintain:

•   New shipborne helicopters for the navy – this is underway, at long last; and
•   New helicopters, of several types (cargo, utility, fire support) -- armed as required to support the army in combat operations – this part of the programme is just beginning and must continue the development of a balanced, capable rotary-wing force.

The key element is, as always, money.

We expended $790 Million to buy 15 Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopters. We are going to pay:

•   $5,000 Million to buy 28 CH-148 Cyclone shipborne helicopters; and

•   $4,700 Million to buy 16 Chinook helicopters.

What we can see is that, at current price/inflation rates, it costs about $225 Million to buy (both aircraft and necessary support infrastructure) and maintain/sustain each large, complex helicopter. According to the authoritative Federation of American Scientists, for a Chinook, these “total cost of ownership” figures are consistent with (10 year old) US data. The same source says that the total cost of ownership of a UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter or an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter is likely to be higher.  There are, to be sure, alternatives to those two ultra-modern and costly machines. The United States Marine Corps, for example, flies the less expensive, but also less capable, UH-1N Huey and AH-1W Cobra helicopters – updated versions of proven but Vietnam war era machines.

The Ruxted Group does not advocate one aircraft or another, but it does call for billions and billions – a few tens of billions – of new money to be spent sooner rather than later on new army aviation capabilities – armed/attack and utility helicopters, at least. Without that new money to buy those new capabilities the Canadian Forces will be unable to do many of the good things Canadians want them to do. To that end we repeat our call for a budget boost: a big boost and soon, please.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 14:35:35 by kratz »

Offline Fraz

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2008, 15:24:20 »
If only the political will and financial coffers existed to give us that boost...
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2008, 22:43:32 »
Don't ask, don't get. A few years ago they were going to disband the armoured corps and turn the gunners into mortar platoons. We need to push these types of plans up to the politicians soon and often. After all, how else are we going to defend the arctic etc? Walking takes too much time and boot leather.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 12:40:28 »
Any thought of taking rotary wing aviaton and making it Army vice Air Force?
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Offline FinClk

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 12:51:43 »
Any thought of taking rotary wing aviaton and making it Army vice Air Force?
A la 10 TAG fashion?

I am not sure but think I had seen a thread some time ago discussing this.

Offline benny88

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008, 14:06:11 »
Any thought of taking rotary wing aviaton and making it Army vice Air Force?

  With unification, does it make a big difference anyways?
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 14:10:32 »
Unification really didn't do much other than make the air and navy pers wear rifle green...which was a travesty.

The US ARMY employs its own aviators as does the US Marine Corps and I beleive the Brit Army and Royal Marines do the same. There fore  the Army does not have to depend on the Air Force for tac hel sp.
Just a thought...
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Offline benny88

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 14:14:45 »
   Yeah it's definitely an interesting point, to the best of my knowledge it's effective in the US Army and USMC. I don't know enough about the pros/cons to make an educated guess, but I know theres some helo pilots around here that could help.
   Would you also want to make naval helicopters a part of the Navy?
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2008, 14:22:11 »
Good question, but this is not within my arcs of fire....
Being an Army sort, I took a page out of the USMC book. All the Marine Corps pilots did their officer training with fellow Marines, there fore there is that "bond" in place....one Marine fighting with another Marine.
Are there any rotary wing pilots who have any opinions on this?
Advantages? Disadvantages?
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Offline benny88

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2008, 14:32:29 »
All the Marine Corps pilots did their officer training with fellow Marines, there fore there is that "bond" in place....one Marine fighting with another Marine.
 

   True, but remember that we're not as segregated as the US Air Force and the US Army, so we do our officer training with people from other elements, giving us some of the advantages of Marine Corps training. I agree the common training is not to the same extent, but I do feel a bond with other people on my course from other trades and elements.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2008, 14:38:47 »
Good discussion!

I'm an NCO, but that's never stopped me from thinking. I'm kidding of course...
I can understand you bonding with course mates, but if you know the guy coming to save your bacon wears OD and not AF blue....it can make a difference....in my opinion....I could be wrong and frequently have been known to be wrong...!!!
BTW this is not meant to denigrate any AF pers.....
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2008, 14:42:49 »
Any thought of taking rotary wing aviaton and making it Army vice Air Force?

That might work for the TacHel world, not so much for the Maritime Helicopter community  ;D
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2008, 18:23:38 »
There is, I think, a good case both pro and con putting organic ‘air arms’ into the army and navy and I know it has been discussed before, here in Army.ca.

That being said the real issue raised by Ruxted is financial.

Changing the C2 arrangements and uniform colours of various air and ground crew is pretty small change compared to the tens of billions needed for new aircraft, of various types, and new facilities to house them and new people to fly and maintain them.

That doesn’t mean C2 doesn’t matter; clearly it is important. But it can and should be addressed when we know that we will get the assets, human and material, we need.

For the moment let’s agree to keep telling our MPs that we need “billions and billions – a few tens of billions – of new money to be spent sooner rather than later on new army aviation capabilities – armed/attack and utility helicopters, at least.”
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2008, 18:40:00 »
The above being said, I am one of those who never, ever understood the rationale for Air Command, etc. I believe* that naval and army aviation should be integral components of the fleet and the field force – navy and army pilots should fly navy and army helicopters and navy and army technicians should maintain the aircraft.

There is plenty of room for integrated training and for inter-service transfers and so on.

I cannot understand why some army aircraft – especially attack helicopters – cannot be piloted (commanded) by senior NCOs. That’s more controversial, I suppose, than putting integral air arms back into services. The Brits used to do it and they stopped – one assumes for good reasons. I’ll defer to experts on whether or not that could work and whether or not it would be a good idea.


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* But I’ve been retired for so long that my ‘beliefs’ are probably on a par with the Sunday funnies.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline benny88

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2008, 19:28:37 »
    I cannot understand why some army aircraft – especially attack helicopters – cannot be piloted (commanded) by senior NCOs. That’s more controversial, I suppose, than putting integral air arms back into services. The Brits used to do it and they stopped – one assumes for good reasons. I’ll defer to experts on whether or not that could work and whether or not it would be a good idea.


   Do you think that all pilot slots should be able to be filled by NCO's or just rotary wing? If so, why? I'm not being sarcastic or saying that it shouldn't be done, I'm just curious.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2008, 06:50:12 »
Seems to work well for the Amercians.  WOs drive their Apache's.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2008, 07:18:18 »
In the US Army Warrant Officers are commissioned. There is a difference between our WO rank structure and the US Army.

Have I opened a can of worms? ;)
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Offline benny88

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2008, 10:45:41 »
In the US Army Warrant Officers are commissioned. There is a difference between our WO rank structure and the US Army.


     True, and it's even more different with WO aviators. Check out this link: http://www.goarmy.com/about/warrant_officer.jsp

    Basically they can sign right up from civilian to "Warrant Officer Candidate" do a 9 week basic, 6 week WO course, then flight training, so they're not exactly the fountains of knowledge and experience that they are in the CF. Essentially, that course progression is fairly close to the CF for pilots (IAP, BOTP, then Primary Flight [doesn't say anything about survival, aeromedical, etc, which I'm sure they also do]) except that they don't get/need a degree.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2008, 11:25:26 »
I’m not pushing for NCO pilots; I just never really understood what happened to them.

During the 2nd World War the British and Canadian Forces had NCO pilots (glider pilots in the army). So, I believe, did the US forces, at the very start if the war. I have read, somewhere, that Gen. Hap Arnold wanted, and got, an all officer flying corps and that the USN and USMC followed suit. Sometime after the war we, Britain and Canada, anyway, mostly followed along the US model.

Here is a link to a 1999 UK parliamentary report that indicates that, then, the UK Army still used NCO pilots but which did not see any benefit in the RN or RAF following suit.

I cannot see any financial benefit in NCO pilots – a sergeant or WO drawing full pilot’s skill pay is no cheaper than a Capt/Lt in the same business. The US system (warrant officer – US type WO - pilots) seemed to me to be aimed at getting a large corps of serving, ‘professional’ line pilots without having to worry about providing them with full officer careers, with all the additional cross-employment and training involved. That, to me, is the sole benefit: (some?), many, (most?) pilots fly aircraft, period – a few, who are commissioned officers, fly and manage and advance up through the officer ranks, as far as their leadership skills and knowledge will carry them.

One of the continuing characteristics of my time in the service was the ever-present “get well” programmes, about half of them it seemed to me for aircrew. We always seemed to have dire shortages, followed, in just a few years by unmanageable surpluses. In the ‘50s and into the early ‘60s the RCAF had its own version of the Army’s OCP system: a large portion of aircrew billets were filled by young officers recruited right out of high school; they were trained and given ‘short service’ (< 10 year) commissions – very, very few of them were allowed to stay in after their ‘short service’ term expired. That, for a while, seemed to meet the need for a large corps of ‘line pilots’ while avoiding a large surplus of older, less employable officers.

I could imagine that most army pilots could be selected from our quite large pool of young (say with less than five years of service), well educated, suitably qualified serving soldiers who, after the long, arduous training programmes that all pilots must accomplish, would be promoted to sergeant (sergeant-pilot) and would be posted to flying units. I’m guessing that most (just many?) pilots can fly, pretty continuously, in operations until they are 40+ years old – it seems like we could good mileage out of NCO pilots.

I reiterate that I’m in the curiosity rather than advocacy mode here because, for me, the big issue remains: we need more, new money for army (especially) aviation equipment and people – after we have both (and the requisite O&M money, too) then we can decide on the suit colours, C2 arrangements and, lastly, the ranks of those who fly and maintain the aircraft.
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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2008, 11:45:00 »

 the Brit Army and Royal Marines do the same. There fore  the Army does not have to depend on the Air Force for tac hel sp.


Brit Chinooks and some Merlin Helos are flown by the RAF in support of land forces

Offline Ditch

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2008, 02:01:30 »
Keep in mind that these NCO aviators in the US Army are still commanded by a US Army Captain.  They are formed in a quasi-platoon formation - with the junior Officer commanding his det of Attack Helos.  Very much like an Armoured Troop.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2008, 18:21:13 »
Keep in mind that these NCO aviators in the US Army are still commanded by a US Army Captain.  They are formed in a quasi-platoon formation - with the junior Officer commanding his det of Attack Helos.  Very much like an Armoured Troop.

And that is what I imagined might happen in the  Canadian Army: an aviation troop/platoon might be commended by a Capt/Lt (already classification trained as, say, an Armd or Log/Tn officer then trained as a pilot) and the aircraft commanders might be Pilot Sgts or Flight Sgts (there's a rank with a familiar ring to it) selected for flight training from the ranks of serving soldiers.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Offline BLUE GRUNT

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2008, 12:26:18 »
I know it has been asked before...and always shot down by the Generals that are at least in the Air side of things...flying NCO's is definitely no a new thing...other nations do infact allow their NCO's to fly more than helicopters...the German Airforce has Sgt pilots who fly the transals. a mini Herc..so why not...they talk about not having enough to to do the job and retention...I would certainly have signed up for it if available and be quit happy flying helicopters for the rest of my career.

 :salute:

Offline MCG

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2008, 18:34:49 »
For those proposing it,
Would Pilot NCO be a remuster occupation?

Offline BLUE GRUNT

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Re: Helicopters and Money
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2008, 20:08:58 »
Quote
For those proposing it,
Would Pilot NCO be a re muster occupation?

That would be a very sound proposition, experience is a good thing to have, and no better way than start from the ground up as it were.