Author Topic: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service  (Read 4520 times)

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UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« on: February 05, 2008, 08:50:46 »
New blades improve Sea king Performance
UK Ministry of Def, 1 Feb 08
Article llink

Royal Navy Sea King HC Mk4 support helicopters, currently being deployed on operations in Afghanistan, are benefiting from greatly improved performance thanks to new composite rotor blades increasing carrying capacity and speed.

The new modified Carson composite blades, together with a new AgustaWestland five-bladed tail rotor, enable the aircraft to operate far more effectively in the demanding conditions prevailing on Operation HERRICK, providing a welcome additional capability in a theatre where helicopters are always in great demand.

The modified US-designed Carson blades were selected following an extensive testing and evaluation programme, conducted by the MOD's Joint Test and Evaluation Group Aircraft Test & Evaluation Centre (ATEC) and QinetiQ on behalf of the Sea King Integrated Project Team (IPT). The work supported an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) to enable the Sea Kings to be deployed.

Trials carried out in "hot and high" conditions in Colorado were followed by operational training in Cyprus, in which 846 Naval Air Squadron tried out the modified aircraft. Hover performance was demonstrated to have increased by 2,000lb (907kg) and forward speed by up to 49 knots (91km), confirming real performance improvements.

The ten-month timeframe within which the project moved from UOR declaration to delivery won praise from the Sea King IPT. Lieutenant Commander Dave Maude commented:

"Within the MOD, the Carson blades programme is recognised as being demanding with regards to the short timescales involved, and there has been a lot of admiration for the way that prime contractor QinetiQ has tackled the programme and the amount of hours and effort that have been put in."

Overall the programme has demonstrated real performance improvements through a very cost-effective £5.25M upgrade programme, delivered very rapidly. It means that the long-serving Sea King can undertake a wider range of tasks in a demanding operational environment, proving a great asset to UK and other NATO forces conducting operations in Afghanistan.

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Offline FoverF

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 20:04:14 »
49 knots (91km)?????

Any Sea King drivers care to comment? I may be a no0b, but I think I'm going to call BS on this one...
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Offline SF2

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 21:26:16 »
I don't doubt that at all.

Vne on most helicopters are because of the rotor blades, due to both advancing blade compressibility and retreating blade stall.  Having these new blades will significantly improve performance, including speed.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2008, 00:22:55 »
I believe they mean 845 NAS, there is no 846 NAS as far as I know. I flew with them often - as cargo - and they made me a Sea King fan! Pass me another glass of that SK juice please....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline h3tacco

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2008, 09:44:51 »

Quote
846 Naval Air Squadron

846 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) is one of four 'Junglie' Squadrons based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset. Equipped with 10 Sea King Mk4 Commando helicopters the Squadron is primarily dedicated to the support of 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines. The nickname 'Junglie' evolved during the Borneo Campaign of 1963-66, as it was within the Indonesian jungle that the Squadron demonstrated how versatile naval helicopters can be. Since then 846 NAS have repeatedly proved their ability to deliver troops with the speed and mobility in inhospitable terrain that is essential to Commando operations.

http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/server/show/nav.2340

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2008, 09:54:31 »
Well, I'll be a craphat...
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Inch

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2008, 12:28:30 »
49 knots (91km)?????

Any Sea King drivers care to comment? I may be a no0b, but I think I'm going to call BS on this one...

Sure, I'd believe it. I'm no expert but I would say that 49kts is definitely at the top end. Carson's website claims at least a 15kt gain and a 2000 lb increase in weight. If we saw a 49kt increase on our Sea Kings we'd have a no-FLIR Vne of 200kts and an all up weight of 22,500 lbs. That'd be over 3000 lbs of cargo/troops and a full tank of gas.

New blades would be nice, but I have to say I highly doubt you'll see them in the CF.
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Offline CTD

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Re: UK Using Special Sea King Rotor Blades for AFG Service
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2008, 14:54:58 »
Welcome to countries who realize that they have to work with what they have. The know how is out there to make our present day airframes work in these types of enviroments.
Although they may not be the best, they sure beat walking.