Wyvern

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As is probably well known, the Army Air Corps (henceforth referred to as the AAC for simplicities' sake) has made the announcement that the Gazelle fleet is to be replaced, under the SDSR which was released last month. The statement below was released, that hinted a replacement.

  • 23 Gazelle, 20 Puma, and 5 Bell 212 will be replaced by a new medium-lift helicopter.
This quote was extracted from the article below.

This statement, as with the rest of the Review, is extremely vague and offers no clear picture as to what will replace the types. The question is, will there be one unique type to replace all the aircraft mentioned? I always thought that the Gazelle was used as an observation platform, although I will admit I know quite little as to how the AAC operates their Gazelle fleet. If it is used in the observation platform, then wouldn't a smaller platform be necessary?

I hope this isn't completely incorrect, and I do apologise if it is.

Wyvern
 

bob225

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Last one of these i saw was a few years ago, it had a large camera pod on the side.

It had flown into RAF Wattisham, from NI to take part in a large exercise on the nearby training area, it was used to replicate a drone (Live linking the camera feed).

From Wiki:

In July 2016, the Ministry of Defence announced that the Gazelle would remain in service until 2025 taking the Gazelle past its 50th anniversary in UK military service and making it the oldest helicopter in active UK inventory.[79] The Gazelle is operated by 29 (BATUS) Flight AAC in Canada supporting the Suffield training site, 665 Squadron AAC in Northern Ireland with aerial surveillance tasks and at the Army Aviation Centre by 7 (Training) Regiment AACConversion Flight and 667 (Development & Trials) Squadron AAC.[80][81] In 2018 and 2019, the Ministry of Defence awarded contracts to sustain the fleet until 2022 with the option of an extension 2025.[82][83] In 2019, the Army Air Corps had a fleet of 32 Gazelles with 19 in service.[84]
 

Wyvern

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So they are used in the surveillance role, as I had thought. That does beg the question what is to replace this type. I don't think a medium lift helicopter would be suitable for such a task. That begs the question: what is to replace them?
 

Fluff

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The automatic answer is a drone.....

But.....

You still have to crew a drone.

So far we have gone to drones, as relatively expendable reconnaissance systems, and support for ground troops again relatively benign threat areas.

If you still have to have a pilot in a box somewhere, he cant refuel the aircraft, cant man a MG or anything else, cant clear grass from the intakes.

And you dont then have the secondary capabilites, i.e. to move a couple of important people, or items, at short notice.

So not a drone.

Ho hum...
 

TomS

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they missed out on using the Squirrel, a very goods helicopter.

Seem like the 135 is a bit more versatile -- bigger passenger compartment, 50% more payload capacity.
 

Stovepipe

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true but the Squirrel was essentially a direct replacement for the Alouettes and the Gazelle, time wise and would have easily filled the role until the advent of the 135s, which are considerably bigger and more expensive.
 

yasotay

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H135 is a great civil platform, but I am not so sure it is an optimal military platform. Hub moment issues that preclude operating on slopes/inclines, low inertia rotor system that don't provide much margin for error in autorotative decent. In fairness I draw my position from listening to military pilots charged with training.
That said it certainly does provide more options than a smaller more traditional scout like platform. If the UK decides to start putting lots of sensors and kit onboard, the extra power will be handy.
 

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