JohnR

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The RAF's Puma's are due out of service in 2025. What are the likely replacements going to be?

I think the most logical choice is one of the Leonardo products AW149?
 

Foo Fighter

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I would expect a US tie in there.
 

robunos

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More Chinooks . . .

cheers,
Robin.
 

Foo Fighter

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I'm thinking more on the lines of life extension until new types come up for proper consideration. Possibly a UK build tie in with US programs. Some kind of involvement as for the F-35 might keep Bae on board. Possibly. Not really clear on how this will be affected by the obvious so rather moot until we know more.
 

Hood

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If the NH90 and Tiger is any yardstick, expect that programme to maybe reach fruition in about 2060.
One thing Europe isn't short of is helicopter manufacturers, either Leonardo or Airbus should be left to get on with it, not some kind of salami slicing venture with everyone wanting something slightly different.
 

Fluff

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Trigger's broom comes to mind.

didnt we buy new fuselages from Romania? Or am I making this up?

I cant believe there are many components that are actually 50 years old.
 

Foo Fighter

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I think it's more like the 'four candles' in the two Ronnie's myself.
 

TomS

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didnt we buy new fuselages from Romania? Or am I making this up?

I got the impression the life-extension program was basically everything but the airframes. New engines, new electronics, new cockpit and avionics, etc.
 

JohnR

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I don't think this would be appropriate, maybe for the replacements replacement.

This is why I think it will be the AW189, its already developed and is largely available off the shelf and could be manufactured in the UK at the Westland factory.

I don't think Chinook is a viable replacement for Puma, we need something lighter. I'm reminded of the situation when a Chinook was sent to recover some wounded soldiers and the power of the rotor down wash set of land mines around them.

Just a thought I've had from left field, what about new Merlins. I know Merlin is due out of service by 2030, but what about replacing like for like for the navy ASW, and enlarging the Joint Helicopter Force with new HC XX.
 

robunos

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I don't think this would be appropriate, maybe for the replacements replacement.

This is why I think it will be the AW189, its already developed and is largely available off the shelf and could be manufactured in the UK at the Westland factory.

I don't think Chinook is a viable replacement for Puma, we need something lighter. I'm reminded of the situation when a Chinook was sent to recover some wounded soldiers and the power of the rotor down wash set of land mines around them.

Just a thought I've had from left field, what about new Merlins. I know Merlin is due out of service by 2030, but what about replacing like for like for the navy ASW, and enlarging the Joint Helicopter Force with new HC XX.

The RAF had some Merlins, passed them on to the Navy as soon as they could get their hands on some more Chinooks . . .

From Wiki . . .


"In 2012, the RAF's Merlin HC3/3A fleet began to be transferred to the Royal Navy for use by the Commando Helicopter Force. Royal Navy personnel worked alongside RAF crew at Benson to build experience during the transition.
Command of the UK Merlin HC3/3A fleet was formally transferred from the RAF to the Royal Navy during a ceremony at RAF Benson on 30 September 2014. As part of the same ceremony, the RAF's 78 Sqn was disbanded and the Royal Navy's 846 Naval Air Squadron stood-up with the Merlin. The RAF's 28(AC) continued to operate as part of the Commando Helicopter Force until July 2015, when 28(AC) Sqn stood down and 845 Naval Air Squadron stood-up. "

Remember, the RAF LOVES the Chinook, loves it so much it wants to have the Chinook's babies . . . will do whatever it takes to get as many of them in service as it can . . .

cheers,
Robin.
 

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The most logical choice would be something like the AW149, AW189 or Caracal. Is there an official requirement?
 

Wyvern

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Just a thought I've had from left field, what about new Merlins. I know Merlin is due out of service by 2030, but what about replacing like for like for the navy ASW, and enlarging the Joint Helicopter Force with new HC XX.
Is there a replacement planned? Any official requirement perhaps?
 

JohnR

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Not that I've read, I just happened to notice the out of service date as 2025 and wondered, maybe with Bo Jo's speech I've become wildly optimistic (or delusional, after having to spend weeks shut up in the house with my sister - "classic Holby City, Casualty, Eastenders, Emmerdale, Corrie, Midsomer Murders, New Emmedale, Corrie, Eastenders - Whatever crap is on after nine - sleep and repeat - oooh for the days of only four channels and no remote).
 
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Fluff

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its being considered in the current Review.

The current fleet seems to be 24 aircraft, so I really hope we just ask for a simple like for like replacement. AW would do final assembly at Westland. Unless as others have said, we want to be nice to Mr Biden....
 

TomS

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How about Super Pumas? You can still buy H225M as new builds, which seems like the closest thing to a direct replacement to the current Puma fleet in terms of capacity. AW149 seems close, but it's smaller and you'd be giving up nearly a quarter of the cabin volume and probably some troop capacity compared to Puma.

OTOH, AW149/189 does offer the advantage of being a more modern design and possibly being built in the UK (AW189 is already being built in Yeovil for the offshore market, I believe). Probably it's cheaper. Plus, AW189 is already being used by Bristow to replace RN and RAF SAR aircraft, both in the UK and the Falklands, so the RAF should be familiar with it to some degree. Possibly an RAF order could use Bristow for depot-level maintenance too.
 

bob225

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How about Super Pumas? You can still buy H225M as new builds, which seems like the closest thing to a direct replacement to the current Puma fleet in terms of capacity. AW149 seems close, but it's smaller and you'd be giving up nearly a quarter of the cabin volume and probably some troop capacity compared to Puma.

OTOH, AW149/189 does offer the advantage of being a more modern design and possibly being built in the UK (AW189 is already being built in Yeovil for the offshore market, I believe). Probably it's cheaper. Plus, AW189 is already being used by Bristow to replace RN and RAF SAR aircraft, both in the UK and the Falklands, so the RAF should be familiar with it to some degree. Possibly an RAF order could use Bristow for depot-level maintenance too.
I think AW189's for Bristow we're checked out before delivery by Westland, could be wrong.

RAF & Navy have nothing to do with the SAR stuff now, all the crews are ex forces flying for Bristow, not even from military bases anymore
 

TomS

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I think AW189's for Bristow we're checked out before delivery by Westland, could be wrong.

RAF & Navy have nothing to do with the SAR stuff now, all the crews are ex forces flying for Bristow, not even from military bases anymore

The Bristow SAR birds were suppsedly assembled in Yeovil -- possibly just putting together a knock-down kit, but it''s described some places as a second assembly line. But I think I did get crossed up with the offshore airframes -- that probably is just a checkout, not assembly, at the moment.


Bristow Helicopters has been using the AW189 to deliver the UK SAR contract since April 2015. The aircraft were assembled in Yeovil and Bristow Helicopters was the lead customer for its introduction.

I knew the services had given up the SAR task, but I thought they still had a hand in the selection process, at least.
 

bob225

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I think AW189's for Bristow we're checked out before delivery by Westland, could be wrong.

RAF & Navy have nothing to do with the SAR stuff now, all the crews are ex forces flying for Bristow, not even from military bases anymore

The Bristow SAR birds were suppsedly assembled in Yeovil -- possibly just putting together a knock-down kit, but it''s described some places as a second assembly line. But I think I did get crossed up with the offshore airframes -- that probably is just a checkout, not assembly, at the moment.


Bristow Helicopters has been using the AW189 to deliver the UK SAR contract since April 2015. The aircraft were assembled in Yeovil and Bristow Helicopters was the lead customer for its introduction.

I knew the services had given up the SAR task, but I thought they still had a hand in the selection process, at least.
I have a good mate working at Bristow, he was on RAF SAR applied to go over and got taken on, i under stand that they are trying to work out what to do for the future, there's just no available pool of qualified staff in the UK military.

So where do you find replacement staff? where do you train them, it's going to be a challenge for whoever gets the next contract
 

Fluff

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I think AW189's for Bristow we're checked out before delivery by Westland, could be wrong.

RAF & Navy have nothing to do with the SAR stuff now, all the crews are ex forces flying for Bristow, not even from military bases anymore

The Bristow SAR birds were suppsedly assembled in Yeovil -- possibly just putting together a knock-down kit, but it''s described some places as a second assembly line. But I think I did get crossed up with the offshore airframes -- that probably is just a checkout, not assembly, at the moment.


Bristow Helicopters has been using the AW189 to deliver the UK SAR contract since April 2015. The aircraft were assembled in Yeovil and Bristow Helicopters was the lead customer for its introduction.

I knew the services had given up the SAR task, but I thought they still had a hand in the selection process, at least.
I have a good mate working at Bristow, he was on RAF SAR applied to go over and got taken on, i under stand that they are trying to work out what to do for the future, there's just no available pool of qualified staff in the UK military.

So where do you find replacement staff? where do you train them, it's going to be a challenge for whoever gets the next contract
That was always going to be the problem, fine when there were thousands leaving every year, now the RAF is 30K, your probably only getting 2000 people leave every year. Fly rescue in Shetland, or fly tourists in Dubai.......
 

Foo Fighter

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I think that new build Chinook would be the RAF preferred option and they would be more adaptable with the spare/logistics line being better than having different types.
 

Fluff

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I think that new build Chinook would be the RAF preferred option and they would be more adaptable with the spare/logistics line being better than having different types.
I imagine it comes down to what gets moved, where. If its cabin or underslung etc. if its purely x tons, over x miles, I imagine the chinook wins.

But if its be in 24 places with 10 men, then a smaller type wins, as they wont have the money for 24 chinooks...

Could be 12 chinook and 6 more wildcats for the army, rationalise the types.
 

Foo Fighter

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Fair enuffski, makes sense mate.
 

Hood

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They might try and get another 10-15 years out of Puma in the hope FVL becomes available. I suspect that is the Air Staff's intention, a small fleet of fast FVLs for insertion and CSAR and Chinooks for everything else.
Wildcat is probably not likely to last, rumours of its early retirement have been ongoing for a while.

One wildcard option would be to lease a fleet of 10-15 AW189s or H225Ms for 10 years like the Voyager scheme.

That was always going to be the problem with priviatising the SAR service. Once the pool of manpower trained by SARTU reached the bottom its irreplaceable. And the current contractors have no incentive to train their staff as instructors to train potential rival companies or invest in a dedicated national training organisation when they know they might lose the next bid. Saying that, other nations manage - but then in the UK nothing works out as it should.
 

JohnR

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I never really like the W30. It always look blocky and somehow fragile.
 

riggerrob

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Dear Hood,
Don't feel bad.
In terms of Canadian Defense purchases, nothing goes as promised by politicians.
Hah!
Hah!
And it is often delivered decades later than promised.
Hah!
Hah!
The poor bloody infantry end up priority last in the purchasing process.
Hah!
Hah!
 

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I am attending International Military Helicopter conference webinar this week and on the First day, I watched Colonel Paul Morris presentation.


Cheers
 

TomS

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I am attending International Military Helicopter conference webinar this week and on the First day, I watched Colonel Paul Morris presentation.


Cheers

Wait, they're still formulating requirements to replace an aircraft with an out-of-service date just four years from now? I doubt they could execute a completely commercial off-the-shelf procurement in this timeframe, and there is no way they'll settle for a totally COTS solution here.
 

Hood

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It seems tight but if they do buy off the shelf and don't load it with special goodies only the MoD wants, then it might be possible.
The sound bet is AW189s or H225Ms, I reckon Leonardo will be the prime candidate. If they buy Blackhawks we can have a good faceplam moment.
 

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For a radical solution, AAC do already have AS365 Dauphins in service - five of them with 658 Sqn supporting the SAS. So that would have the advantage of institutional familiarity with the design.

(Incidentally I think I had three of them fly overhead a couple of weeks ago - I initially thought they were NH-90s or AW139/149s as I saw the first two from underneath/tail on as they passed over my house, but the third joined at an angle and definitely had a fenestron)
 

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I think Don Berna was spot-on.
1614273180175.png

I won't quote him.

Chris
 

TomS

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It seems tight but if they do buy off the shelf and don't load it with special goodies only the MoD wants, then it might be possible.
The sound bet is AW189s or H225Ms, I reckon Leonardo will be the prime candidate. If they buy Blackhawks we can have a good faceplam moment.

Singapore was looking at ~4 years from order to initial deliveries for their H225Ms (ordered late 2016; delivery scheduled from 2020, slipped to 2021 due to COVID). Do we think MoD can go faster than that? And be operational immediately with the new type? No, either they're going to extend the already SLEPed Pumas some more, or lose the capability for a few years. Wanna bet which?

For a radical solution, AAC do already have AS365 Dauphins in service - five of them with 658 Sqn supporting the SAS. So that would have the advantage of institutional familiarity with the design.


Very radical. Dauphin is maybe half the size of the likely Puma replacements.

Plenty of North Sea-surplus EC225s kicking about.

With how much life left in them?
 

CJGibson

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Dunno, they didn't fly much after the wives set up their petitions.

Chris
 

JohnR

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I think I'd go more with AW189 rather than either a H225 or Blackhawk, which are both essentially a 50year old design.

Plus I wouldn't trust the MOD if they were to buy used H225 they probably try to get away with just respraying the existing Puma's and say they've bought replacements:D.
 

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