Irish Aer Corps to order 6 Helicopters

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tvpilot
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Irish Aer Corps to order 6 Helicopters

Post by tvpilot »

Irish Aer Corps to order 6 Helicopters :shock:

Sunday Independant.

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ ... e_id=10847

THE Irish Air Corps is to get six new helicopters in a mix of two types - including two able to carry a section of nine soldiers.

Helicopter manufacturers are eagerly awaiting tenders, expected to be published this week by the Department of Defence which is seeking four light utility and two larger utility helicopters.

The move comes nearly five months after Minister Michael Smith said a new fleet of light utility helicopters would replace the small Alouette, Dauphin and Gazelle aircraft.

With the Air Corps' main responsibility for search and rescue now privatised, the force is looking at providing more support to the army, including air mobility for troops. As a result, the specification for the new aircraft was changed from only one type of helicopter announced by Mr Smith last December.

The defence forces have also seen how vital air mobility is in the context of modern peace keeping, like the volatile situation in Liberia.

Elements of the Irish army battalion there have been able to conduct long-range patrols hundreds of kilometres from base using giant Ukrainian Air Force Mi-26 helicopters to carry their armoured cars and jeeps; Mi-8s to carry troops and Mi-24 gunships to provide "top cover".

Manufacturers expected to be in contention for the order include Eurocopter with its Ec-135 and Ec-145 helicopters; Agusta with its 109 helicopter, and Sikorsky with its S-76 or Blackhawk.

The six new aircraft will replace 15 light helicopters, some of which were bought in 1963.

The new fleet is also expected to be used for surveillance, inshore rescue, medivac, air ambulance, island relief, hospital transfers and training.

Meanwhile, the Air Corps will take delivery, before June, of the last of the eight Pilatus PC-9m training aircraft which have been bought for ?60m.

They can be armed with heavy machine guns and rockets and are expected to play a role enforcing an air exclusion zone over Dromoland Castle and Shannon Airport for the President George W Bush visit.

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Post by Clrd2Land »

The future for the Air Corps seems to be looking up... :roll:

I'd say the Blackhawk would be best suited for their needs, most versatile seeing the amount of roles it is going to be used for. Hopefully the Minister will make the right choice.

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Post by Guest »

Is it just me or does anybody else notice this build up of the Irish military.
I mean, with the Naval service getting all the new ships (Latest rumour is of a troop ship in the pipeline!!), the Army with all the top of the range APC's, and plenty more gadgets and gimmicks on the way, Several new airplanes for the aercorps and now this?
There was never a need for them in the past, when we clearly stated our Neutrality, we didn't have this equipment because there was no need for it!

I think either one of two things are happening.

1. We are caving into demands by the Europe and the U.S and preparing ourselves for entering into NATO, or.
2. The defence forces are just crying out for more fun expensive toys to play with, that really would not be of any real benefit to the country.

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Post by Joey D »

The Marchetti SF 260 have been in service since 1977 and are being replaced by the PC-9s.

The Alouette III came into service in 1963, Dauphin (1986), Gazelle (1973) are all being relpaced by this new tender for six choppers.

So as you can see, all that is happening is replacing old air frames.

The navy recently commissioned in 1999 L.?. R?isin and L.?. Niamh 2001 as offshore patrol vessels and decommissioned L.E. Deirdre in 2001.

I fail to see this "build up of the Irish military"

"plenty more gadgets and gimmicks" for the army are needed for peace keeping and Im sure if you were in Liberia you'd want gadets and gimmicks too, to keep you alive.

"There was never a need for them in the past, when we clearly stated our Neutrality, we didn't have this equipment because there was no need for it!
Theres always a need for equipment, but the defense forces have always been poorly equiped.

"preparing ourselves for entering into NATO" - If we were, Im sure that we wouldnt have to buy the equipment as the US would be bending over backwards to give/sell us equipment cheaply.

"more fun expensive toys to play with" - You must have missed the massive budget cuts to the defense budgets and the selling of barracks for new equipment.

"Is it just me or does anybody else notice this build up of the Irish military" - I think its just you!

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Post by Biturbo »

I don't think we feel that the Welsh are a military threat all of a sudden.

I think improved public finances are permitting a level of re-investment which has been long shirked by the Government - the Alouettes entered service in the early 1960s, our strikeforce is a bunch of souped-up Falcos with hardpoints and tip-tanks from the 1970s, the only jets we have are used for transporting politicos to Euro talkfests, etc.

All of which is fine if the equipment matches the perceived threat - with a low intensity guerrilla war on the northern border you need a bunch of low-flying, slow Cessnas acting as spotters rather than a squadron of impressive shiny F-16s, regardless of how much you might look like the poor relation at IAT. After all, this is my tax money we're talking about - these things don't magically grow on trees somewhere in Co. Laois.

In Government, real & hard decisions have to be made about spending, and frankly pushing money into the health and education systems is a bigger vote getter (and probably better utility for the taxpayer) than giving toys to the armed forces unless they really, really need them.

However, this parsimony may have been taken a bit too far. The Air Corps famously had a Puma troop-carrier for a while in the early 1980s which had to be returned because we supposedly couldn't afford to overhaul it.

If we need stuff, and can reasonably afford it, it should be acquired and its proper upkeep budgeted for. The questions are what do we need it for. From the list above, I would suggest the armed forces see their role as continued participation in peace-keeping exercises with other UN forces, rather than plotting to invade and forcibly occupy the Isle of Man.

A more searching question is whether the armed forces are actually up to the job - one has only to look at the alacrity with which the politically sensitive role of coastal SAR was taken off their hands once winchman 'blue flu' raised its ugly head. It says a lot for the perception of the armed forces' abilities in political circles that they were prepared to give what would be seem as a natural military competency to a private company.

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Post by Joey D »

"than giving toys to the armed forces unless they really, really need them"

These 'toys' wouldnt be the things that are keeping Irish soliders alive in hostile environments abroad?

Or do you mean 'really really need them' when soldiers start coming home in body bags?

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Post by Guest »

Lets not kid our selves here,
The token force down in Liberia is not on the same scale as previous Irish involvement in the Lebonan, yet they coped, very successfully by all accounts.
If Ireland wants a greater UN role, then trim off the fat, and get a specialised Unit for UN work, drawn from the Army.
The navy and Aer Corps/ Air force (from any country) have never been renowned for Peace keeping work.

[quote]when soldiers start coming home in body bags?[/quote]
This not the U.S, what is the point in pretending we have a similar role to the U.S military, this attitude of "How would you know, you were never there man!" Just doesn't cut it in this country.

Having long range troop carrying helicopters, for Ireland, a small island nation, with no genuine threat is a bit overkill don't you think?
Especially when you bear in mind, that if you do something minor like break your leg, you will be sitting in a hospital waiting room for nearly 17 hours before any body will even see you!

Why don't you just call a spade a spade, and stop trying to pretend we are something we a re not!

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Post by Joey D »

The token force down in Liberia is not on the same scale as previous Irish involvement in the Lebonan, yet they coped, very successfully by all accounts.

How can you compare Liberia and Lebanon? Of course the scale isnt the same, The Irish peacekeepers were in Lebanon for more than 20 years, so thats going to be obviously bigger than any other involvement.

They coped with 46 fatalities. 3 come to mine in 1989, when their lorry was blown up by a landmine set by Believers Resistance-Hezbollah guerrillas. The road was visually inspected that morning but there was no equipment to properly sweep the road for mines. (which was subsequently sent out with other detachments from Ireland)

If Ireland wants a greater UN role, then trim off the fat, and get a specialised Unit for UN work

Please point out the fat to be trimmed off.
I'd say that UNTSI (The United Nations Training School Ireland) is pretty specialised. Holding such courses in the Irish Military College as the International Course for Military Observers and Staff Officers (UNMOSOC) of Captain or Major rank. 198 Officers from 46 countries have been trained on this course.

""when soldiers start coming home in body bags?"
This not the U.S, what is the point in pretending we have a similar role to the U.S military"


You've totally missed my point. See the example above where mine sweeping equipment was sent to Lebanon after three soliders lost their lives. Why wasnt it there in the first place? Another knee jerk reaction.

Having long range troop carrying helicopters, for Ireland, a small island nation, with no genuine threat is a bit overkill don't you think?

Who said anything about long range? Any range for carrying troops would be a start. I woulnt say stuffing 6 soliders into the back of a Dauphin and then not having enough fuel to take them anywhere is right even in a small island.

Especially when you bear in mind, that if you do something minor like break your leg, you will be sitting in a hospital waiting room for nearly 17 hours before any body will even see you!

I wouldnt worry about sitting in a hospital waiting room, if there was any sort of a terrorist/chemical/nuclear accident(attack) in Ireland, because you'd be dead. Why? Because the minister of Defence has this notion of commendering civilian choppers in the case of emergencies, to transport troops and the EOD to clean the mess up.

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Post by Guest »

I could break down everything you just said and tried to patronise you, but that would just be silly!

However,

I do take exception to,

[quote]I wouldnt worry about sitting in a hospital waiting room, if there was any sort of a terrorist/chemical/nuclear accident(attack) in Ireland, because you'd be dead. Why? Because the minister of Defence has this notion of commendering civilian choppers in the case of emergencies, to transport troops and the EOD to clean the mess up[/quote]

In the highly unlikely event of a Nuclear attack, why would they transport military troops to the scene, after the damage had been done, its like, we are here now, who can we shoot?
And what is wrong with using Civilian choppers? Do you have any idea how much it costs to operate a chopper, even to just leave it sitting in a hanger, waiting for your "Terrorist attack" ?
The civilain Sikorsky's (Bloody Civilians!) are very well suited and consistantly train for disaster plans, and in terms of getting large EMS teams to a scene, no better machine!

And as for the landmine clearing equipment being in Ireland, and not the Leb, surely that is the fault of the military not government cuts!

When I say trim off the fat, I mean get rid of the usless portions of the defence forces, and with talk of a getting a couple of Blackhawk's for a small neutrol island nation not under threat, it just goes to show you who should be the first to go!

There is a role for the Aer Corps, maritime patrol and VIP transport, island relief, but if they are just playing around as the best funded flying club in Europe well there is no use for them!

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Post by Joey D »

I could break down everything you just said and tried to patronise you, but that would just be silly!

Im not trying to patronise you. But its easier to break everything down.

In the highly unlikely event of a Nuclear attack, why would they transport military troops to the scene, after the damage had been done, its like, we are here now, who can we shoot?

Re-reading my post, I made it a little unclear. I meant a terrorist/chemical attack or a nuclear accident (sellafield). The troops wouldnt be shooting at anything. But they would aid the civil powers in fire fighting, searching through the rubble, establishing lines of communication, medical help, suspect devices (EOD) etc etc.

And what is wrong with using Civilian choppers? Do you have any idea how much it costs to operate a chopper, even to just leave it sitting in a hanger, waiting for your "Terrorist attack" ?

These choppers that the Air Corps would have would be utility helocopters, so they wouldnt be sitting in a hanger waiting for anything. They'd have numerous roles, "waiting for a terrorist attack" would just be one such role.

The civilain Sikorsky's (Bloody Civilians!) are very well suited and consistantly train for disaster plans, and in terms of getting large EMS teams to a scene, no better machine!

Im sure they are well trained and im sure theres no better machine but my point is, how exactly would you round up these civilian choppers in a hurry, get them ready for troops, get troops in them and get the troop laden chopper to the area of need?

And as for the landmine clearing equipment being in Ireland, and not the Leb, surely that is the fault of the military not government cuts!

I cant say whether the equipment was in Ireland at the time or not, but Im sure that there certainly wouldnt be a surplus of this kind of equipment with the governments spending on defence at the time.

with talk of a getting a couple of Blackhawk's for a small neutrol island nation not under threat, it just goes to show you who should be the first to go!

If you leave the Hollywood steriotype of "Blackhawk Down" you'd see that it is quite a versitile heli which could serve a number of roles for the Air Corps and replace the aging airframes.

There is a role for the Aer Corps, maritime patrol and VIP transport, island relief, but if they are just playing around as the best funded flying club in Europe well there is no use for them!

You agree that ther is a role for the Air Corps in Island relief and yet you'd rubbish the suggestion of a Blackhawk a Medium Lift Heli?!. Maritime patrol is catered for by the two CASAs and VIP transport is/would be catered for with the new four Light Utility Helis(which are replacing the other airframes)

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Post by Guest »

When I say VIP transport, I am referring to the government Jet, Ireland is a small country, very lttle need to ferry politicians around by helicopter for their own political gain!

Unless we plan on claiming Rockall, there is no need for BlackHwaks or the EH101 or S92.
A twin Squirrel, an EC135 or AS365 (Dauphin) are more then up to the roll of servicing the off shore islands, which are not really far offshore!
Other numerous rolls they could partake in is, ferrying sandbaggers around on there weekly annual camp, eh, flying around training and training for the pending invasion, eh............

Getting the S61 fleet prepped readied and scrambled to Baldonnel or to the scene of an emergency will be much faster if operated by a civilian contract company who are on 24 hour alert, also we are very near guaranteed that all Heli's will be capable of airworthy and not experienceing the down time problems, that Air Corps aircraft have!

As for Landmine clearing, the military have an uncanny knack for blaiming the government when the Co's F'k up, e.g, Army deafness claims, and the tragic Controlled Flight into Terrain down in wexford.

The problem is, us taxpayers have to bear the brunt of the strength PDFORRA have on the government.

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Post by Joey D »

When I say VIP transport, I am referring to the government Jet, Ireland is a small country, very lttle need to ferry politicians around by helicopter for their own political gain!

I'd be of the same opinion, but its a role for the LUH none the less.

Unless we plan on claiming Rockall, there is no need for BlackHwaks or the EH101 or S92.
A twin Squirrel, an EC135 or AS365 (Dauphin) are more then up to the roll of servicing the off shore islands, which are not really far offshore!


Its a matter of opinion. You're correct in saying that they arent far off shore, but most are on the west coast, and the main Air Corps base is in the East.

Getting the S61 fleet prepped readied and scrambled to Baldonnel or to the scene of an emergency will be much faster if operated by a civilian contract company who are on 24 hour alert, also we are very near guaranteed that all Heli's will be capable of airworthy and not experienceing the down time problems, that Air Corps aircraft have!

When you talk of "the S61 fleet" are you refering to the one S61 on contract in Sligo? Not much of a fleet.

As for Landmine clearing, the military have an uncanny knack for blaiming the government when the Co's F'k up, e.g, Army deafness claims, and the tragic Controlled Flight into Terrain down in wexford.

And they're correct in doing so. Its up to the DoD to get proper funding.

The problem is, us taxpayers have to bear the brunt of the strength PDFORRA have on the government.

Im sure if the PDFORRA was as strong as you say, the Air Corps would still have SAR.

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Post by Guest »

[quote]When you talk of "the S61 fleet" are you refering to the one S61 on contract in Sligo? Not much of a fleet.
[/quote]

No I am talking about the 5 S61's on the EI reg owned by CHC

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Post by Joey D »

When you talk of "the S61 fleet" are you refering to the one S61 on contract in Sligo? Not much of a fleet.

No I am talking about the 5 S61's on the EI reg owned by CHC


This thread is about the Air Corps helis not CHC.

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Post by Guest »

Its more about how will the country react in the event of an emergency and who is going to be in the best position to cater for that emergency the air corps or a private contracter!
And everything is pointing to the little value or use the air corps are to the country.
When I talked about VIP transport, Mary Harney got blasted from all quartes for jumping on an allouette and going up to Leitrim a couple of years ago, she then had to pay it back out of her own pocket.

When you think about it, Island relief, its genrally once a year, if that, when an island is cut off completely from the mainland for over a week, and there are plenty of private heli companies in the west who would very gladly help out and not expect medals at the end of it.

Even the Gardai are hoping to privatise the GASU contract cause they are having to much unnecesary hassle from the Air corps

So i suppose the question is, is there even a point in having an air corps, if private companies can deal with these situations when they arise, with a fraction of the cost and none of the beureaucracy?

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