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14 octobre 2015 3 14 /10 /octobre /2015 11:50
photo NL MoD

photo NL MoD

 

October 10, 2015: Strategy Page

 

The Netherlands has ordered another 14 American CH-47F transport helicopters (at $67 million each). These will replace the eleven older CH-47Ds, which the Dutch are retiring rather than rebuilding as CH-47Fs. The 22 ton CH-47F can carry ten tons of cargo, or up to 55 troops, and has a maximum range of 426 kilometers. Its max speed is 315 kilometers an hour. Typical missions last no more than three hours. It is the best helicopter for use in placed like Afghanistan, having proved able to deal with the dust and high altitude operations better than other transport choppers. The Dutch already have six CH-47Fs, which they ordered in 2010 when Dutch troops were part of the NATO force in Afghanistan.

 

Back in 2010 the Dutch found out how useful the CH-47 was when they sent three of their CH-47Ds to replace five Cougars. The Eurocopter Cougar EC725 is an 11 ton aircraft with a useful load of 5.5 tons, a top speed of 324 kilometers an hour, a range of about 850 kilometers and can stay in the air for about five hours per sortie. The Cougars had been in Afghanistan since late 2009 and the Dutch found, as other countries had, that the CH-47 was more effective in places like Afghanistan than the EC725 (or the similar UH-60). The CH-47D is a 22 ton aircraft with a max load of ten tons. The first CH-47s entered service in 1962, able to carry only five tons. Some 750 saw service in Vietnam where 200 were lost in action. Between 1982 and 1994 500 CH-47s were rebuilt to the CH-47D standard. Now many CH-47Ds are being upgraded to the CH-47F standard. As a result of all this, the CH-47 will end up serving at least 75 years even without another major upgrade.

 

The Netherlands uses their military helicopters a lot for peacekeeping missions, where Dutch helicopters have become a welcome addition because of the skill of the Dutch crews and the reliability of their well-maintained helicopters. The Dutch don’t have a large army or a lot of special operations troops. But they maintain a modern and effective fleet of military helicopters and these are in big demand by peacekeepers.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 11:35
Procurement: How The Indian Army Got Its Apaches

 

September 29, 2015: Strategy Page

 

India, after three years of deliberation by the procurement bureaucrats and politicians, approved the purchase of 22 American AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships and 15 CH-47F transport helicopters. Such delays are not unusual for India where decades of corrupt foreign arms purchases have been exposed in the last decade and the made those still involved in those decisions extremely cautious. It usually takes external events to move decisions forward. In the case of the American helicopters the primary motivators were Russian sales to Pakistan and a feud between the Indian Army and Air Force. The Russian aspect has to do with the growing hostility of India to Russian weapons. For half a century Russia has been the major supplier of imported weapons. But since the 1990s, as India freed up the economy (from fifty years of crippling state controls) and finally reached the limit of tolerance for poor quality and support that characterized Russian weapons, India began to buy weapons from the West. Although more expensive the Western stuff was more effective, reliable and often cheaper to operate than Russian systems. Now Russia has made the situation worse by selling helicopters to Pakistan, the arch enemy of India. India seems content to let the Pakistanis have the Russian dreck while India proceeds to upgrade with Western equipment. Since 2001 India has bought over $12 billion worth of American weapons and military equipment. The U.S. is the largest source but Israel and several European defense companies are also major suppliers. The Russian arms salesmen are not amused.

 

Another factor in helicopter procurement is an ongoing feud between the Indian Army and Air Force about who controls AH-64s. The air force has long operated the helicopter gunships, arguing that these helicopters are crucial for certain air combat missions like attacking air defense radars and other helicopters. The army generals were furious over that and demanded that the government set the air force straight. The army was particularly anxious to get the 22 Indian AH-64s as soon as possible, as these are generally recognized as the best gunships currently in service anywhere. Now those helicopters are on the way and apparently the army will have them.

 

Back in late 2012 the Indian Army thought it had won a major victory over the Indian Air Force when the government agreed to transfer most attack helicopters from the air force to the army. That was supposed to mean the army gets control of over 270 armed helicopters (22 AH-64s, 179 light combat models, and 76 armed Indian made transports). The air force would continue to operate a dozen or so elderly Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships, until they retire by the end of the decade. These are export versions of the Russian Mi-24. Even then it was clear that Russia was not the preferred helicopter supplier anymore.

 

The army had long complained that air force control of the armed helicopters, which were designed to support army operations, were sometimes difficult to get from the air force in a timely manner. Another aspect of this deal was a new agreement by the air force to station some transport helicopters at army bases in Kashmir, so that there will not be a delay when transport is needed for an emergency.

 

This sort of problem between the army and air force is not unique to India and is actually quite common. It all started back in the 1920s, a decade after aircraft became a major military asset. For example, at the start of World War I (1914-18), the British Royal Navy had more aircraft than the Royal Flying Corps (which belonged to the army). But at the end of World War I, it was decided to put all aircraft under the control of the new Royal Air Force (the former Royal Flying Corps). The navy was not happy with this and just before World War II broke out, the admirals got back control of their aircraft, at least the ones that operated from ships (especially aircraft carriers).

 

The British army expanded its Army Air Corps during World War II, to gain control over artillery spotter aircraft, gliders (for parachute divisions), and a few other transports for supporting commando operations. After World War II the Army Air Corps mainly controlled the growing fleet of transport and attack helicopters. The Indian Air Force has always refused to allow the Indian Army to do the same thing after modern India was created in 1947. The Indian armed forces was long led by men who started out as members of the British Indian Army and continued to note, and often copy, British practices.

 

Thus the Indian Air force, like its British counterpart tended to keep trying to control everything that flies. British Royal Air Force generals recently demanded control of everything that flies, believing that this is more efficient. The army and navy, not to mention the experience of many other nations, said otherwise. At the very least the army needs to control its helicopters and some small transports. In Russia the army always controlled ground attack aircraft, as well as some fighters. In the United States the Marine Corps controlled its own fighters, light bombers, and helicopters. It made a difference, especially to the marines on the ground, that the marine aircraft were being flown by marines.

 

Another problem with a unified air force is that it becomes, quite naturally, air force centric. This is understandable and the air force proceeds to develop strategies, and tactics, that emphasize looking at military matters from an air force viewpoint. Before World War II this led to the doctrine of strategic bombardment. This was supposed to be a decisive weapon but it wasn't. When nuclear weapons came along the air force believed that it finally had a way to make strategic bombardment decisive. But it didn't, as ballistic missiles (another form of artillery) became the key delivery system for nukes. Nuclear weapons were so destructive that they became more of a threat than a weapon that you could use. In fact the very existence of nukes resulted in them not being used again since the first two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945. The fact of the matter is that wars are still ultimately won by the ground forces. As the army likes to point out, the ultimate air superiority weapon is your infantry occupying the enemy air bases. Everyone else (the navy and air force) is there to support the infantry in actually winning the war.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 07:35
CH-47F Chinook helicopter

CH-47F Chinook helicopter


28.09.2015 by Livefist
 

It's a phrase thrown about often in this business, but in the compulsively bumpy world of Indian aviation procurement, there are few occasions when an item chosen for the armed forces is a certain, unequivocal game-changer. The Indian government's decision to clear a deal for 15 Boeing Ch-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters steps far from the slapdash, frequently fallible procurement paths the armed forces have taken all too often. For one thing, the Chinook won a competition. Two, the government's decision to close the deal comes nearly three years of negotiations later -- an indication, perhaps and hopefully, that India has closed the best deal it could for the product. But now that the decks are truly cleared for a direct commercial sale contract between the Indian MoD and Boeing Defense, it's useful to examine sentiments within the Indian Air Force, which will operate the Chinooks possibly from its Chandigarh base, but possible closer to the country's capital too. Here are five reasons why the CH-47F Chinook in IAF colours (as detailed for the first time by artist Saurav Chordia above) could be a true game-changer in Indian service:

 

1. The IAF has had a troubled run with its spare heavylift rotory wing capability. Of the four Mi-26 Halos it bought in the eighties, three remain (one was written off after a severe crash-landing five years ago). But even before the accident, the platform has had typically severe serviceability issues that have mostly seen only one in the air at any given time -- not the worst of scenarios for such a small fleet, but grossly less than what the IAF wanted from these machines. Replaced with a full-sized fleet of new generation helicopters will give IAF planners the kind of heavylift rotory wing flexibility they've never had before. Squadron-sized numbers (and, of course, newer circumstances) will shore up serviceability and put more numbers in pilots' hands. The last few years have demonstrated that the ability to have more than one of these helicopters in the air at any given time is the difference, quite literally, between life and death. More numbers of heavylift copters in aero-bridge operations during humanitarian relief or disaster reconstruction work will be crucial.

 

2. Trials in 2010-11 convinced the IAF in no small measure that the tandem rotor capability would enormously boost what they were already doing with the conventionally framed Mi-26, especially in high-altitude operations. A comparison of what the tandem rotored Chinook could do in terms of landing approach capability, centre of gravity envelope etc., as opposed to the aerodynamic, performance and safety constraints on the CH-53 Super Stallion/Mi-26 proved to be too substantive to ignore. In simple terms, the IAF was convinced the Chinook could get more done, cleaner and safer.

 

3. The Chinook is substantially smaller and with a lower payload capacity than the Mi-26, but a higher degree of loading/unloading flexibility (especially rear loading) coupled with  a significantly greater number of cargo/troops/equipment configurations convinced the IAF that switching to the tandem rotor machine made more sense than explore the very capable Mi-26T2, that sports better engines, avionics and safety features than the variant the IAF currently operates. The Chinook's performance with under-slung cargo also won the IAF over.

 

4. The Chinook's flying qualities, agility in the air, significantly lower rotor diameter and landing flexibility will allow the IAF to fly it where it couldn't have even thought of taking the Mi-26. High altitude border areas, along narrow ridges and valleys, to deliver equipment, humans or materials for construction, road-building/repair, communications infrastructure building, disaster relief, casualty evacuation or any of the several other mission profiles the Chinook is built for. Why is that a game-changer? Because the IAF cannot satisfactorily deliver heavy payloads to precise sites even now. If not fully in some areas, tandem rotor operations will close the gap significantly, allowing the IAF to deliver closer to sites of requirement than ever before.

 

5. The Chinook is only the second heavylift helicopter the IAF will have ever operated. Unlike the Mi-26  that has performed strictly a troop/cargo transport role, the Chinook will obviously have a special missions profile as well. While the IAF has been looking at the MH-47 special operations configuration, the CH-47F variant it has chosen will definitely be used for special operations training and exercises, and will necessarily integrated with the larger joint special forces orbat. The IAF, a master at finding innovative new uses for its kit, could throw up several surprises behind the stick of a Chinook.

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9 juillet 2014 3 09 /07 /juillet /2014 11:35
CH-47F Chinook helicopter

CH-47F Chinook helicopter

 

Jul 8, 2014 Rajat Pandit, TNN

 

NEW DELHI: India is now close to inking major deals worth over $2.5 billion for two iconic American helicopters, the Apache attack and Chinook heavy-lift choppers, which thrashed their Russian rivals both technically and commercially earlier.

 

Defence ministry sources on Monday said the around $1.4 billion deal for 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow gunships, armed with deadly Hellfire and Stinger missiles, and the $1.1 billion one for 15 CH-47F Chinooks, equipped with powerful contra-rotating tandem rotors, are "almost ready" now.

 

"These two deals for IAF will be placed for approval before the first defence acquisitions council (DAC) meeting to be chaired by Arun Jaitley on July 19. Thereafter, the cases will be moved for the cabinet committee on security's final nod," said a source.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
A CH-47F Chinook helicopter of the US Army. Photo army.mil

A CH-47F Chinook helicopter of the US Army. Photo army.mil

 

 

7 April 2014 army-technology.com

 

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has been awarded a multi-million dollar subcontract for the modernisation of the US Army's CH-47F Chinook Avionics Trainers (CAT).

 

The deal, awarded by Usfalcon under the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) SPOTS V contract, requires the company to perform upgrade services to four of the simulators currently located at the army's 128th Aviation Brigade in Fort Eustis, Virginia, US.

 

Specifically, this includes the aircraft product improvement programme one (PIP1), which will ensure concurrency of the simulators to the aircraft, as well as other product lifecycle and functional improvements, such as the networking of simulators to enable trainees to perform more advanced maintenance scenarios.

 

Kratos Training Solutions senior vice-president Jose Diaz said that the maintenance of the CH-47, which is a vital asset for troops, is critical to the army.

 

"Based on our detailed knowledge of these simulators, coupled with the use of our advanced software integration lab capability, device downtime will be minimised and student training will continue during the upgrade period," Diaz said.

 

Manufactured by Kratos, the CH-47F CAT is a high fidelity hands-on training system (HOTS) designed to train soldiers in fault isolation procedures (FIPs), remove and install (R/I) tasks, and system and subsystem familiarisation in a fully immersive physical environment.

 

Additional tasks include servicing and inspection, maintenance operational checks (MOCs), and component identification.

 

It is currently used to support heavy-lift helicopter maintenance training at the US Army's Aviation Logistics School (USAALS) in Fort Eustis.

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29 août 2013 4 29 /08 /août /2013 16:20
Boeing looks abroad for CH-47 sales

29 August 2013 by Zach Rosenberg - FG

 

Washington DC - Boeing is looking to international customers to sell the CH-47F Chinook, including remanufacturing existing D models.

 

The company, speaking with reporters on 28 August, listed several nations as interested parties, mainly in the Middle East region. An important factor for many international customers is commonality with the US Army, which by far has the largest CH-47 fleet and is generally a major ally to existing customers. The USA currently operates more than 250 F-models and recently signed a contract for 155 more, in addition to options.

 

Boeing's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based production line has production booked through 2019. The company also has enough sales campaigns that, if brought to fruition, would allow for production through 2023. As the USA is expected to operate the aircraft through 2050, it is likely that more work is pending for the future.

 

"My personal opinion is in 2060 we'll have a 100-year airplane. There will be an F-model out here today flying," says Mark Ballew, the programme's director of business development.

 

Nations listed as likely customers are Saudi Arabia - which Boeing is campaigning to buy 24 CH-47s - Morocco (3), Qatar (8) and Turkey (8). The company also hopes to sell remanufacturing services for older aircraft to the Netherlands (8), Singapore (10) and the US Special Operations Command (68). Although this has not been listed, interest has been received from Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Thailand, Egypt and Libya.

 

Deliveries for existing orders are ongoing in Canada and the UK. So far, three have been delivered to both customers out of their 15-strong orders. Deliveries to Turkey are scheduled to begin in 2015.

 

An additional seven MH-47Gs are on "handshake" contract with the US Special Operations, with a formal contract signing expected at the end of September.

 

The F-models being delivered to Canada are the first with a substantial upgrade of the electrical and avionics systems. The electrical system has been wholly revamped, to include two 60kV generators and an upgraded auxiliary power unit. An L-3/Wescam electro-optical/infrared ball turret has been added, as has the digital advanced flight control system to allow precision control. The revamped system also includes the common avionics architecture system.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Old Reliable Beats Out New And Expensive

July 10, 2013: Strategy Page

 

The U.S. Army recently signed a $4 billion deal for another 177 CH-47F transport helicopters. These will cost $22.6 million each and there is an option to add 28 more CH-47Fs to the deal. The first of these new helicopters will arrive in two years. This is a rare multi-year contract, which cuts the price about 16 percent. Congress prefers to allow only deals where the politicians can diddle with contracts on an annual basis. But because this drives up costs, there is pressure to go with the cheaper multi-year contracts and the army managed to get one for its huge CH-47F order.

 

The huge projected cost of developing a new transport helicopter caused the army to decide a decade ago to spend $11.4 billion dollars to refurbish its fleet of existing CH-47 transport helicopters instead. The CH-47 has proved to be a very successful design and none of the proposed replacements was dramatically better than an upgraded CH-47. This upgrade effort will result in a fleet of 513 CH-47F helicopters (including 397 rebuilt CH-47D choppers, 55 new build 47Fs ones plus some special versions.) The CH-47F has been so successful that the army was able to persuade Congress to allow the fleet to be expanded with more new choppers as well.

 

The rebuilt CH-47Ds became CH-47Fs that are good for another twenty years of service. The F model CH-47 has up-to-date digital communications, is easier to maintain, and cheaper to operate. The CH-47F can carry up to 55 troops, and has a maximum range of 426 kilometers. Its max speed is 315 kilometers an hour. Typical missions last no more than 2.5 hours.

 

Three years ago the CH-47F helicopter got its first sustained experience in a combat zone, and performed well. This was a major factor in getting the money to buy more of them. A company of 20 CH-47Fs arrived in Afghanistan during 2009 and soon found themselves often flying eight missions a day, day after day. The CH-47Fs had a 90 percent availability rate. Although the CH-47F has been flying since 2001, and were first delivered to the army in 2009, it takes sustained use in a combat environment to smoke out the last bugs and maintenance problems. In Afghanistan there were some problems with the flat panel displays, but these were quickly worked out. There were several other minor problems, mostly having to do with all the dust in the environment, and the temperature extremes (often below freezing in Winter, and over 45 degrees/113 Fahrenheit in Summer). This was tough on the maintainers and manufacturers' reps initially, but after a year, maintenance problems were no longer an issue. This is important, because in Afghanistan, the CH-47 is a critical form of air transportation, including combat assault.

 

photo EMA

photo EMA

Since the 1990s the U.S. Army had used UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopters for combat assault missions, while the larger CH-47 "Chinook" was used just for moving cargo. But the army found that, in the high altitudes of Afghanistan, the more powerful CH-47 was often the only way to go in the thin mountain air. While doing that, the army found that the CH-47 made an excellent assault helicopter. In many ways, it was superior to the UH-60, mainly because the CH-47 carries more troops and moves faster and farther. The CH-47F has even more powerful engines, and is even more valuable for high altitude assaults. It is the best helicopter for use in Afghanistan, having proved able to deal with the dust and high altitude operations better than other transport choppers.

 

The first CH-47s entered service in 1962, able to carry only five tons. Some 750 saw service in Vietnam and 200 were lost in action. During 1982-94, 500 CH-47s were rebuilt to the CH-47D standard. SOCOM operates 31 MH-47Ds and Es, which have additional navigation gear. These are being upgraded to MH-47F standards and the fleet expanded to 61 helicopters. As a result of all this, the CH-47 will end up serving at least 75 years. The original CH-47F upgrade program and new builds will not be completed until 2018. The new contract will extend production into the 2020s.

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12 juin 2013 3 12 /06 /juin /2013 12:20
CH-47F Chinook Helicopter source htka.hu

CH-47F Chinook Helicopter source htka.hu

RIDLEY TOWNSHIP, Pa., June 11 (UPI)

 

Boeing and the U.S. Army have signed a multiyear, $4 billion contract for as many as 215 CH-47F Chinook helicopters.

 

The five-year contract calls for an initial 177 helicopters to be delivered beginning in 2015, with options for 38 more.

 

The multiyear deal, instead of new contracts annually, will reportedly save the government more than $800 million to procure the aircraft.

 

"This multiyear contract provides unprecedented savings for the U.S. Army and American taxpayers," said Col. Robert Barrie, U.S. Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters. "But the most important benefit is the continued support these aircraft will provide to soldiers in the field and civilians in distress."

 

The order will eventually bring the Army's CH-47F total procurement close to its target of 464 aircraft. The Army's current CH-47F fleet number 241 aircraft.

 

"The Army is benefiting not only from the efficiencies of a multiyear contract but also from the production efficiency gains Boeing and our suppliers have made," said Chuck Dabundo, vice president, Boeing Cargo Helicopter Programs. "That includes the $130 million investment we made to modernize the Chinook factory."

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12 juin 2013 3 12 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
L'armée américaine commande pour 4 milliards de dollars d'hélicoptères

11 juin 2013 Par Julien Bonnet - Usinenouvelle.com

 

La commande porte sur 177 appareils CH-47F Chinook, avec des options pour 38 supplémentaires, précise le communiqué de Boeing.

 

Le groupe aéronautique américain Boeing a annoncé mardi 11 juin avoir remporté un contrat évalué à 4 milliards de dollars pour livrer des hélicoptères à l'armée américaine.

 

La commande porte sur 177 appareils CH-47F Chinook, avec des options pour 38 supplémentaires, précise le communiqué qui ajoute que les livraisons sont prévues à partir de 2015 et vont s'étaler sur cinq ans.

 

Le contrat de longue durée va permettre "d'apporter de la stabilité aux ouvriers" de Boeing et à ses sous-traitants et leur permettre "d'investir dans les outils de production", a commenté Chuck Dabundo, un responsable des programmes d'hélicoptères du groupe américain cité dans le communiqué.

 

La commande est d'autant bien venue que l'heure est plutôt à la réduction des dépenses fédérales aux Etats-Unis, ce qui touche en premier lieu le secteur de la défense. Ce contrat de plusieurs années permet toutefois de réaliser des économies "évaluées à plus de 800 millions de dollars", a souligné Robert Barrie, un responsable de l'armée américaine, cité dans le communiqué.

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