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Air Corps SAR

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    roadmaster wrote: »
    I found this article from 2000 in the independent. The air corps had a shopping list including A109s for Sar

    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/up-up-and-away-why-our-air-corps-are-getting-plenty-of-lift-26113001.html

    All we ended up with was the PC9M. The EC135 did better in trials than the A109M. The PC12 was better than the Caravan. Never heard the C130 thing before.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,909 ✭✭✭sparky42


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    All we ended up with was the PC9M. The EC135 did better in trials than the A109M. The PC12 was better than the Caravan. Never heard the C130 thing before.


    Yeah, I remember at the time the C130 being floated, but it was DOA even as the article was written from memory.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Back in 2001/02 if the government had gone ahead with buying the S92 would the air corps have fully taken back over SAR or would a company like CHC be still involved? Also if I remember from the media then the air corps wanted the cougar over the S92 does anyone remember why


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    roadmaster wrote: »
    Back in 2001/02 if the government had gone ahead with buying the S92 would the air corps have fully taken back over SAR or would a company like CHC be still involved? Also if I remember from the media then the air corps wanted the cougar over the S92 does anyone remember why

    The other way around.
    The Cougar 2+ only existed on Paper. Eurocopter offered a modified Cougar for tests, but this was not the aircraft being offered.
    The EH101 was also on the list, it was in production, But it was the most expensive. (It wasn't Merlin, it was closer to what Canada ended up with for SAR).
    The S92 ticked all the boxes. Like Eurocopter they would not be able to deliver for another 3 years, but were willing to lend us a demonstrator as part of the deal until our own were delivered for training.
    CHC Scotia were also in the Running, willing to lease aircraft to us, most likely the Super Pumas they wanted to offload.
    The Eurocopter bid, however was the preferred option because we had experience (though short) of the older brother of type in 1982, and it ticked all the boxes then, and we had 30 years of working experience with their predecessor, Aerospatiale.
    But Sikorsky came back with a better deal. Buy our aircraft (2 for SAR, 2 for troop transport and an option for a 5th) and we (the US Government) will guarantee conversion work for FLS. (this was just at the beginning of the worldwide airline slump, and FLS needed the work). Great stuff says the DoD.
    Sikorsky announced as winner.
    EHI says "meh", until Eurocopter says "allo allo, we deedent know we could offer offsets, ziz change EVERYTHING", and EHI goes "Mamma Mia!".

    Here's a snippet from Kevin Meyers commenting on the process at the time:
    Our own evaluation team has been looking for new helicopters to re-equip the Airs Corps. How, I wonder, did Eurocopter make its presentation? Did it say, Look, sorry, our Cougar 2+ isn't ready yet, but the Big Wheel at Eurodisney will give you a really good idea of how it goes up and down, and we haven't made the engine yet, but Francois here can draw it for you, if m'sieur has a pencil and a bit of paper. . ?

    The Air Corps options lie between a Sikorsky S92, which is still being developed and which has no orders yet; the EH 101, which is flying with Canada, Italy, the UK and Japan, which the Portuguese evaluers loved and Lisbon is almost certain to order; and, of course, the Cougar 2+, which isn't flying quite yet, but we have a little Airfix kit here, which with a little tube of glue, comme ca, will give m'sieur an excellent impression of its capabilities - perhaps we can discuss these over foie gras and skylarks' tongues at La Tour D'Argent? And finally, there is the tender from Bond Helicopters to supply and maintain either the untried and untested S92 or a version of the Puma, so tried and tested that it is a flying Amstrad. The Bond offer would sideline and perhaps even kill the Air Corps's proud engineering traditions. Is that really what we want?

    At which point, I can sense coming over the horizon the purchasing principles which 20 years ago caused us to buy a hibernicised version of the Dauphine, which turned out to be a Swiss penknife of a helicopter: it could and can do just about everything poorly, and virtually nothing well, though the reception of Lyric FM on its radio is rather good if you land on Lyric FM's roof and stick the chopper's aerial directly into the station transmitter.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    I expect to be having the same arguments as Don Lavery's article in another 20 years.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    I expect to be having the same arguments as Don Lavery's article in another 20 years.

    Not just don this article from 2004

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/sos-call-for-air-corps-search-and-rescue-1.1128606?mode=amp#aoh=16092577105418&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Looking back at those articles reminds me how many promises successive governments have broken in the last 30 years. There has been 2 Defence White papers (with numerous EAG reports before that) and each time, the recommended equipment purchases were mostly ignored, while the cost saving measures were implemented in full.

    Time to draw a line in the sand. The NS did so when instead of having it's crew replace themselves on patrol to keep 9 ships in service, the FOCNS said "not enough crew, I'm Parking up 2 ships.
    The AC could do likewise, but instead are falling over themselves to get 4 new aircraft in service, do Air Ambulance, GASU and Maritime patrol, all the while bringing Covid samples to be tested in Germany, or collecting PPE from overseas in aircraft designed for other things.
    And all the while pushing to be involved in SAR too. Instead of making Govt Transport unavailable for ministers due to staffing. Publicly announcing it is incapable of delivering samples for testing or collecting PPE because it has no suitable aircraft.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,116 ✭✭✭Psychlops


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    All we ended up with was the PC9M. The EC135 did better in trials than the A109M. The PC12 was better than the Caravan. Never heard the C130 thing before.




    C130 Has been pushed/suggested/talked/wished by IAC flying Crews for years, but they only fly on a daily basis what would they know & why would or should they be consulted on what to fly.:rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,116 ✭✭✭Psychlops


    roadmaster wrote: »
    Back in 2001/02 if the government had gone ahead with buying the S92 would the air corps have fully taken back over SAR or would a company like CHC be still involved? Also if I remember from the media then the air corps wanted the cougar over the S92 does anyone remember why




    I would hope so, time & worldwide experience has shown how more efficient civilian organizations are at this type of thing, they are able to pool from all areas, no pilots in Ireland? Fine look elsewhere etc Look, I am a huge fan of our IAC & champion them whenever possible but SAR is just not for them.


    The IAC are the Military Air Arm of the Irish Defence Forces, their main role on Military.ie is support of the Army, not even air defence of the state none of the above is currently being provided to a great level, numbers are leaving at a quick rate, too few airframes to be effective, EAS is provided but on a daylight service only.


    With search & rescue to be a truly 24/7/365 system you need to concentrate on SAR & nothing else so you can not be SAR mon-wed & flying the PC9 or PC12 thu-fri, this is what SAR demands, over on IMO ex IAC personel say when the IAC has SAR the helicopter fleet concentrated on this & this alone which meant no aircraft for actual Military Operations.


    https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?27802-No-Role-for-the-Air-Corps-says-Minister-for-Defence-in-SAR&p=481266&viewfull=1#post481266


    https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?27802-No-Role-for-the-Air-Corps-says-Minister-for-Defence-in-SAR&p=481599&viewfull=1#post481599


    https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?27802-No-Role-for-the-Air-Corps-says-Minister-for-Defence-in-SAR&p=481912&viewfull=1#post481912


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭Stovepipe


    Psychlops wrote: »
    C130 Has been pushed/suggested/talked/wished by IAC flying Crews for years, but they only fly on a daily basis what would they know & why would or should they be consulted on what to fly.:rolleyes:

    The C130 was rejected a long time ago by the Dept of Defence on the basis that (a)there wasn't enough work for a 130,(b) commercial hire-ins were able to cope with trooping to Lebanon and other places (c) a huge amount of time would be spent on training in the actual aircraft (wearing it out prematurely) because of the shortage and cost of existing C-130 simulators (d)you'd need more than 1 and there was no political appetite to pay for more than 1 (e)any maintenance greater than normal servicing would have to be done in the UK or America, driving up maintenance costs as Ireland has no overhaul experience on the C130 and no infrastructure for same, ie,no Irish MROs deal with them.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Stovepipe wrote: »
    The C130 was rejected a long time ago by the Dept of Defence on the basis that (a)there wasn't enough work for a 130,(b) commercial hire-ins were able to cope with trooping to Lebanon and other places (c) a huge amount of time would be spent on training in the actual aircraft (wearing it out prematurely) because of the shortage and cost of existing C-130 simulators (d)you'd need more than 1 and there was no political appetite to pay for more than 1 (e)any maintenance greater than normal servicing would have to be done in the UK or America, driving up maintenance costs as Ireland has no overhaul experience on the C130 and no infrastructure for same, ie,no Irish MROs deal with them.

    Same excuse could apply to any aircraft currently in the Air Corps.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Psychlops wrote: »
    I would hope so, time & worldwide experience has shown how more efficient civilian organizations are at this type of thing, they are able to pool from all areas, no pilots in Ireland? Fine look elsewhere etc Look, I am a huge fan of our IAC & champion them whenever possible but SAR is just not for them.


    The IAC are the Military Air Arm of the Irish Defence Forces, their main role on Military.ie is support of the Army, not even air defence of the state none of the above is currently being provided to a great level, numbers are leaving at a quick rate, too few airframes to be effective, EAS is provided but on a daylight service only.


    With search & rescue to be a truly 24/7/365 system you need to concentrate on SAR & nothing else so you can not be SAR mon-wed & flying the PC9 or PC12 thu-fri, this is what SAR demands, over on IMO ex IAC personel say when the IAC has SAR the helicopter fleet concentrated on this & this alone which meant no aircraft for actual Military Operations.


    https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?27802-No-Role-for-the-Air-Corps-says-Minister-for-Defence-in-SAR&p=481266&viewfull=1#post481266


    https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?27802-No-Role-for-the-Air-Corps-says-Minister-for-Defence-in-SAR&p=481599&viewfull=1#post481599


    https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?27802-No-Role-for-the-Air-Corps-says-Minister-for-Defence-in-SAR&p=481912&viewfull=1#post481912

    We ill have to agree to disagree. A nation as small as ours should be able to keep all in house. If the pay and conditions where correct there is no reason we could not get enough man power to keep a major fleet in the air. Surely a person joining the air corps joins to fly or be a misson crew member . If you keep that job varied between potential overseas missions, Sar,gatsu etc and they are happy with there working conditions they will not want to leave especially with what has happened in the private sector.

    Its true many nations have privatisation of SAR but it is also true many have not such as the Belgians and the Canadians. Imagine if we had a fleet of EH 101s, it could be split between SAR and troop transport with no extra training.

    But at the end of the day as was mentioned above we will be having this argument again as the government will probably still have done nothing


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    roadmaster wrote: »
    We ill have to agree to disagree. A nation as small as ours should be able to keep all in house. If the pay and conditions where correct there is no reason we could not get enough man power to keep a major fleet in the air. Surely a person joining the air corps joins to fly or be a misson crew member . If you keep that job varied between potential overseas missions, Sar,gatsu etc and they are happy with there working conditions they will not want to leave especially with what has happened in the private sector.

    Its true many nations have privatisation of SAR but it is also true many have not such as the Belgians and the Canadians. Imagine if we had a fleet of EH 101s, it could be split between SAR and troop transport with no extra training.

    But at the end of the day as was mentioned above we will be having this argument again as the government will probably still have done nothing

    Problem is, most of the Air Arms that do SAR also have a large rotary wing fleet. They then have a large pool of Pilots and aircrew to draw from.
    We dont. Instead we expect to be able to train military pilots and aircrew for their primary role which will be SAR. It's doomed to failure. As it stands we barely have enough helis to keep pilots current on type. This has been an issue for some time. A recent Fatal accident found the person expected to sign off pilots was himself not current. The only reason we could do it up to the early 2000s, was because the aircrew were expected to work hours which are illegal and unsafe in the SAR world, but they were flying under military rules, which were able to bypass civil rules. To hell with safety. It's not like SAR crew need to be at their most alert while on duty or anything...
    To keep one aircraft available 24 Hrs, you need at least 5 crews, fully trained. 10 pilots, and 10 winchmen/paramedics. The days of winchmen being just first aid trained are gone. Pre-Hospital emergency care has changed. Doing so has saved lives. Winchman is first on scene and needs to be able to stabilise casualty before transport.
    If you can't retain pilots, how do you expect to retain Flying Paramedics?
    At the end of the day the solution is simple.
    Increase Defence Budget. Increase pay across the Defence Forces. Increase size of Air Corps. More Utility helicopters, before you go buying dedicated SAR types. Something useful to build up flying hours for pilots and aircrew before they do SAR, and something worthwhile for them to rotate back to when they decide to leave SAR work, something that keeps their skills within the force.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭punchdrunk


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    Problem is, most of the Air Arms that do SAR also have a large rotary wing fleet. They then have a large pool of Pilots and aircrew to draw from.
    We dont. Instead we expect to be able to train military pilots and aircrew for their primary role which will be SAR. It's doomed to failure. As it stands we barely have enough helis to keep pilots current on type. This has been an issue for some time. A recent Fatal accident found the person expected to sign off pilots was himself not current. The only reason we could do it up to the early 2000s, was because the aircrew were expected to work hours which are illegal and unsafe in the SAR world, but they were flying under military rules, which were able to bypass civil rules. To hell with safety. It's not like SAR crew need to be at their most alert while on duty or anything...
    To keep one aircraft available 24 Hrs, you need at least 5 crews, fully trained. 10 pilots, and 10 winchmen/paramedics. The days of winchmen being just first aid trained are gone. Pre-Hospital emergency care has changed. Doing so has saved lives. Winchman is first on scene and needs to be able to stabilise casualty before transport.
    If you can't retain pilots, how do you expect to retain Flying Paramedics?
    At the end of the day the solution is simple.
    Increase Defence Budget. Increase pay across the Defence Forces. Increase size of Air Corps. More Utility helicopters, before you go buying dedicated SAR types. Something useful to build up flying hours for pilots and aircrew before they do SAR, and something worthwhile for them to rotate back to when they decide to leave SAR work, something that keeps their skills within the force.

    100% agree with everything said here!

    also to add to this that most countries with military doing SAR use it to keep training up to date for combat SAR, so they incur the cost and resource burden as every rescue at home improves the skills that can be used in combat recovering downed pilots etc- something which will never be an issue for us


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    Problem is, most of the Air Arms that do SAR also have a large rotary wing fleet. They then have a large pool of Pilots and aircrew to draw from.
    We dont. Instead we expect to be able to train military pilots and aircrew for their primary role which will be SAR. It's doomed to failure. As it stands we barely have enough helis to keep pilots current on type. This has been an issue for some time. A recent Fatal accident found the person expected to sign off pilots was himself not current. The only reason we could do it up to the early 2000s, was because the aircrew were expected to work hours which are illegal and unsafe in the SAR world, but they were flying under military rules, which were able to bypass civil rules. To hell with safety. It's not like SAR crew need to be at their most alert while on duty or anything...
    To keep one aircraft available 24 Hrs, you need at least 5 crews, fully trained. 10 pilots, and 10 winchmen/paramedics. The days of winchmen being just first aid trained are gone. Pre-Hospital emergency care has changed. Doing so has saved lives. Winchman is first on scene and needs to be able to stabilise casualty before transport.
    If you can't retain pilots, how do you expect to retain Flying Paramedics?
    At the end of the day the solution is simple.
    Increase Defence Budget. Increase pay across the Defence Forces. Increase size of Air Corps. More Utility helicopters, before you go buying dedicated SAR types. Something useful to build up flying hours for pilots and aircrew before they do SAR, and something worthwhile for them to rotate back to when they decide to leave SAR work, something that keeps their skills within the force.

    I fully agree it can't be done overnight but put a plan in place for a 5/10 year transion period in place. Like you say its all about budget Could the air corps do it on the current budget hell no. Put whatever equipment and cash in that is needed then anything can be done


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Couldn't do it on current budget with current aircraft or current staffing. These things don't happen overnight. Even when we got the dauphin and finally had one 24 hour SAR heli, it took at least 2 years before it was fully integrated into service. Of course, ministers using the air corps as their personal taxi service didn't help.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭punchdrunk


    roadmaster wrote: »
    I fully agree it can't be done overnight but put a plan in place for a 5/10 year transion period in place. Like you say its all about budget Could the air corps do it on the current budget hell no. Put whatever equipment and cash in that is needed then anything can be done

    But why? That’s the real question, why give it back to the IAC? I really think that it’s delusional to believe they can do it cheaper and provide the current level of service so what’s the benefit?
    Half arse it and save money?
    spend a huge amount of money to provide new helis and crew to provide SAR but add no caplibility to the wider military, or do you want them to double or triple or quadruple job? (SAR,mil transport, VIP, ARW etc) it’s been proven by the past that this is a disaster and is incompatible with a proper 365/24/7 SAR ops.

    I’m not hearing a good arguement for a switch so far


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    punchdrunk wrote: »
    But why? That’s the real question, why give it back to the IAC? I really think that it’s delusional to believe they can do it cheaper and provide the current level of service so what’s the benefit?
    Half arse it and save money?
    spend a huge amount of money to provide new helis and crew to provide SAR but add no caplibility to the wider military, or do you want them to double or triple or quadruple job? (SAR,mil transport, VIP, ARW etc) it’s been proven by the past that this is a disaster and is incompatible with a proper 365/24/7 SAR ops.

    I’m not hearing a good arguement for a switch so far

    Who said about half arseed,you expand the air corps in crew and equipment so it doesn't effect military ops.

    If you want to expand your argument why stop with SAR. Why not take NAS of the hse and give to privateers


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭punchdrunk


    roadmaster wrote: »
    Who said about half arseed,you expand the air corps in crew and equipment so it doesn't effect military ops.

    If you want to expand your argument why stop with SAR. Why not take NAS of the hse and give to privateers

    The entire DF is half arsed- poorly paid, under funded, poorly equipped, poorly structured,

    How many of our naval vessels are tied up as we speak? what’s needed is top to bottom reform, it’s not the fault of the lads on the ground, they do great work with one hand tied behind their back.

    The difference is that the NAS is fit for purpose.
    (Still room for improvement though)


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    punchdrunk wrote: »
    The entire DF is half arsed- poorly paid, under funded, poorly equipped, poorly structured,

    How many of our naval vessels are tied up as we speak? what’s needed is top to bottom reform, it’s not the fault of the lads on the ground, they do great work with one hand tied behind their back.

    The difference is that the NAS is fit for purpose.
    (Still room for improvement though)

    P31 Tied up due to crew shortages.
    One of the P40s tied up for same reason.
    (both will probably not return to sea, as they are due for replacement. Some suggesting P31 will end her days as an accom ship for the new East Coast operation. Remains to be seen.
    P51 Tied up mid refit.
    P52 tied up under repair after recent fire.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    roadmaster wrote: »
    If you want to expand your argument why stop with SAR. Why not take NAS of the hse and give to privateers

    Why not indeed?

    The difference is, of course, we are where we are. The NAS is equipped and manned (more or less) to fulfill the ambulance requirement for the State. The same cannot be said of the Air Corps and SAR.

    I'm in favour of a full cost benefit analysis for really all State services, except policing and national defence. If a CBA determines the highest quality and most efficient service for SAR can be provided by a properly equipped Air Corps, then go ahead.

    Likewise, if a CBA found privatising the National Ambulance Service was in the best interests of the patients and the wider health system, I'd opt to privatise it. Many nations have.

    But back to what I've always said about the Air Corps and SAR - private providers can take on and let go crew and aircraft as the contract requires. The Air Corps are required to train and employ pilots, crewmen, technicians, controllers etc as full time State pensionable employees which is both time consuming and inflexible. The current retention crisis in that regard indicates that we cannot take that risk with SAR provision, which must be manned and available to full capacity at all times.

    So, for the foreseeable future, I think SAR should be a private contractor and so should any air ambulance service in the State.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    On a side note I know pilots have being recommissioned recently, I wonder have they gone on a major headhunt exercise to get pilots and technicans to re enlist with the current issues in civil aviation


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    roadmaster wrote: »
    On a side note I know pilots have being recommissioned recently, I wonder have they gone on a major headhunt exercise to get pilots and technicans to re enlist with the current issues in civil aviation

    They don't need to, Pilots are jumping at the chance to get back to a secure job. All the Airports in Ireland are full of parked up aircraft, with engine intakes covered. The Airline industry is in a worse state now than post 2011, or during the Icelandic Volcano.
    Cousin was travelling through Schipol on Dec 31st. Empty. Usually that time of year the place is nuts, people who travelled for Christmas day trying to travel back before the new year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,694 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    They don't need to, Pilots are jumping at the chance to get back to a secure job. All the Airports in Ireland are full of parked up aircraft, with engine intakes covered. The Airline industry is in a worse state now than post 2011, or during the Icelandic Volcano.
    Cousin was travelling through Schipol on Dec 31st. Empty. Usually that time of year the place is nuts, people who travelled for Christmas day trying to travel back before the new year.

    So that mean they will be back to full strength shortly?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,949 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    roadmaster wrote: »
    So that mean they will be back to full strength shortly?

    Don't think anyone of us here can say that. We have no idea what retirements, promotions, rotations, overseas duty etc are coming down the tracks to effect capacity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭punchdrunk


    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/not-enough-military-pilots-to-maintain-airborne-security-pp0rlkk0q

    The Department of Defence has been told that the number of pilots available in the Air Corps is below the “critical mass” needed for airborne security, new records show.

    Eight Irish pilots are being trained with the US military in Alabama, as the Defence Forces warned that premature retirements from the Air Corps had reached a “critical level”.

    A record released under a freedom of information request revealed that a business case prepared for the Department of Defence said the number of pilots available in the Air Corps had fallen below “the critical mass required to sustain the provision of airborne defence and security operations”.

    The record — which was released with redactions for security reasons — warns that “immediate remedial action” was required to rebuild available manpower.

    It said that outsourced training would be crucial “to restore the provision of adequate airborne defence and security services”.

    The defence forces and the Department of Defence declined to confirm how much the training was going to cost the taxpayer.

    However, internal records from the department give an estimate of €650,000 to €850,000 for the training of four pilots.

    The business case said that the Air Corps had been hit by a wave of “premature voluntary retirements”, including the short-notice departure of one senior pilot.

    It said that there was a global shortage of pilots, and that these were being felt particularly “acutely” in military air forces.

    “The consequence of this is that there is very limited, if any, military pilot training capacity in external air terms,” it said.

    It added that the Air Corps had looked at alternative training options in UK joint military and civilian flight schools, but that there was no availability due to “national shortages” there.

    The business case said that training for specific military skills such as formation flying, low-level flight operations, tactical flying, and air firing, meant that market options were limited.

    The Air Corps had engaged with the military in the UK and the US “at a very senior level” to discuss training options.

    “Only the US has indicated that they have the capacity to deal with a military pilot training request,” the document read.

    The business case provided further background on just how short-handed the Air Corps had become, with retirements leaving them at a “culmination point”.

    Staffing levels of experienced pilots, especially helicopter commanders, were below critical mass, which had a knock-on effect on training.

    It added: “Following a research visit to the US Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama to assess the viability of helicopter training, the US have offered military pilot training capacity.

    “The training aircraft being offered are similar to [our] aircraft in terms of size, performance, and training output; necessitating minimal ‘differences’ on return … while maintaining training standards and timelines.”

    The defence forces also prepared a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis on the move. It said that it would alleviate pressures on the Air Corps, and increase available resources.

    However, it added that the Air Corps would no longer have “direct and exclusive supervision” of trainees and that the costs involved were “unavoidable”.

    Separately, Department of Defence records also warned of “organisational risk” if steps were not taken to manage the loss of experienced pilots.

    A strategic review marked “confidential” stated: “Such a training surge, which is envisaged will last four years, would reduce the overall training pressures on the flying training school; shorten Air Corps cadetships to two years, qualify more pilot officers sooner, and mitigate training pressures risk.”

    Asked for comment on the records, the defence forces said that they had nothing to add.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    Fort Rucker use the EC145, Known in US service as the UH-72 which sits slightly bigger than our EC135, and smaller than the AW139.
    SOCKA6TWJBCSLFZSSPJXYSMTMM.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,355 ✭✭✭punchdrunk


    no issue with the airframe used, more the fact that they need to send cadets in the first place. I'm sure they'll receive great training in the US but it's alarming that the situation has deteriorated to this point, it further illustrates that the air corps don't have the man-power and training capacity to expand their roles currently.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,373 ✭✭✭Dohvolle


    punchdrunk wrote: »
    no issue with the airframe used, more the fact that they need to send cadets in the first place. I'm sure they'll receive great training in the US but it's alarming that the situation has deteriorated to this point, it further illustrates that the air corps don't have the man-power and training capacity to expand their roles currently.

    It throws away any notion of neutrality, when the Corps is no longer self sufficient. Bad enough when you can't train your own in-house, but you can't even train them locally.
    Upshot is those pilots will have ideal flying conditions most of the year (except late Autumn, during Hurricane season), and will come home as not just heli pilots, but Combat heli pilots.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,909 ✭✭✭sparky42


    Dohvolle wrote: »
    It throws away any notion of neutrality, when the Corps is no longer self sufficient. Bad enough when you can't train your own in-house, but you can't even train them locally.
    Upshot is those pilots will have ideal flying conditions most of the year (except late Autumn, during Hurricane season), and will come home as not just heli pilots, but Combat heli pilots.


    It doesn't really, I mean the Washington Journal has an article in the last couple of days where Sweden has openly admitted that they have a US Green Beret Unit operating with them for training, Switzerland just went back to 24/7 QRA after working extensively with the RAF to bring them up to strength to do so, are they throwing away neutrality?



    Us making use of US training capacity isn't anything close to that (and surely ignores joint training in the past like Special Forces anyway.


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