Design review to unlock Sikorsky HH-60W funds

27 January, 2016 BY: James Drew Washington DCUS air force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter programme is on track to complete a preliminary design review in April that will unlock funds for five more aircraft.Programme officials from the service and Sikorsky say that during 2015 the two sides came to an agreement on more than 1,000 design requirements and 3,000 subsystem specifications through the government’s “system requirements review” process.Sikorsky’s $1.3 billion CRH contract awarded in June 2014 included funding for four initial engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft, and if it completes the air vehicle design review, the company can expect more funding for five system demonstration test article (SDTA) aircraft – bringing the total order to nine, of an eventual 112 rescue helicopters.After assembling its suppliers and completing much of the design in 2015, Sikorsky says it is confident of capturing incentives in the contract by completing development in 69 months, six months ahead of schedule.

Source: Design review to unlock Sikorsky HH-60W funds

The Air Force wanted, and should have gotten, a minor variation of the Army’s MH-47G special operations variant of the CH-47F Chinook. But no… after the contract competition, the other bidders protested to the GAO, and the contract was voided.

Mind you, that contest cost money. Billions of dollars have been spent. And not one airframe was bought. But a decade was lost while CSAR assets are aging. The HH-60G was a fine helicopter- back in 1983. The “Whiskey” will likely be a pretty good helicopter. Except that it isn’t what the Air Force wants. It’s slower and has a much shorter range than any Chinook variant, and has less payload. Granted, most of the time, CSAR is only picking up one or two people. But the larger payload of a Chinook would allow more self defense options.

Now if the Air Force can just find a replacement for the UH-1N in the missile security team role.

Day of Remembrance

Today is the Day of Remembrance at NASA, where we honor the crews of Apollo 1, STS-51L Challenger, and STS-107 Columbia. It’s the 30th anniversary of Challenger somehow, but it really doesn’t seem like all that long ago. While this brought tears to my eyes…
wells challenger
(credit to Clyde Wells, Augusta Chronicle)
this is the one that hit me harder today.
apollo 1 pray
I showed that to one of the young engineers, young enough he doesn’t remember Challenger, told him about this photo being sent to the Apollo spacecraft program manager with the message, “It isn’t that we don’t trust you, Joe, but this time we’ve decided to go over your head.” I said, “How much confidence do you think they had in their vehicle?” and yet they got in anyway. Brave men.

Survive the Fight

Yeah… we’ve come a long way, baby.

First, dig the cops radio.

Second, don’t shoot a shotgun from the hip. Any decent trap or skeet shooter will tell you that pointing is natural from the shoulder.

I *am* a fan of natural pointing for close range pistol shooting. That’s at variance from most firearms instructors.  But hey, my limited interaction with the guys in special operations tells me that they teach it. That is, you’re not looking at the sights, you’re looking at the target. Target focus tends to bring your pistol to bear on the target. We’re natural predators that way. No, that’s not going to work at 15 yards. But it works just fine at 3 yards.


Rules for thee but not for me

I read this article by Kurt Schlichter and wondered again at the word games Clintons play. She didn’t send any email marked classified because someone copied and pasted it for her. I don’t handle classified information, but there’s times when I get what’s called “sensitive but unclassified” or SBU. This is stuff like proprietary data that belongs to a company like ATK or Boeing or export-controlled information like a fair amount of propulsion work or any kind of mechanical drawing. Those have to marked SBU and sent encrypted. What happens if you are careless with SBU? Answer: “Individuals may be subject to administrative sanctions if they disclose information designated SBU. Sanctions include, but are not limited to, a warning notice, admonition, reprimand, suspension without pay, forfeiture of pay, removal or discharge.”

So say Hillary does get elected. How are you going to discipline the rank and file for, say, sending a white paper on turbine blade design unencrypted to a colleague when the head honcho had over 1,000 classified emails affecting national security sent unencrypted? Or is it going to be like the IRS, and the level of punishment depends on who you donated to in the last election?

UH-72 Lakota

The UH-1H was replaced in front line service with the US Army by the superb UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. But the Blackhawk costs a lot more than a Huey, and for a  lot of missions, it is more helicopter than is needed. And so, here and there, the Huey actually soldiered on for decades after it was replaced in the assault helicopter battalions. It was used for command and control, search and rescue, MEDEVAC, disaster relief and as a trainer.

But old helicopters get expensive. And so, the Army went looking to replace its fleet of Hueys. After quite a few upheavals and disasters in helicopter procurement and development in the 80s, 90s, and early years of the 21st century, the Army decided to buy a commercial, off the shelf existing design. And this helicopter, while painted green, would in fact not be equipped, nor intended, to serve overseas in a theater of war. Instead, it would fulfill the stateside operational support mission, thus freeing up UH-60 Blackhawks from those roles. And it would be cheaper to buy and operate than Blackhawks (or Hueys, for that matter).

After a competition, the Army made the rather controversial decision to buy a European design, the Eurocopter EC-145. Known in the Army as the UH-72A Lakota, its been in service since 2006. While some components are built overseas, most fabrication and final assembly is in a US plant.

In 2014, the Army decided to replace it’s TH-67 Creek helicopter trainers with the UH-72A, bringing the current fleet size up t0 about 350.

Really, the only difference between a civilian EC-145 and a UH-72 is the addition of an ARC-231 radio.

Here’s some lovely scenes of a few flying through the southwest.


CDR Salamander: If This is Defending LCS, You’re Doing it Wrong

The events of the last year have, in a way, been a Pyrrhic victory for long standing LCS critics. It would have been the best thing for our Navy and its nation if we had been wrong – and as I mentioned years ago, I wished I were proven wrong – but the facts are clear; this sub-optimal platform will saddle our Navy for the next three decades with lost opportunity, China doll deathtraps that will remind everyone of the cost of the Transformationalists’ Tiffany Navy.In the global marketplace of ideas, the verdict is in. No one is trying to replicate the LCS concept. While we have been making excuses during the long, slow rollout of both LCS variants, the Dutch, Danes, Germans, French, Russians and others have commissioned and deployed superior sub-7,000 ton warships that, unlike LCS, are ready to go to war tomorrow. They are very real, self-deployable warships with provable performance metrics that LCS can’t seem to get off the PPT.

Source: CDR Salamander: If This is Defending LCS, You’re Doing it Wrong

It’s always fun to watch ‘phib go to town on the LCS and its defenders.

What’s quite frustrating is two things. First, as Emperor Palpatine said, “Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” It’s not like people weren’t sounding alarm bells from the very first days of Streetfighter.

Second,  many saw the traditional US Navy low end combatant, the open ocean ASW frigate was likely not the best solution to the perceived threats at sea.  What’s really frustrating is that the US Navy used to be pretty good at designing small combatants that were quite versatile and multi-mission. Take a look at the various oceangoing mine-warfare craft of World War II that were so fundamentally sound they also served as the basis for an entire class of patrol escort ships.

Snowcialism: You Didn’t Shovel That!

Even when you did.  Apparently, the Washington DC Police Chief doesn’t want people who dig out parking spots to reserve them.


She admonishes not the poacher who swings his car into the spot vacated by the person who put in the effort to get out and go to work, but instead scolds the shoveler.  How dare you, despite the sweat equity you put into clearing all the plow residue from a parking space, feel any slight entitlement to reap the benefits of your work?

If there is ever a microcosm of the entire political philosophy of the Marxist clowns who run that benighted crap-hole of a city, and the even bigger Marxists living there who are supposed to run our country, this is it.  In other cities, particularly northern ones, being a poacher will earn universal contempt.  It can also be a leading cause of sudden tire deflation.  And an occasional skull thumping.  I have also seen nice cars packed to the gills with snow, presumably courtesy of the person who sweated and cussed and hacked at ice to clear the space now poached.  A more helpful and realistic message from ol’ Chief Lanier would have been something like this:

@DCPoliceDept Chief Lanier: Though someone can’t technically “save” a parking space they just busted a nut shoveling, it would be wise not to be a d*ckhead by poaching the space.  And if you do, don’t be surprised if someone dents their snow shovel on your head.  #LazyPoachingBastard  #ShovelYourOwnDamnedSpace

But when lazy poaching bastards who let other people do the work for them are a key constituency, I spose you aren’t so inclined.



The Lovely DB


Chinese Submariners

This is a pretty interesting video. It’s an older Type 033 Romeo diesel-electric boat used for training. It’s technology from the 1950s, but the Chinese built them well into the 1980s.


A couple thoughts. Voice pipes! Who still uses voice pipes? And isn’t that a little problematical from a water-tight integrity view?

Second, the food looked really good. But not having a proper mess deck is really weird.

The video is for domestic Chinese consumption, so of course the PLAN comes across looking pretty good.