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.

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.


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.

U.S. troops take over air base in Syria, local reports say

U.S. special operations troops have reportedly taken over an airfield in northeastern Syria, potentially clearing the way to flow more American military support to friendly militias fighting the Islamic State group.A small team of U.S. troops is setting up a base camp at Rmeilan Air Base in the Syrian Kurdish region near Syria’s Iraqi and Turkish borders, according to local reports.

Source: U.S. troops take over air base in Syria, local reports say

From what I can tell, it’s not really an airfield so much as a dirt strip. Still, US forces operating inside Syria on the ground is a significant issue.

Russian knock-off Skeet warheads

The US developed the Skeet “brilliant” BLU-108 anti armor warhead as the the Sensor Fuzed Weapon, the splodey part of either the CBU-97 or the AGM-154 JSOW.

Half the challenge of designing a weapon like that is configuration control. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s relatively easy to copy. Which, surprise, the Russians have done.

Most of the video is a mish-mash of various old clips from Syria. And the first cluster munition they show is actually a runway denial weapon. But you can very clearly see a Russian knock off of the Sensor Fuzed Weapon early in the video.