Wednesday, September 27, 2017

MV-22 Assessment Methodology

War Is Boring website posted an article a few years ago about the MV-22 that I managed to miss which is a shame because it offered some insights into the MV-22. (1)

The author’s main point is that people want to view the MV-22 as a one for one replacement for the CH-46 and, therefore, compare it to the CH-46 and this is not the correct way to look at it.  Here’s the author’s perspective,

“…the Osprey didn’t replace the CH-46—it displaced the CH-46. The older copter made way for an entirely new type of aircraft, not another helicopter.”

Thus, says the author, to compare the MV-22 to the CH-46 on an exact one for one capability and performance basis is inappropriate.  Here’s an example from the article,

“To argue that an V-22 is junk because it doesn’t loiter like a CH-46 is to assume that the V-22 is a helicopter and should loiter like one.”

And,

“…the Osprey’s fragility and susceptibility to heat are notable weaknesses. … It’s not a helicopter. It’s a tilt-rotor aircraft. It should act accordingly. … To prevent overheating, Osprey pilots avoid helicopter mode. They quickly transition to plane mode and move around their objective.”

This is a potentially insightful way to look at, and evaluate, the MV-22 or any new and different platform.  If it can accomplish the mission, just in a different way, then a direct point for point comparison is invalid and misleading.

Note:  The point of this post is not to evaluate the MV-22, it’s to note the author’s point about how to evaluate a new and different platform.

The author also goes on to acknowledge that there are missions and tasks that the MV-22 simply can’t do that the CH-46 can, and vice versa.  He also makes an interesting point about the combination of the MV-22 and the UH-1Y being able to fill all the needed missions.

The author’s point about not evaluating new and, especially, different platforms on a direct point for point basis comparison with the platform they are “replacing” is an excellent one and is my takeaway from the article.  I’ll attempt to factor that approach into my future assessments of platforms.  The LCS, for example, is not a Perry FFG and should be evaluated on its own merits rather than directly compared to the Perry.  Now, that doesn’t mean that the LCS is suddenly a good platform – it just means that there is a better assessment methodology.  That assessment may still reveal a substandard platform!

The F-35 is another example.  So many people want to compare the F-35’s air to air combat capability directly to an F-16/15/18 and that may not be appropriate.  F-35 supporters claim that the aircraft will perform air to air quite effectively, just in a different way.  If it can, that’s fine.  If it can’t, then it’s a failure.  Of course, there are other factors like cost, maintenance, reliability, availability, etc. that can render the aircraft a failure irrespective of any given mission/task performance.

The other takeaway from the article is the author’s more realistic “specs” for the MV-22.  He notes, for example, that the troop carrying capacity is not the commonly cited 24 but rather 18 or less under actual field conditions.  Similarly, he notes that the CH-46 never carried more than 12 troops, despite theoretical claims.

The author also notes that the MV-22’s range with a load of troops is around 233 miles on a single tank.  Compare that to some of the range figures floating around the Internet.

-          Navy Fact File:  860 nm (unstated fuel load) (2)
-          Air Force Fact Sheet for CV-22:  500 (one internal auxiliary fuel tank) (3)
-          Aviation Zone:  2100 nm (unstated but obviously with max internal fuel tanks) (4)
-          Global Security:  251 nm (24 troops; unstated fuel load) (5)
-          Boeing Website:  428 nm (24 troops, unstated fuel load) (6)

That’s quite a range (sorry about that!) of ranges!  It appears that 200 nm is about the actual field range.  Interesting.  I have no idea how that compares to the CH-46 actual field range with a load of troops.  The wide range of ranges further illustrates the points made in the recent post about combat radius (see, “CombatRadius”) 

The article was fascinating and I encourage you to follow the link and read it for yourself.  There was a lot more to it.  It was one of the more balanced articles I’ve seen on the MV-22.




____________________________________

(1)War Is Boring website, “Actually, The V-22 Ain’t Half Bad”, Vincent Mazzurco, 25-Jul-2014,





35 comments:

  1. It's an interesting take on the MV-22. But, in the case of the LCS, the LCS was sold as a diect replacement for the Perry's, along with other classes of ships. In this case, it's valid to compare the LCS to the Perry-class.

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    1. "In this case, it's valid to compare the LCS to the Perry-class."

      You completely missed the point! Yes, you compare the MV-22 to the CH-46 or the LCS to the Perry but you do so on a mission/task accomplishment basis, not a point for point basis.

      If the CH-46 accomplishes a mission/task by hovering and the MV-22 can't hover well but can equally accomplish the mission/task by flying in circles then the MV-22 is just fine for the mission/task even if it doesn't do it in the exact same way. You see? You don't criticize the MV-22 because it can't hover well, you evaluate whether it can accomplish the mission/task even if it does it in a different way.

      Similarly, we shouldn't compare the LCS to the Perry on a point by point basis but, rather, on a mission/task accomplishment basis. That the LCS has different speed (better), endurance (worse), magazine storage (depends), maneuverability (better), firepower (depends but probably worse) are just meaningless points. What matters is whether the LCS can accomplish the Perry's mission/tasks (the LCS wasn't really a direct replacement for the Perry but we'll set that one aside for the time being). If it can but just goes about it differently, that's fine. If it can't, no matter how it goes about it, that's a failure.

      Now do you see?

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  2. You exposed the twisted logic for the V-22. The CH-46 provided most of the vertical lift for the Marine Corps. Nearly all these missions are less than 50 miles and many involve external loads that the V-22 rarely does for safety reasons. So what replaced the CH-46? Nothing. This is why the CH-53Es got wore out and suffered more mishaps in recent years. Read about those mishaps, and you wonder why a huge heavy lift helo was assigned a task better suited for a Blackhawk.

    The Corps could easily buy the proven Navy MH-60S to replace the medium lift role, which the Navy chose over the old HV-22 idea because V-22 downwash is four times greater. The MH-60s have side doors, side gunners and hellfire missiles, and can refuel and rearm aboard surface combatants, the V-22 is too big and heavy to land on those.

    If the proposal was for a fleet of 50 expensive MV-22s to provide a squadron for each Marine Air Wing for rare special operations that need greater range and speed, that makes sense. But the Corps needs reliable medium lift to operate in the dirt and hover a lot, and must now task the Hueys or CH-53Es for these demands since it lost half its true vertical lift. V-22 rotors begin to overheat in a hover.

    Some point out that the Army Boeing CH-47F can lift twice as much as a V-22, costs half as much to procure and maintain, with a much higher readiness rate. Since Boeing produced and maintained its small cousin, the CH-46E, it could easily produce a naval version of the 47F. Google "Marines" and "CH-47" to see lots of stories of the Army flying Marines around Afghanistan.

    Whenever this is mentioned, V-22 salesmen complain that comparison is unfair, because the CH-47F is heavy lift while a V-22 is medium lift. But the V-22 is twice its size in empty weight! The V-22 is a heavyweight size lifter with poor medium lift performance. (8000 max vertical lift per pilots and the Marine Corps Aviation Plan), not the bogus specs listed everywhere else) 6000lbs is safer and maybe less as the most recent V-22 mishap showed when it bounced off an LPD overloaded with 18 Marines in the cabin.

    All the V-22 provides is 40% more speed, but a slower landing and no external loads and much less payload than a similar sized helo. Rotorcraft expert Nic Lappos once commented on the V-22 idea: "If speed is all that matters, we'd all be driving Ferraris."

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    1. Good points. I've never understood why the Marines just had to have the CH46's , especially the new one that is outrageously priced. But whatever.

      I've never understood the desire for the Mv-22. Speed? At what cost? At some point, the speed of your egress or ingress is irrelevant if you can afford enough of them or have to rework all of your tactics to comply with the limitations of these expensive aircraft. The LZ's they require... the downwash... well... I'm just not a fan.

      I cannot think of a mission that was better handled by MV-22's that CH-47s or Blackhawks (variants) couldn't have done just fine. The MV-22 get's used b/c they have them. Just like your point about the Marines wearing out their 46's... b/c they had them to fly... not b/c they were well suited to the missions.

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    2. LOL, you seem to be mad that the V-22 replaced the CH-46 instead of a Blackhawk but you're also mad that the V-22 can't lift what a CH-47 can even though the V-22 is at least equal to the Blackhawk and far better than the CH-46 in external lift performance. A V-22 can lift a M777 but they usually don't, just like a Blackhawk. How often do you see Blackhawks hauling M777s? Almost never because that's what CH-53s and CH-47s are for. Did you read the OP?

      You see a lot of CH-47s in Afghanistan because it's AFGHANISTAN. Are we going to be focused on chasing terrorists through the mountains at 6,000 ft and higher forever? Why would we buy CH-47s when we have CH-53Es and soon CH-53Ks and don't want to give those up to share CH-47s with the Army?

      The V-22 is also much closer to the CH-47 and CH-53 in number of combat troops carried than the Blackhawk or UH-1 or CH-46. You can fit more than 18 guys in a V-22 but it's very cramped and usually unnecessary anyway. 24 guys isn't quite enough for two full squads of marines to begin with, but 18 guys is enough for a full squad of marines plus one attachment with a little room to spare. Any other arrangement and you may need to meet up with your battle buddies under fire. And 18 guys in a V-22 is still way better than trying to cram a squad of marines into a UH-1 or, notionally, a UH-60, and you have to take the crashworthy seats out to do it. The CH-46 technically had the room for 24 guys but could only lift about 5,000 pounds of payload, at sea level, on a good day. That's about 210 pounds per person! Now do you understand why the manuals say to plan on carrying just 12 or 13 guys in a Phrog?

      V-22s also free up CH-53s to haul external loads and heavier and bulkier internal loads than the V-22 can handle. The V-22’s speed enables it to make more trips than the CH-53, so internal cargo capacity starts to even out. UH-1s and SH-60s can handle anything that doesn't require the range of a V-22 or CH-53. And what would a S-92 variant or some uber CH-46F do that UH-1s and SH-60s and CH-53s can't?

      Flyaway costs are $26 mil for each UH-1Y, $72 mil for each MV-22, and will be $87 mil for each Ch-53K if you believe that number. Clearly, the V-22 is a disaster!

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    3. I'm not butt-hurt. Good rebuttle and I'd not considered the fast speed results in faster turn-around or resupply. I was mostly thinking in money/bang for the buck. I forgot to mention the 53's. You are right of course about 'Stan and the 47 shining there. Not a hill I'm gonna die on, I just was figuring cost basis and I've never been a fan of tilt-rotor... but that's just me. I'm not a logistics guy, so flying around bullets, beans and personnel, it's probably helpful to have the mix you speak of. I was just reacting to how much money ( IMO ) gets thrown at G-Whiz stuff and then the military comes up with ways to make them indispensable... and that goes back a long way in history, no doubt.

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    4. You carefully neglected to mention the flyaway cost of the CH-47F (~35 million). The 47Fs can carry more internally, they carry more externally, they are cheaper to fly, and they can land in many more places and on more ships. They would also have commonality with the rest of the branches. They dont have quite the speed or the range, but they dont need that for 90% of the missions they are asked to do. And for that 10%? Well, a fleet of 9 CH-47s and 1 MV-22 would save you ~300 million in procurement alone, and untold millions every year in flying costs.

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    5. Tiltrotor limitations are known in U.S. Army Aviation. The V-22 program began with the U.S. Army, which dropped the idea after learning that flat helicopter rotors and twisted aircraft propellers are quite different. A tiltrotor uses a compromise "proprotor" that provides half the efficiency in either mode. Just before the CV-22s arrived in Afghanistan, the Army dominated Special Operations Command voiced its displeasure with the CV-22's performance. An article in the March 28, 2010 issue of "Aviation Week", quoted Army Special Operations Colonel Clay Hutmacher, of the 160th Special Operations Squadron, explaining why no more CV-22s were desired:

      “Above 4,000 ft., there’s a significant [hovering] limitation on the V-22,” he said. Tiltrotor engineers concede that while the V-22 hovers well in many situations, the special twist and size of its “proprotors” leave it unable to carry as much useful load pound-for-pound as most helicopters hovering in similar conditions.

      “I’m not disparaging the V-22,” Hutmacher said. Hovering ability, however, is critical to the 160th, because “at the end of the day, our mission is going to terminate in a hover.”

      A month later, a CV-22 crashed in Afghanistan when it was unable to terminate in a hover. A MV-22 crashed in Syria today because it was unable to terminate in a hover, just like the MV-22 that crashed in Yemen early this year.

      Note that after the Special Ops Command began operations with its CV-22s, it chose to order more MH-47Gs, which have larger fuel tanks and outrange the CV-22, and carry twice as much. An H-47 can carry a basic HMMWV, while a V-22 can't even carry the old jeep. Its cabin is smaller than a CH-46E, even though its twice the size in empty weight!

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    6. You win. Compromise is bad. Speed is useless. Designing new aircraft is easy and being a critic is hard. I look forward to your rants when the Chinese are flying tiltrotors and you complain that our helicopter fleet is too slow.

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    7. I don't have intimate knowledge of the CH-46/47/53 helos and only a bit more knowledge of the MV-22 so I can't comment on the relative merits of each. What I have observed, though, is the almost visceral hatred that critics have towards the MV-22. We see the same kind of hatred directed towards the LCS and F-35. In contrast, the Zumwalt is a colossal failure and no one seems to hate it. The difference is that the MV-22 (and LCS and F-35) were overhyped to the point of fraud. People react badly to that kind of ridiculous hype and display hatred. If the MV-22 had been presented as a complementary aircraft designed to fill some niches, people would have been much more reasonable in their assessments and reactions. Instead, the MV-22 has been claimed to be able to perform every helo mission/task better than a helo, every fixed wing task better than fixed wings, COD better than COD aircraft, and additional missions/tasks that no one could do before. It's been proposed as the carrier delivery aircraft, an ASW platform, a gunship, and an aerial tanker despite obvious limitations. In other words, it's been crammed down our throats with obviously fraudulent claims instead of presenting it as an aircraft that has certain positive characteristics that allow it to fill some niche roles.

      It appears that most of the performance claims for the MV-22 are unrealistic (troop capacity, range, external loads, etc.). People fight back against things they see as obvious lies and distortions. If supporters would dial back their claims to more realistic levels it would go a long way towards calming and rationalizing discussions.

      The same is true for the LCS and F-35. I mentioned that the Zumwalt does not incite the same kind of hatred among critics and it's because the Zumwalt program has not gone too far into fantasy world in making their performance claims. The claims have been moderate and the critics have been reasonable and subdued.

      Something to think about.

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    8. The US Army developed tiltrotors and rejected them. The US Navy rejected the HV-22 and bought MH-60S, but got the COD V-22 forced on them with no competition, because it would easily lose.

      The USAF wants no more CV-22s, and recently chose the new UH-60W for CSAR. The CV-22 has complex, fragile composite parts and cost much so its cost per flight hour is $83,000, more than the C-5B.

      http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/

      The US Coast Guard wants none. The Russians built some tiltrotors and scrapped them. The Chinese have no interest nor the Europeans. We tried to give some to Israel but they didn't want them.

      Boeing made no attempt to sell tiltrotors in the civilian market. Bell developed a small civilian tiltrotor but it was too unsafe for FAA cert even operating from hard surfaces. It turned it over to its Italian partner

      https://www.compositesworld.com/news/augustawestland-buys-out-bells-share-of-ba609-tiltrotor-joint-venture

      Then Bell promptly developed a new medium lift helicopter for sale.

      http://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/helicopters/bell-525-relentless-redefines-heli-market

      And the Italians AW-609 is still in development after two decades and may be cancelled since one crashed two years ago for unknown reasons killing both test pilots. Yet now the pressure builds to buy the similar Valor for the Army anyway!

      https://theaviationist.com/2015/10/30/agustawestland-aw609-tilt-rotor-prototype-aircraft-crashes-in-italy-killing-two-test-pilots/

      The Zumwalt was interesting but at least it was promptly cancelled when it failed. But the V-22 pushed on after it failed. Most Marines dislike the V-22 and they see its all about corruption. What else can one think when the Commandant of the Marine Corps retired two years ago and took a job with a V-22 parts maker just 40 days later!

      http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/general-james-f-amos-usmc-ret-joins-lord-corporation-board-of-directors-300016280.html

      And the V-22s have gone back through the production line very five years for a SLEP rebuild, and plans were recently announced to do this every 5-6 years.

      https://news.usni.org/2017/09/14/navair-kicking-v-22-osprey-modernization-drive-improve-commonality#more-28217

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    9. "may be cancelled since one crashed"

      Here's an interesting bit of perspective ... We now consider a crash or two during development to be grounds for cancellation of a project. However, consider the history of the airplane. At the start of WWI, developmental aircraft crashed all the time. Had we critics been there, we would have been howling for cancellation of the newfangled aeroplane. It couldn't even carry as much payload as a small truck, was barely faster than a truck, had a tendency to shed its wings in a dive, was the epitome of a "widow maker", had little range or endurance, had no real mission (recon, maybe, a little bit?), was expensive to build and operate, required entire bases dedicated to making it work, and took soldiers from the front lines to be pilots and mechanics. ... Kind of all the same criticisms we have of the MV-22 today! I wonder if someday someone will look back on the fledgling MV-22 and mock us for our shortsighted criticisms?

      Just a bit of historical perspective. Doesn't mean I'm in favor of the MV-22 - I'm not!

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    10. That's a good point, except the AW609 began development 21 years ago and is still not ready. Why did Bell dump the program? It still hasn't passed FAA certification. And the last crash was not pilot error. If was flying at high speed and something happened. Wiki says:

      "The final report stated that during a high-speed dive with a left turn, "slight lateral-direction oscillations" started on roll-out and grew in amplitude and frequency. The pilot attempted to correct the roll with "counterphase input roll manoeuvres and then pedal inputs", but this did not dampen the oscillations. They instead became divergent, bringing the sideslip angle at 10.5°, well above the 4° maximum allowed, "inducing contact of the right proprotor with the right wing due to excessive flapping of the proprotor blades". This severed fuel and hydraulic lines in the wing leading edge, triggering a fire."

      Meanwhile, Bell is now pressing the Army to plan to begin production before its new, similar Valor tiltrotor has flown. It is the same size as the AW609 that Bell developed, yet they claim the Valor can carry twice as many passengers.

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    11. I'm not saying tilt rotor is good technology. I'm just pointing out that our expectations for a new program (any new program, not just MV-22) are that it must be nearly perfect right out of the gate. Again, historical perspective, the airplane has only been "perfected" in the last 15 years or so with Mach+ speed, supercruise, long range/endurance, long range missiles, fabulous radar and IRST/EO sensors, high-g maneuverability, etc. For the sixty years prior, airplanes were garbage by comparison. In contrast, we expect the tilt rotors to be immediately worlds better than anything else in the air in every respect, we have zero tolerance for developmental crashes, and no patience for continued development. If the first developmental model isn't perfect, kill the entire program!

      Again, I'm not arguing for or against tilt rotors - just pointing out the incongruity of our expectations relative to historical programs. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the airplane panned out and was worth all the teething problems. The problem is that unless we fully commit to the tilt rotor concept and develop it for the next 50 years, we won't know whether it could be a world beater or not and, by then, it would be too late to kill it. The time to kill it, if warranted, is now but we have only very limited data on which to base a decision. We don't want to kill a program that could be amazing but we also don't want to waste time and money on a program that may never pan out.

      Quite the dilemma!

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    12. I'm guessing that you would have been dead set against airplanes in WWI !

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  3. I'm still wrapping my mind around this. I get that you don't want direct comparison for comparison's sake. But most of the comparison's I've seen between the V-22 and the Sea Knight seem to me to at least allude to mission when you talk about range and what not.

    Now, if the V-22 pilots can get away with less hover time, it seems to me that its incumbent upon the V-22 folks to explain why and how. I don't believe I've seen that.

    Now, this would make more sense if the mission was radically different. Then you can compare both platforms against mission requirements. But I haven't seen that. Does that make any sense?

    Take the C2 vs. V22. From everything I've seen the V-22 is the poor cousin to the C2 in terms of the COD role. The Navy is trying to say that it will be better ultimately because the V-22 can go directly to ships in the battlegroup (a changed mission) but they don't seem to explain how that makes things better overall when looking at the aircrafts other shortcomings (maintenance, range) or why they need that 'direct to ship' capacity.

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    1. The V-22 for COD will be a mess. It takes too long to fold so the plan is to land and night and unload and load in the middle of the deck. The V-22 can't really spoke to smaller ships either. It is too big/heavy for the surface combatants (just like the similar sized H-53s). And it is unstable in a hover due to its small proprotors.

      It can't really external either. Watch this video for a rare example:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvHjcssw2cA

      Compare that to an H-60 doing vertrep

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVgXPHE63wM

      This is why there are very few videos of V-22s doing externals. The tornado downwash is dangerous and it takes a long time to hook up, even with the video clipped to hide the time, such as this one.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppaNLk8u4GM

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    2. "Does that make any sense?"

      No. The concept, here, is that you allow the aircraft (in this case) to perform the mission any way it's bested suited. If it can do the mission, if "passes". If it can't, it "fails". Comparing range, endurance, hover, load capacity, etc. is pointless. You built the aircraft to perform a mission. It either can or it can't.

      I can go pick up Aunt Sally in my car or fly out and pick her up in a helo. It's pointless to criticize the car because it can't hover. It the mission is to pick up Aunt Sally and the car can do it, then the car is fine. Now, secondary considerations like speed, cost, etc. may also factor into the overall evaluation but mission accomplishment is straightforward - it can or it can't.

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  4. Some years ago i saw a "what if" presentation of what operation Eagle Claw would have been if conducted by V-22's instead of CH-53's, not to mention it was in favor for the V-22's mainly because of its range and speed.

    One thing i am sure the V-22 is great at is SOF missions like low profile infil/exfil/resupply

    And basically the speed and range the V-22s give you means that you can extract civilians out of harms ( i.e. get some people's asses out of a embassy ASAP ) way faster that with normal helicopters

    here's a interesting old scenario

    https://www.helis.com/featured/v22scen.php




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    1. ""what if" presentation of what operation Eagle Claw would have been if conducted by V-22's"

      The wonderful thing about "what if" presentations is that nothing ever goes wrong so, of course the scenario turns out better.

      Now, if it had been real and the mission were performed with V-22s, what would have happened when the aircraft encountered the unexpected haboob dust storm? Odds are one or more of the V-22s would have failed. What would have happened if a V-22 crew saw instrument indications of a cracked rotor, as happened? The aircraft would have aborted. To believe a mission will execute flawlessly is to live in a fantasy world. Such "what if" scenarios are fun to read but worthless.

      "V-22s give you means that you can extract civilians out of harms way faster that with normal helicopters"

      On the other hand, since a V-22 requires a much larger, cleared landing area, it may require more time to get civilians to the aircraft and expose them to more danger. The V-22 is faster only after it's airborne and in horizontal flight. Before that, it's slower and more vulnerable.

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  5. Back at the turn of the century (1999) the USMC tried to fleet introduce the Osprey (yes the same aircraft finally meeting IOC in 2009...) using shortcuts and Hoo-AH, "can-do", fast-track, and other clichés....

    The result was a fiasco.. Bottom line- People died. The consensus was the USMC tried to shape the MV-22 into the role of C-46 (form fit function operationally) vice developing a unique capability around the aircraft like they do on the CV-22 for Spec Ops/USAFSOC... As a result despite "shortcomings" they knew they had w/V-22, they plowed straight ahead and dropped the requirement for the H-53K as "insurance", the next USMC "gem" aircraft...to take up the slack...fingers crossed... That's USMC procurement- power point level almost as bad as the USN...

    They do this because they can. Americans trust them, I want to trust them, too. We love the USMC. They're not dumb, right? Mattis-Kelly-Dunsford are bonafide heroes in charge, steely-eyed warriors, right? Who cares whether they are infantry....

    They could have recapitalized with a fleet of sea going-flight deck worthy Black Hawk and Chinook helos at half the price and would be able to generate more direct combat capability support for their actual national mission...Now USMC air to me is unrecognizable, except as a narrow niche that is expensive, unreliable and cannot be counted on when the chips are down, no matter the bravado/hubris they display.. Sorry...

    Check the news.. its happened again...

    b2

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    1. "sea going-flight deck worthy Black Hawk and Chinook helos"

      And thats what has always wondered me, first the already operational Sea hawk seamed like a no brainer for the transport role the UH-1Y does, a Sea Apache has been proposed since the 80ties why not go along with that instead of permanently modernizing the Cobra.

      http://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/mcdonnell_sea_apache.php

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    2. What would be the advantage of a Sea Apache over a Cobra? Just commonality or something else? I don't know anything about this.

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    3. The original idea of the Sea Apache was to fit a radar in the nose and being it able to launch harpoons from long distances thus giving frigates a long range punch ( ironically this Sea Apache would fit todays LCS perfectly )

      However as the British have demonstrated its a very little problem to operate normal Apaches out of ther're vessels.

      So obviously it would be lowering cost out of economy of scale for the whole armed forces and budget wise.

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    4. P.S and tactically of course the the apache has a better sensors suite and longer range than the latest AH-1Z

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    5. Can an Apache really carry a Harpoon? Has it ever been demonstrated? What would that do to the aircraft's range?

      While an Apache can operate briefly from a carrier (I think the US did this some time ago), the Apache is not marinized and would likely suffer unacceptable corrosion problems from long term carrier ops.

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    6. Well, this all was proposed in the 80ties see the link above, that was a specialized variant of the Apache.
      The Russian maritime version of the Ka-52 is a modern reincarnation of the concept, is able to carry two Kh-35 missiles and has a radar in the nose.

      See pic:
      http://files.balancer.ru/forums/attaches/2015/07/06-3885436-ka-52k-s-raketoj-kh-35ue.jpg

      "not marinized and would likely suffer unacceptable corrosion problems"

      The USN has been using some land based helicopter designs for decades, the "corrosion'' issue i think is largely over played, airframes have to be modified of course but thats a lot more cheaper.

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    7. As I understand it, the Ka-52 is 50% heavier (larger) than the Apache. I'm really skeptical that an Apache could operationally carry a Harpoon.

      What land helo does the USN use? I'm not aware of any. Corrosion is a major issue that's impossible to overemphasize. From your linked article,

      "Also in common are increased corrosion preventive measures,..."

      Corrosion issues are the number one reason why land systems fail to convert to sea. Saltwater is a harsh mistress!

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    8. "The original idea of the Sea Apache was ... able to launch harpoons from long distances thus giving frigates a long range punch"

      This is the kind of simplistic thinking (whoever came up with this idea, not you) that has become all too common. The Sea Apache concept, even if it worked, would have been able to carry two Harpoons. Let's say a frigate could operate two helos. That's four Harpoons. That's not enough to mount one successful attack given the slow, non-stealthy, non-maneuverable nature of Harpoon. In comparison, the Perry, as built, had a magazine of 40 missiles that could be any mix of Standards and Harpoons. Thus, a frigate could have any number of Harpoons up to 40, depending on the mission. That's a much better solution.

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    9. Well, the AH-1, UH-1,H-43, UH-60 are all originally land based designs adopted for use on ships, so corrosion being a factor of course is not so hard to overcome.

      About the original Sea Apache concept, you have to look at it form a 80ties prospective, where war against Warsaw Pact naval forces was a possibility and those forces had large quantities of all sorts of small surface combatants be it fast missile boats/corvettes.
      A very successful design of that era was the Lynx helicopter equipped with a radar and four Sea Scua missiles.

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    10. PS, a Harpoon missile isn't that heavy if a Apache is certified to carry up to 16 hellfires , thats about the same weight as two Harpoons.

      one idea that comes to mind is equipping the MH-60R with NSM missiles

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    11. According to Wiki, the Hellfire weighs a bit over 100 lbs. Sixteen Hellfires = 1600 lbs.

      Also according to Wiki, the air launched Harpoon (without booster) weighs a bit over 1100 lbs.

      Based on that simple weight comparison, an Apache could only carry one Harpoon. There are also balance, size, and pylon stress considerations. An Apache might be able to carry a Harpoon but I've never seen anything remotely close to it demonstrated.

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    12. "AH-1, UH-1,H-43, UH-60 are all originally land based designs adopted for use on ships, so corrosion being a factor of course is not so hard to overcome."

      To be clear, the Navy does not operate any land helo. It operates completely navalized helos that may have been adapted from a land design. Marinizing is a challenging process and many land weapon systems have failed in attempts to navalize them.

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  6. The UH-1Y program became a criminal conspiracy. The plan was to upgrade the old UH-1Ns yet again, but once they started to pull these Vietnam era helos apart they realized it couldn't work. The Navy began production of the MH-60S that is even better so the Corps could have just bought 123 of those.

    But the Bell-Boeing crime family with their retired Marine General salesmen decided a new-build Huey was needed! So they spent three times more to develop and produce new Huey's, with their own training and expensive spare parts burden since all the other services fly hawks.

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    1. Created same type mil-industrial complex with V-22. HASC chairman has Osprey production in his district N. Texas. Appears a seamless operation of the Bell-Boeing-Marine syndicate, even compelling the USN to acquire the V-22 for carrier COD aircraft without a serious vendor competition....The way it is, nobody ever connects the dots...
      b2

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