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What Head of State Helicopter option is best?

Discussion in 'Defence Analysis' started by Abingdonboy, Aug 18, 2017.

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Which option is best?

  1. Option 1 (AW-101)

    28.0%
  2. Option 2 (S-92/H22M)

    16.0%
  3. Option 3 (wait for IMRH)

    56.0%
  1. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    We all know the IAF's deal for 12 (9 for HoS transport, 3 for SPG transport) AW-101s was officially scrapped in 2014 (just as the culprits were heading out of the door) not before 3 units had been delivered to the IAF's Communication SQN's HQ in Palam airbase. These 3 are now unserviceable and the IAF is having to rely on their present fleet of ageing Mi-8s to fly the PM, service cheifs and other members of the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) as well as entirely unmodified Mi-17 V5s that themselves were deemed unfit to fly the PM/NCA.

    Clearly this is not a suitable long term solution with the biggest factor being the credible detterence. A large part of India's nuclear doctrine is centered around having a credible second strike capability given it has a "No First Use" policy, for that to be viable the NCA has to remain intact or at least parts of it with the PM being the most critical element. Whilst this may seem like it is an extreme justifcation for having a decent/reliable head of state helicopter these matters are not trivial and one can be sure that one's adversories take these things into consideration when planning their moves. With the completion of India's "nuclear triad" and the deployment of the so-called "nuclear football" with the PM's personal entourage these matters are certainly taking more prominance now.

    Then of course there is the larger and more day to day threat the PM, the elected representative of 1.3 billion people, takes everytime he is flown in a helicopter that was meant to have been out of service a decade ago (Mi-8). Even if modified to fly VVIPs the Mi-17V5 is not a credibly safe helicopter and was not even entertained under the orginal VVIP helicopter program because of the lack of redundant systems to its primary flight controls. The loss to the nation would be immense if the PM or anyone else cleared to make use of these helos (service chiefs and president of India only) was killed during an aircrash involving one of these helicopters and this would throw the nation into turmoil. It is the duty of the IAF/SPG to ensure all such risks are minimised and that is clear from the intense levels they go to secure the PM in every other situation.


    Options:

    Option 1

    [​IMG]


    Like is happening with the Black Shark HWT deal re-institute the deal, perhaps seek arbitration with AW, but ensure that the remaining units are delivered and the maintainence contracts fulfilled so as to get the 3 birds already in India up and flying also.

    Pros
    -Naturally this could be done within the shortest time frame of the options I will list
    - 3 airframes ALREADY in India with the IAF, training could commence almost immediately
    -Will easily be the cheapest option.
    -IMHO the AW-101 remains the world's finest Head of State transport, it was selected to fly the POTUS as well (before they cancelled the deal in favour of their own S-92) and is the only relevent helicopter to 3 engines making it even more safe

    Cons
    -Many of the aviators and maintainers who were orginally trained for the type will likely have moved on from the IAF/SQN and thus re-training will be required but, again, this will be a cheaper affair than the other options where you would have to start from scratch.


    Option 2
    [​IMG]



    Re-tender the entire deal, this time ommitting Augusta Westland, the only 2 likely candidates are the H225M and S-92 of which the S-92 will be the likely winner.

    Pros
    - At least a suitable head of state transport is ordered for the NCA
    - S-92's airframes are already made in India and Sikorsky (now Lockhead Martin) have a large presence in India (via TASL)
    -

    Cons
    - With the passage of time all options will now be far more expensive than 5-6 years ago
    - The selection/negotiation process will take a minimum of 3-4 years
    -Delivery will take 3 years after that
    - As this will be an entirely new helicopter/type it will require fresh training, fresh service contracts, fresh infrastructure etc
    - Will be the only helo of its type operated in India meaning dedicated maintainence infrastructure would have to be set up for a relatively small fleet


    Option 3


    [​IMG]



    Wait until the IMRH is ready (in the mid 2020s) and hope that it is deemed suitable by the SPG to fly the PM and the NCA.

    Pros
    - Easily the most secure way to fly the PM/NCA from a counter-inteligence perspective- it will be built, operated and maintained in India only entirely by Indians
    - May be cost effective thanks to high commonality with the rest of HAL's rotary wing portfolio
    -Will have extreme commonality with the IA/IAF/IN ("proper") who will all operate the IMRH in large numbers, this will likely make training far cheaper also


    Cons
    - This option is easily 13-15 years away (IMRH would have to prove itself in service before the SPG trusted it enough to clear it)
    - A significant ammount of work would have to be done by HAL to meet the specifications of the SPG
    - It's possible the helo will never meet SPG requirements and thus this entire problem will still exist even after 2030




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    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  2. bharathp

    bharathp Developers Guild Developers -IT and R&D

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    the best advertisement of Make in India and Made in India is when the PM/ HoS trusts only Indian Made products. this includes the vehicles, aircraft, everything. I would hold on to whatever we have until we make our own - that should be our desperation to get our things done.

    this is my personal opinion.
     
  3. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    This is very true, but as I said this solution is easily 13-15 years away- do you think the current situation is acceptable for such a prolonged period?
     
  4. bharathp

    bharathp Developers Guild Developers -IT and R&D

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    all the more reason to speed it up. if we dont do it now, we will never be able to do it. think about it.. another term form BJP and we might go towards a non-right wing party (natural progression), we need to set the pattern /checks and balances in this period to make sure it is VERY difficult to change it later on.

    all capacity building, checks/balances, policy changes, policy set up that goes towards a statement hat "all HoS and govt related stuff should be Made in India products" - improves the nationalistic sentiment as well. also, this will make sure that whoever comes later has to continue with the trend or risk being seen as spending on non-desi products.
     
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  5. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Where HoS/VVVIP are concerned I would insist that this only happen IF the Make in India stuff is of the same (or superior) quality of the equipment they are replacing. I can't see how any Indian product exists that can match the BMW 760Li or Mercedes S600 Pullman,

    IMRH may meet the requirements though for the VVIP helo.
     
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  6. GuardianRED

    GuardianRED Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Honestly this so called Agustawestland scram is a joke with only finger pointing and no one know who dun-nit, Like the Bofors - this will be called the Ghost of Agustawestland. Having said that any file asking for procurement for VVIP choppers will be dealt with butter fingers with no one taking any concrete decision.

    Thus seeing the Aw101 or the S-92 in IAF Colours - will be just a dream

    only way out

    1) A study need to be done to know the frequency in which a VVIP is used , allocate required nos. based on this study - existing Mi17s retrofitted with the similar CM systems that were doing on the Aw101. (Short Term - these frames can always be return to active duty)

    2) Looks at other non - western offers . like the Mi38 or the VIP Mi24 (Intermediate - FMS route)

    3) The Long term ( I fully support) - The IMRH - We have the SPG freezes the requirement for the VVIP chopper , im pretty sure HAL can incorporate this from the onset


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    If it's option 3 then no new helos (Mi38) should even be entertained bro.


    + the Mi-24 isn't suitable
     
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  8. GuardianRED

    GuardianRED Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Option 2 : only if option 1 doesn't work out - will the IAF transfer some frames of Mi17V2 for VVIP?
    Yes Mi24 , doesn't have the ceiling required

    Still a person of the hour is needed just make a decision and stick to it
     
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  9. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Ah, I thought you were saying option 3 because you supported the IMRH.

    A govt-govt deal for a new helo from Russia will be hard to work out IMHO but we don't even know if the Mi-38 would meet the requirements (it wasn't part of the orginal VVIP deal).

    The IAF will transfer V5s for this role, they won't have a choice! But again, it's not a long term solution.

    YUP. But with a part-time DM this is very unlikely, the need for a VVIP helo hasn't even been discussed this entire term (2014 till now), it clearly is a hot potato that the BJP doesn't want to touch.
     
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  10. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    • Restore 3 AW101 we have already received to service. Use it exclusively for PM and president.
    • Wait for IMRH design to mature.
    • You don't need 12 VVIP choppers, CAG report questions the number stating its unnecessary since even our current fleet is underutilized.
     
  11. kaku

    kaku Major Technical Analyst

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    Waiting for IMRH means, Continuity of Govt. wont operationalize fully until IMRH.
     
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  12. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Fair enough but I think CAG becomes too much bean counters some time. Even if they are "underutilised" in terms of actual flying hours they still have to be ready 24/7 at a moment's notice to fly the PM/NCA in an emergency and in many cases the PM makes unscheduled travel movements so there would have to be assets available round the clock.

    There is sound reasoning behind 12- 9 for VVIP travel and 3 (utility) for the SPG, this would create 3 "flights"- 2 VVIP+ utility( If you notice the PM moves with 3 helos in this configuration currently). That way 2 flights would be ready at any one time so both the PM and President can make use of them at the same time otherwise you it would be unworkable

    In that sense 3 helos would not be workable.




    2 VVIP configured Mi-8s from the communication SQN (one acts as a decoy and also as a backup), 1 utility Mi-17V5 (for SPG and support staff)
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
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  13. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor BANNED BANNED

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    @Abingdonboy IMRH will take at least 10 years for induction.
     
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  14. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog Staff Member MODERATOR

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    No, CAG's observation is correct. If i remember correctly we currently have six Mi-8 helicopters which are 'underutilized' even for training. This emergency requirement only apply to PM and it depends up on the nature of it. We have three Boeing Business Jet and four Embraer aircraft to choose from.

    I'm suggesting AW101 activation as an addition to Mi-8 fleet. Which will ensure high availability for PM/NCA. And replace Mi-8 with IMRH.
     
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  15. Abingdonboy

    Abingdonboy Major Technical Analyst

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    Again, 12 is perfectly justifiable and congruent with the role, I can't speak on the specifics of the CAG report but it's possible those Mi-8s were underutilised because they were u/s or the SQN is intentionally keeping flying low on them so as to prolong their TSL considering there are no replacements coming anytime soon.

    12 is the minimum I woud suggest but more than that would have to be added if the fleet is to be ready for other members of the NCA and not just the PM and President.

    The fixed wing and rotary wing a/c are entirely seperate with obvious strengths and weaknesses, no doubt in an emergency both will be employed but for sure part of the PM's evacuation plan from the NCR involves a helicopter+ BBJ.

    Ah, I understand now, as an interim solution that is better than nothing certainly- might as well use what they have and what is paid for.
     
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