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This is a discussion on Royal New Zealand Air Force within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by John Fedup Perhaps the RNZAF was automatically assuming that C-17s would be acquired. I am guessing many ...


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Old September 10th, 2017   #6241
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Perhaps the RNZAF was automatically assuming that C-17s would be acquired. I am guessing many of the more defence inclined pollies wish C-17s had been grabbed in time. Politics and the tyranny of distance certainly make things difficult. Strange the VIP requirement remains. Given budget constraints, let the pollies charter commercial!
Unlikely, as NZ signed the contract ordering the NH90 in July 2006. The NZDF & gov't did not appear to be looking at tactical and strategic airlift replacements in a serious way at the time.

IIRC the selection decision process had reduced the acceptable helicopter replacements to either the NH90, or UH-60M upgraded version of the UH-60 Black Hawk. Unfortunately, at the time the NH90 had helicopters flying while there were no versions of the UH-60M flying. As we now know, while NH90's were flying there were still a number of design and production issues which had yet to be worked out.
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Old September 10th, 2017   #6242
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Just a thought, If the C130 requires congressional approval due to the military equipment fitted and there appears that none has been requested, does this mean that the C130J is not a serious contender at this stage.
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Old September 10th, 2017   #6243
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Good point Rob. Hadn't thought about it from that perspective. Not a guarantee but still a good indicator.

How do you like the sound of the Singapore F16's buzzing about your back yard?
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Old September 10th, 2017   #6244
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If money wasn't a concern it would be very easy to add numbers but I was trying to be realistic with my numbers. Having the four platforms should ensure two of each at any given time at least for the first 10 years.
A very large issue with the idea though, is that the numbers are not realistic. If you want to reliably have two examples of platform x available or on operations at any given time, that would typically require a total of six or more of platform x in inventory.

Pretty much the only way to possibly maintain a 50% availability/deployment rate for a platform would be to have a very low operational tempo for it. For something as useful as airlift, a force would not deliberately keep the tempo low, unless something was wrong with the platform.

When considering aircraft numbers, look at the RAN's MH-60R 'Romeo' naval helicopter acquisition. The programme service requirement was for there to be 8 naval helicopters available for or on operations at a given time. In order to meet that requirement for 8, a total of 24 MH-60R 'Romeos' were ordered.

Having a total inventory of 8 across two different platforms, would normally mean that a single example of each platform is either available for use or already in use/on a deployment. In addition, about two-thirds the time, an additional platform would be again either available or already on a deployment. However, that additional platform could be of either design, and due to limited numbers it could not be reliably be the same (out of the two) design consistently available.

IMO it would be better to dedicate more resources to having a greater number of larger and longer-ranged transports, than having a split airlift fleet with such a small pool of platforms. Even if the RNZAF does go with the C-130J as their 'big' transport (which IMO is too small absent a larger RNZAF transport also in service) then it would be better to get six or more, and skip getting a short-haul transport. A C-130J can airlift a small cargo & personnel over a short distance like the C-295 can, albeit not necessarily as efficiently or cost-effectively. However, a C-295 cannot take the place of a C-130J to airlift a cargo over a long range, especially if the cargo has a high volume and/or displacement.

It would be nice if the RNZAF could build up a split air transport fleet with sufficient platform numbers to provide useful service. This might even be possible with a NZD$20 bil. CAPEX spend. Trying to be efficient by splitting the fleet and only getting a small number of different sized platforms will IMO turn out to be "penny-wise, pound foolish" at best.

It is also worth noting that while smaller transports do cost less to acquire than larger ones, it is not necessarily by a huge amount. A C-130J has a unit cost around USD$73 mil. in 2016 dollars. A USCG HC-144 Ocean Sentry, which is the FITS-kitted version of the CN-235MP, which can swing between SAR, maritime patrol/surveillance, and air transport roles, costs ~USD$30 mil. for just the airframe, and a total of ~USD$50 mil. per aircraft once the cost of the modular control stations for the maritime patrol roles are factored in. I am not aware of an in-service version of the larger C-295 which also can/has a swing-role capability, otherwise I would examine the costings for that. It does suggest though that adding in the ability to go from being a pure transport, to a non-transport role like MP, SAR, water-bomber, etc. does significantly increase the acquisition price

The last point I will make right now, for people to consider is the degree of importance short/light tactical airlift has to the RNZAF and NZDF as a whole. The last Andovers were withdrawn from RNZAF service (June 1998) almost 20 years ago having been configured for VIP and utility transport roles. Since that time, Beech King Airs have been leased to provide some VIP, transport and multi-engine training (in place of the F27 Friendships). However there has not apparently been sufficient need/importance for a replacement like there has been for the larger RNZAF airlifters like the C-130, B727, and now B757. Given the apparent overall lack of interest, I would suspect that air transport will first focus on covering the most important service needs first.

If resources remain after seeing to that, then we might again see light/medium tactical airlift in RNZAF service.
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Old September 10th, 2017   #6245
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Thanks Todjaeger. Very well said.

The unfortunate part is to me it doesn't look like the NZG really cares if it can meet its obligations to either its military members, citizens or allies regarding transport given the almost zero availability during the years of the legacy Hercules upgrades. The same can be said for the minimal purchase of NH90 and AW109's. Insufficient numbers to allow any operational meaning besides SAR or assistance to civil powers.

So following what you have said a fleet of say 8 Hercules would allow four to be likely available at most. Same logistics stream, same training, same capabilities and limitations.

Unfortunately for all parties directly involved I am doubtful of that number due to the high acquisition and ongoing operational costs. The long term operating savings of a twin with commercial engines and systems plus its reduced manpower needs i would have thought would be less over the long term even with the seperate supply chain.
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Old September 10th, 2017   #6246
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There is no present requirement for a fixed wing short-range light tactical lifter in the NZDF inventory and the reasons are thus:

1. Not suitable for operational deployment in a modern context as alternatives are better – viz NH-90 and C-130.
2. The NZDF co-operates far better as a “one force” organization these days meaning if a particular component service needs to shift items / personnel there is Logistics Command to co-ordinate it.
3. Domestically the use of civilian logistics providers who work on consignment and contract are cheaper. This area is far more mature than what it was back 30 odd years ago when we had Andover’s and Friendships.

NG is correct in that Kaikoura required Rotary and fixed wing via airdop. So instead of buying a C-295 type the money would better spent on more NH-90’s.

Short-range patrol and SAR for the inner EEZ can be efficiently achieved by a suitably equipped King Air variant again negating the extra capital and operational expenditure of an additional type.
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Old September 11th, 2017   #6247
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Good point Rob. Hadn't thought about it from that perspective. Not a guarantee but still a good indicator.

How do you like the sound of the Singapore F16's buzzing about your back yard?
Brings back a lot of old memories. The only problem is they climb out a lot quicker than an A4, so the sound is all you really get. We used to get the live show but now only get the sound track. Still a hell of a lot better than nothing.
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Old September 11th, 2017   #6248
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So following what you have said a fleet of say 8 Hercules would allow four to be likely available at most. Same logistics stream, same training, same capabilities and limitations.
I don't see how that would work, Hercules should be as robust a platform as you can get for a military aircraft today, with a fleet of 8 I'd expect more than 4 to be available at any given time. They aren't a fast jet which needs x number of hours maintenance per flying hour. A Hercules shouldn't be any different from a commercial transport and I bet the airlines buying recently launched LM100J's for civilian purposes aren't buying double the requirement.
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Old September 11th, 2017   #6249
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Out of a fleet of 8 herc,s id expect a minimum of 6 to be online.
Ive done battalion sized jumps from 36 sqn where all 12 of the sqns C130H,s were involved. Im sure the lead time of the drop allowed the availability of the whole sqn.
37 Sqn still had aircraft available.

For the life of me though, I can,t fathom how the RNZAF can make do with 8 NH90,s.
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Old September 11th, 2017   #6250
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The LM-100J lacks much of the military kit add-ons which no doubt can have issues reducing availability. Also, they likely aren't going to have to land on inferior runways as often as their military cousins. Nevertheless, I thought rates should be better than fast jets. The other factor is fleet life. Older fleets seem to follow the rule of three or in the case of France, rule of four. At some point addtional aircraft will be needed if sufficient planes aren't initially ordered in order to have the availability required.

French C-130 Hercules fleet suffering low availability rates | Jane's 360
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Old September 11th, 2017   #6251
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Out of a fleet of 8 herc,s id expect a minimum of 6 to be online.
Ive done battalion sized jumps from 36 sqn where all 12 of the sqns C130H,s were involved. Im sure the lead time of the drop allowed the availability of the whole sqn.
37 Sqn still had aircraft available.

For the life of me though, I can,t fathom how the RNZAF can make do with 8 NH90,s.
Afghanistan showed how limited many NATO members were with regard to rotor craft. Canada had to lease CH-47Ds and eventually purchased 15 CH-147Fs. We are still awaiting final delivery for the remaining CH-148 Cyclones and the 14 CH-147s Cormorants will be upgraded. Our ancient light rotorcraft are in need of replacement but no funding has been made available. NZ should get more rotorcraft for HADR at the very least.
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Old September 11th, 2017   #6252
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Out of a fleet of 8 herc,s id expect a minimum of 6 to be online.
Ive done battalion sized jumps from 36 sqn where all 12 of the sqns C130H,s were involved. Im sure the lead time of the drop allowed the availability of the whole sqn.
37 Sqn still had aircraft available.

For the life of me though, I can,t fathom how the RNZAF can make do with 8 NH90,s.

Truth is they can't. Having rotary support for an exercise isn't even a joke now. Just never happens. It's going to get people killed when push comes to shove and stops being an academic discussion.
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Old September 13th, 2017   #6253
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Truth is they can't. Having rotary support for an exercise isn't even a joke now. Just never happens. It's going to get people killed when push comes to shove and stops being an academic discussion.
Shane

Is that an issue with the number of airframes, or the number of crew/personnel available to use the existing aircraft. If the former, hard to see why the air force hasn't pushed for an increase in numbers in the Capability Plan?

RNZAF - Air Force News PDFs

Latest Air Force News is out, but pretty light on content.
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Old September 15th, 2017   #6254
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Truth is they can't. Having rotary support for an exercise isn't even a joke now. Just never happens. It's going to get people killed when push comes to shove and stops being an academic discussion.
Which exs are those? They have supported all the main combined and trade specific ones as per and with the increased cost PFH not as if they will be attending all NZDF activities anyway just like the huey, not realistic or in fact required. Nice to have in most instances not need to have.
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Old September 15th, 2017   #6255
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Which exs are those? They have supported all the main combined and trade specific ones as per and with the increased cost PFH not as if they will be attending all NZDF activities anyway just like the huey, not realistic or in fact required. Nice to have in most instances not need to have.
True my experience is only TF but every ex I've been on where rotary was indicated but due to other higher priority stuff coming up was retasked.

I think we just get accustomed to being the forgotten child and don't bother dreaming about appropriate funding. We're basically funded to training level and small discretionary wars which frankly I don't think is good enough.

In terms of pfh that is mired in the machine choice and increased capability per helo. But also highlights less availability across different scenarios or locations.

To be honest though, most of the pointy end stuff in a high tempo state on state will be all notional as we haven't invested in the doctrine, the establishnent and the gear. But if the semi liquids hit the heat pump they'll still send us to do the business anyway cos they say so. Just smacks of everybody just going with the flow rather than say the obvious and be unpopular. We need war fighting gear. More of everything we do have and more of what we don't.
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