Indeed funding could be an issue. OTOH it might not be, as the projected costs to operate and sustain the MRH in the numbers required could equal or exceed what the replacement and then operating costs might be for new Black Hawks. One thing which had struck me when I was doing some research on the early model Black Hawks in US Army service and the ANAO reporting from 2014 on the MRH90's in Australian. IIRC both reports indicated that their subject helicopters were falling sort of the respective project availability targets. From memory, the MRH90 was targeted for 60% availability but only managing 55%, while the Black Hawk was just failing to meet the US Army availability requirement of IIRC 80%.The problem is finding the funding, it would probably be a $10b+ project. The Army is also going to be extremely busy for the next 10 years introducing a raft of new capabilities as well as replacing a large % of the equipment we have now, including 2 major Aviation Fleets in the ARH replacement and introduction of the Lt SF Helicopter.
The base flyaway costs from around about 2013 were:Completely outside the square. With all the issues and unexpected costs associated with MRH, I can't help but wonder what an FMS acquisition of MV-22 would have cost in comparison.
I was thinking in terms of cost of ownership, the MRH being a maintenance hog and all.The base flyaway costs from around about 2013 were:
MV-22 Osprey US$72 m / AU$95 m.*
NH90 €27 m / US$ 37 m / AU$42 m.*
So basically you could buy two NH90 for one Osprey. Whilst the MRH-90 is a variant of the NH90, it is not sufficiently different to cause a significant cost difference such as the NFH variant does at €36.4 m.
However it's like comparing apples to oranges because the Osprey is not a helicopter, but a tilt rotor offering a different capability set. It also has a major drawback in that it has a tendancy to announce its arrival long before it arrives so its not exactly sneaky.
* Rounded to nearest million.
I only have my memory to go on but I’m sure Bell-Boeing actually offered the MV-22 to Australia in the late 80s as the Huey replacement eventually won by the S-70A Blackhawk. Don’t think anyone took it very seriously at the time.Completely outside the square. With all the issues and unexpected costs associated with MRH, I can't help but wonder what an FMS acquisition of MV-22 would have cost in comparison.
The RCAF also has 14 CH-149s (EH101) which have been ok but you are spot on wrt logistics issues. The RCAF really lucked in when the EH101 derived Presidential helicopter program was cancelled. Canada got 7 complete frames and a bunch of assorted spares for $164 million, a rare procurement success story!The Merlin became successful; but, like many other similar programs it suffered early on. I remember being told by FONAC, 20 or so years ago, that of the dozen or so aircraft the RN then had no two had the same configuration; that they had both avionics and airframe issues, and that the logistic position was woeful. It seems to be a fact of military helo program life that the beginnings are “challenging”.
A look back in time to this ADM article for AIR 87One needs to remember that the Tiger ARH was ordered back around December, 2001 or nearly two decades ago. First delivery was in December, 2004 and they were supposed to reach FOC in December 2011. While FOC might have been reached (finally!) in April 2016, this was nearly five years later than planned, and nearly a dozen years after first delivery. Basically by the time FOC was reached, the Tiger was nearly ready for a MLU to upgrade/replace avionics and comm systems. In point of fact, discussion among Tiger users started in early 2016 for a series of proposed upgrades which became known as the Tiger Mk 3, with comms and avionics among the elements to be upgraded.
Basically by the time Australia reached FOC with the Tiger, it had already been recognized by other Tiger users (France, Germany & Spain) that upgrades were required to keep the helicopter in service in a useful capacity.
This is then where one needs to look at what the actual cost would likely be/have been, to get the Tiger ARH fleet to be where it needed to be so that it provided the desired capabilities to Army and the ADF. Given that the fleet itself was already determined to be too small, as well as in need of upgrades, it does seem that opting for an earlier fleet replacement makes more sense than it might otherwise at first seem.
There are certainly cases where that's happened. IIRC it was the cause of the UK special forces Chinooks fiasco. Some avionics customised to MoD (not the users) requirements, & which turned out to be impossible to certify. The MoD's internal safety people said they couldn't prove they were safe to fly.It’s almost like going to a prestige car dealer and picking your ‘basic’ car configuration, but then looking at the ‘option’ book and having endless variations on the same theme, looks good in the beginning when you receive your new customised car, but not so good when you need spares and support in future years.
I do wonder if the problem is more to do with paperwork technicalities rather than actual faults with the airframes themselves?
Yes I do remember reading about that, it certainly was a f**k up!There are certainly cases where that's happened. IIRC it was the cause of the UK special forces Chinooks fiasco. Some avionics customised to MoD (not the users) requirements, & which turned out to impossible to certify. The MoD's internal safety people said they couldn't prove they were safe to fly.
That’s a high end option — as you mentioned earlier, there are cheaper options that include the H225Ms.Completely outside the square. With all the issues and unexpected costs associated with MRH, I can't help but wonder what an FMS acquisition of MV-22 would have cost in comparison.
At least one of the "French" engineers on NH90 was an Australian and if he did on that program what he did on the program I knew him from, it explains an awful lot.Sea sprite, Tiger, MRH. Not a good procurement record. Seasprite 100% our fault. Can we put the others down to French engineers? Have you hear about heaven and hell?
in heaven the French are the cooks, the Italians the lovers, the English the police, the Germans the engineers and the Swiss run the place.
In hell the Swiss are the cooks, the English the lovers, the Germans the police, the French are the engineers and the Italians run the place.
The French do have a car ...the Renault that has a car jack as it’s emblem.Renault
Yes I remember that too.There was a bit of scuttlebutt from Andrew McLaughlin at ADBR, that ADF was keen on a larger Seahawk / Blackhawk / Pavehawk purchase…
Seahawk of unknown designation and numbers for RAN and Blackhawk / Pavehawk to replace the SF Light Helicopter project…
Considering Army is using Chinook to (pardon the pun) carry the load for MRH-90 in addition to it’s own role (hence the extra airframes) if a relatively common standard between the proposed RAN aircraft, the alleged SF requirement, there might be some scope to do something similar to what Sweden did?
This way they‘d gain a small, useable TTH capability with a few extra Seahawk / Blackhawk / Pave Hawk airframes and might be aboe to reduce the number of MRH-90 ‘in-service’ to balance up the sustainment side of things and actually gain some useable capability from Army’s TTH fleet?
@Volkodav you make an amazing point there. I don't know how it is in Australia, but here in the Netherlands they keep removing military personel from the upper echelons in the defense department. One comment on that article calls it, they remove people who know about how to run a military because they're difficult and exchange them for someone who won't talk back.At least one of the "French" engineers on NH90 was an Australian and if he did on that program what he did on the program I knew him from, it explains an awful lot.
Procurement from the mid 90s was a total mess. I can not think of a single project kicked off after 95 that actually delivered what it was meant to, when it was meant to, if it managed to deliver anything at all.
In hindsight the reasons why are obvious. Cost cutting efficiency drives and commercialisation, in the post Cold War era, compounded by layer upon layer of policy and compliance, even though there were fewer experienced and competent people in defence to undertake it.
Core ADF engineering capability, uniform and civilian, was gutted, engineering capability was outsourced and experimental procurement processes enacted. Government owned entities sold off, after being handed major projects to make them more attractive for sale.
At the same time government was often over ruling defence on what was to be bought, when, and from where. Post Timor and 9/11, when defence became a vote winner, PM&C often over ruled defence.
Then there was Kinnard, the procurement model that guaranteed defence got neither what it wanted or what it needed. It selected the prefered evolved / clean sheet design option that met or exceeded all the requirements, then competed it against the prefered zero / minimum change exiting option that failed to meet most of the requirement and had minimal growth factored in. This excluded every perfectly good enough solution that was lower risk and met most of the requirements.