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Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by NZLAV, Apr 14, 2007.
IIRC NZDF wanted 10, but the pollies only approved 8.
8+1 for spares was what was purchased. IMO even 10 would be pushing it, since that would tax the fleet if four more were needed in any combination of deployments.
By way of example, the original NZ SH-2G(NZ) buy was five helicopters, but they were replaced with 10 SH-2G(I) helicopters because the NZDF needed more than two helicopters available to operate from ships.
At present, the RNZN has a fleet of five vessels able to embark one or more helicopters, with a total of six helicopter spaces, and hangar space for a total of eight helicopters. That figure is only going to get larger as replacement vessels commission. Between RNZN requirements to meet their mission objectives, as well as Army and the RNZAF for their missions at home and on overseas deployments, the NZDF could very well find itself without enough rotary assets to go around.
As we might also soon see with the RNZN not having enough frigates, since they are due to spend some time being upgraded and IIRC at some point between now and ~2022, there will be a period of time when the RNZN will have no frigates available to deploy, should a need arise or a crisis to occur. Had one or both ANZAC-class frigate purchase options been exercised by 1997, then the RNZN would have more capable options while some of the frigates were away being upgraded.
Cobber, you know that, I know that and most of us on here know that. However pollies are a totally different animal, alien to such logic and the pollies who made the NH90 decision were left wing, anti defence, Vietnam war protesters who killed the ACF. The pollies who killed the third frigate were too stingy to pay for it. Sometimes I think that pollies should be forbidden from having anything to do with defence capability decision making, but that is anti democratic and against the oath that we took when we joined HM armed forces.
Yep this the budget, this is what we want you to do........................go make it work
Correct. Ten NH90s and ten A109's known as Option 5C was the optimal recommendation from the MinDef and NZDF to the Clark Cabinet in 2003. The formal capability definition phase study drew upon 35 years of 3 Squadron operations and evaluations of potential aircraft including the two aircraft types which were to be eventually be selected.
15 medium utility aircraft
8 training and light utility aircraft
- Capital $658-684m - Whole of Life $1437-1469m
• Meets all key operational requirements. • Capital and whole-of-life costs high.
Option 5A was considered too expensive.
9 medium utility aircraft
8 training and light utility aircraft
Capital $464-503m Whole of Life $1099-1168m
• Meets all key operational requirements. • Concurrent tasking may delay response for counter terrorism.
Option 5B met all the operational requirements, but readiness could be compromised if concurrent tasks were
10 medium utility aircraft
10 training and light utility aircraft
Capital $520-568m Whole of Life $1189-1263m
• Optimum mix to meet all key operational requirements.
• Effective mix for humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.
• Light utility suitable for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance roles.
Option 5C was preferred because it met all key operational requirements.
Options 1 -4 were not recommended.
In the end we got the absolute bares bones 6th option - purely on fiscal-political grounds that sees frankly well-off governments choose sugar coated social spending above the fundamentals of good governance or sovereign integrity. The no money myth was the convenient untruth. The year Clark cancelled the F-16's Arts funding got an extra $140m boost from the government.
There is no concurrency capability and attrition issues with what we ended up with. The 2003 recommendations were quite sensible recognising that two or more events can happen simultaneously in the real world. Timor and Honiara events, a Chp VII and a Chp VI were concurrent situations during that immediate period, as well as A/Stan and the sappers were in Iraqi in which rotary did not go but shows how busy things can get, and furthermore the RNZAF often had a Huey down on the summer Ice.
Now imagine and it does not take too much of a stretch for a normal thinking person - read non politician - to realise that a major earthquake event could happen domestically at any time or indeed another climatic disaster - not just within New Zealand but also in the South Pacific, whilst we are undertaking a Timor sized ChpVII situation. We could not manage that at all - possibly only one of those situations. Here is the chilling factor, peace in places like Honiara, Bouganville and other small Island states is still marginal - another sudden SASO event as per what happened in Honiara in 2002 and Tonga in 2006 could spark up.
Note that these scenario's are are bread and butter stuff and have still not even taken into account New Zealand's strategic defence positioning with respect to the growing great power rivalry in the Indo-Pacific.
Came a cross this interesting paper today Should New Zealand and Australia Develop a Closer Strategic Relationship? presented at the conference: ‘Small States and the Changing Global Order: New Zealand Faces the Future’ at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 3-4 June 2017 by Dr Jim Rolfe. It makes for some interesting reading and whilst Dr Rolfe is specifically discussing ANZAC relations, IMHO he sums up current NZ defence capabilities quite well:
"New Zealand needs to recognise that its current security policies are likely to be sub-optimal for the 21st century".
"Current security settings require an independent New Zealand military capacity in only minimal circumstances. Even for direct national defence, the requirement is merely for the armed forces to hold the situation until support from international partners can arrive."
We have been saying here for years that NZDF has been significantly under resourced and hollowed out.
He goes on to suggest that NZ and Australia form a closer security relationship than they have at the moment. Whilst the relationship is close both countries are different constitutionally, having differing politics and agendas. There are some formal arrangements, but mostly it is based on personal relationships, especially on the NZ. He argues that this should be formalised so that when there are differing views and divergences the overall relationship will be easier to sustain, stating that:
"There are two approaches to achieving military security. The first is to develop an independent military capability, the second to develop defence partnerships. In practice, most countries combine independent armed forces with military partnerships of some form. The question then is: ‘where should the balance for New Zealand be between independent capacity and action and combined responses to the security environment?’ ... If the international security situation were to deteriorate significantly, neither the defence of New Zealand nor support to Australia would be effective, perhaps not even possible, without considerable preparation. That preparation should happen well before it is needed and it should be with Australia’s active participation.".
This leads to his suggestions which some would say may be controversial, but what I consider are worth giving serious consideration too, from both sides of the Tasman:
The Starting Position
• New Zealand needs to be able to operate effectively in the security environments described in its own policy documents. This will be best achieved through a close relationship with Australia.
• There is more that could be done, either for the best case or the worst case analysis.
The Best Case: Pragmatic Optimisation
• Pragmatic optimisation enhances the current relationship for the contemporary security environment and assumes that there will be little change to that environment. In addition to current approaches:
• Seek formal input to each other’s defence assessments and ultimately to defence policy.
• Enhance the concept of the Australia-New Zealand Ready Response Force.
• Harmonise individual training so there are common skills across the full range of armed forces activities.
• Develop a long-term combined collective training programme
• Develop a combined approach to understanding the likely future military operating environment.
The Worst Case: Radical Renewal
• Radical renewal ensures that New Zealand is able, with Australia, to respond to any worsening security situation. The countries should investigate:
• A permanent secretariat for the Australasian Defence Agencies; leading to
• Australasian Defence Union; and failing that
• Common policy approaches and commitments to specified threats
• Alignment of defence budgets
• Combined operations centres
• Combined specialist commands
• Capability specialisation and commitment
• Continual rather than ad hoc collaboration to include operationally ready combined units and eventually operationally ready combined formations
• Combined defence science and technology and development of an integrated defence industrial base
• Common approaches to development of ‘new’ capabilities
After the collective apoplexy of Kiwi pollies and Treasury public servants has subsided, they have sufficiently recovered and returned from medical leave, then they should have a proper discussion about this. It does have significant advantages to both nations and would remove a significant burr from Canberra's saddle.
However let's look at disadvantages through a Kiwi lens:
a perceived loss of sovereignty by pollies over NZ defence assets and defence policy. Second would be around having to pay more for defence (twice as much).
becoming involved in foreign adventures which NZ has no interest in.
having to follow Australia into foreign adventures of the US which may have little moral or legal validation.
some pollies, especially those from the left would be looking at their votes because the vocal minority on the far left would not be happy campers and would be up in arms about such an agreement due to Australia's close links with the Great Satan and that NZ would be becoming more war like with bombs and guns and killing machines and the like. These are the same people who claimed to peaceable protesters at the DIA conference in Palmerston North last week and were about as peaceable as a bunch of drunk grumpy bikies.
The advantages for NZ would be enormous compared to it's present situation:
If equipment was standardised, then acquisitions would be more cost effective due to larger orders from suppliers.
Australia is trying to become self sufficient in as much of its military equipment where possible, reducing its dependence on offshore suppliers, mitigating SLOC supply issues in wartime. NZ would benefit significantly from this, because we are not self sufficient in war stocks and replacements.
We have skill sets and capabilities that will add values to the ADF and the opposite is equally true.
Whilst we able to obtain industrial contracts through CER, having such a security arrangement should help secure more defence related industrial contracts for NZ companies.
We would have input at the highest level into Australian defence policy and the same would apply to Australia.
Individually, Australia is a middle power and NZ is a weak power. Together we could be a power to be reckoned with and able to give any outsider cause to pause before they start stirring up trouble in our back yard.
Individually, NZ and Australia have a strong defence scientific and research organisations. Together they could work wonders if given the chance.
As I said earlier, I believe that this suggestion of Dr Rolfe's does merit worthwhile consideration and IMHO the advantages that it offers far outweigh the disadvantages for both nations. However the NZG needs to see the real world for what it is and it must walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. It must set NZDF funding at 2%GDP net and that is the minimum that it is allowed to be. If necessary a law should be passed requiring a large majority of the House to reduce it - say 75 - 80%. The agreement it signs with Australia must be rock solid so that it cannot be withdrawn from on the whim of a Prime Minister. Again maybe it requires a law being passed requiring a large majority of the House to withdraw from the agreement- say 75 - 80%. Whilst this appears a bit over the top, it would prove to Canberra that we were absolutely serious about it and that there would be no repeats of the Bolger, Clark era.
The suggestion of his that I would recommend: The Worst Case: Radical Renewal because it sets everything out right from the start and everybody knows whats going on and where they stand. It would be all formalised on paper hopefully in the form of a Treaty.
Thanks for the article.
Some good questions for both Australia and New Zealand.
Will future events bring us together or are we on different paths.
A good start would be to get a map of the world and reflect on where we live and who we can rely on to serve our interests.
I mentioned this concept about 5-6 months ago.
- Got no traction.
The premise is that, individual expeditionary adventures aside, any threat against either Aust or NZ is in effect a direct threat against both, regardless of what fantasy land we have currently been living in.
Currently, we have two individual states with a piecemeal response to any said threat.
We, IMHO, need a more strategic hand-glove response capability. A NATO-esque concept (for the want of a better term/example).
I suspect that the NZ public will accept a more formal strategic collaboration, especially in this current ....unsettling time, even if it means greater expenditure.
In the interim, each will progress its its own unco-ordinated way, and any future Theatre Commander will wonder how we allowed that to happen?
(Stepping off my soapbox, and returning it to under the bench).
I wish I was as confident as you are of NZ opinion. My Kiwi relatives and friends are almost universally against any "more" defence spending when they simply don't see any threat other than Australia trying to take control of anything to do with New Zealanders. The one exception is retired RNZN and would like an increase in Defence spending, though mostly so they don't find themselves forced to ask Australia for anything,
Doen't sound like an environment where collaboration will be easily accepted given that the larger partner will surely not allow the smaller to have disproportionate influence.
The way in which I would like to see us gain more NH90s is for them to not infact go to 3 Sqn but for 6 Sqn to take up the slack in terms of added lift. With the interest seemingly in the maritime concept based on a light amphibious taskforce then what better unit to operate any added lift than the maritime SMEs 6 Sqn. The current seasprites are not particularly suited to troop movements of any great use but when they do come up for replacement then hopefully the NFH90s are sorted to a standard to replace the sprites in their core role and marinised TTH90s (C/W auto folding blades) are then aqquired for the support ships ie ship-ship, ship-shore, shore based ops in a similar vein as the RAN NH90s. Coincide this with the future navy fleet planning requirements ie new frigates, OPVs, even CY replacement along with the soon to be AO and factor in the obvious weight/size/operating difference between sprite and 90.
I would say at a minimum 5 NFH90s for the frigates and OPVs and 3 marinised NH90s for the support ships and ops plus maybe even a couple of extra marinised A109s for the lighter tasks and then 6 Sqn shares more of the current 3 Sqn taskings ie supporting army, especially from the marine aspect which again, seems to be gaining more traction, at least consideration if not a current/future NZDF direction already. This would then essentially give us 11 TTHs (8 RNZAF 3 RNZN) with the 5 NFHs concentrating on the naval combat side of the house and any A109s in a support/training role (as per current A109s only naval in nature).
A good idea of how we would deploy was ET99 which supported a BN GP (arguably the largest force we would deploy) in which we surged 6 hueys initially until the battalion shook out and settled then we dropped to 4 hueys for the remainder so equate that to NH90s and I would say surge 4, then maybe downsize to 3 or even 2 if we say hook up with the Aussies (ET06 had 3 army Blackhawks and 2 AF hueys at its peak to support a BN GP but over a wider area) not factoring in any possible concurrent A109 support. Something to note was that maintaining a battalion on ops was a major stretch for us and did not leave much behind in the cupboard so taking that into account the requirement to raise, train, sustain and also the need to rest and re-generate well and truly meant that it was the main effort, priority and focus ie not much else was going on or even could go on TBH as literally half the military was involved at any one time at various stages of readiness either going, gone or getting back and 3 Sqn and RNZAF in general was no exception with many trades doing multiple tours over the 3 year period just to maintain continuity. Agreed we have no attrition capacity and that is a worry but apart from NZLAV we don't seem to have attrition factored into any of our fleets defence wide so if the ship hit the fan we would have a few capabilities fall over before the helos including those required to support them, sad but true.
Another benefit of eventually replacing the seasprites with an NH fleet is that we would then be more better positioned to take on another type such as a smaller than 90 but larger than 109 huey as to keep us at 3 helo types as somehow I can't see them wanting to add another type to the mix without some kind of negative offset.
There is a third variant of the NFH and NH-90, the NFH-Support, that the French navy use. I haven't much info on it and only know of it from a budget line on a French Senate Budget document. At the present point in time I would argue that the NFH is a risky proposition due to the ongoing delays with the program. At present we operate three distinct types and replacing the Sprites with another type other than the NFH is not introducing a fourth type into the NZDF inventory. My own view is that until the problems with the NFH have been solved and the cost significantly reduced, we'd be better with MH-60R and MH60S. Because the previous NZG were too stingy we should have gone with 4 - 6 MH-60R and 4 - 6 MH-60S for the naval non ASW / ASuW roles, rather than the ex RAN SH-2G(I) that we got. Yes expensive, but in the long term would have been the better option.
"Agreed we have no attrition capacity and that is a worry but apart from NZLAV we don't seem to have attrition factored into any of our fleets defence wide so if the ship hit the fan we would have a few capabilities fall over before the helos including those required to support them, sad but true."
Unfortunately that is so true and that is across all three services in equipment and personnel because IMHO successive govts have run NZDF on an absolute bare minimum, but demand an absolute gold standard in devotion to duty, service, loyalty and dedication.
Bronze soldier sculpture proposed for pathway to Linton
Cr Lorna Johnson said "some people might find the design quite confrontational", and Cr Brent Barrett said he was not comfortable with the concept of a soldier on active patrol holding a weapon in a state of readiness.
I found this part of the article in the Manawatu standard rather amusing. LOL
Maybe Cr Johnson would be happier if said soldier held flowers and a recording within the bronze played Cumbaya as vehicles approached. She obviously believes that soldiers are there for one reason only and that’s to assist in HADR situations and That weapons are are an unnecessary incumbence.
How long is it anticipated that the current Sprites will be in service? It seems likely that the naval MH90 variant should have its issues worked out sooner rather than later allowing a purchase to coincide with the replacement frigates or whatever incarnation of surface combatant comes along. If a third type is added I believe, as you too have advocated, that a three ship fleet of Chinook would be a better addition to the NZDF.
With the recent decision by the RAF to add to their fleet the production timeline may allow a tag on order at the end of their program. These are to be a long range variant based upon Canada’s specs IIRC.
I still see the need to add to the existing fleet to create the critical mass when everything is needed. Three more A109 in a more basic state for training allowing the A/LUHs to be dedicated to utility and military tasks other than training and at least one more NH90 to bring the airworthy fleet to 9.
Yes the reason I suggested the NFH90 path was more for a way to gain extra 90s in general (in the form of marinised NH90s albeit NH90s) as TBH I can't see us adding more of the same to 3 Sqn due to a perceived "shortage" (at least not yet anyway) so a package deal for navy would be the next best option as the sprites would be the next helo in line for replacement as it seems more of a stop gap acquisition deal to literally buy us time. I stated a fourth type if we wanted to say introduce a small fleet of hueys ( a fourth seperate type) to bridge the gap between the smaller A109 and the larger NH90 more readily and have a more deployable (and usable) helo type based on our current transport fleet. If the sprite fleet was replaced with another NH fleet then we would essentially be back down to a 2 type helo fleet so introducing another would be more pallatable ie huey whereas adding it to the current structure would be a harder sell as it would then be a fourth type with all those considerations.
Yes we should have stumped for both MH models as not only a proven design(s) but also more capable but again I then would'nt see us getting anymore NH90s (mainly due to cost outlay) and we would also still have 3 distinctively seperate helo fleets and more than likely the limit so definately no added types. I sometimes wonder what would have been if we in fact went down the blackhawk path as the huey replacement instead of the NH90? I guess the optimal fleet would have been 12 frames for 3 Sqn (so history suggests we would then have gotten 10) and the commonality factor would have no doubt then led us to a MH60R/S deal for 6 Sqn for ease of logistics, training etc and we probably could have even come away with change from 770 million or definately improved numbers at least. Hard to quantify capability, tech, costs, future proof, reliability, time etc etc from proven vs potential without at least some kind of a gamble for such a vital and long term capability. We are facing the same considerations with the FAMC project to a certain degree in that do we risk potential or settle on proven?
The past is the past and aircraft have been bought but I have always wondered what would have been had the new Huey, the AW139, been purchased instead of the NH90? This aircraft has turned out to be a very good platform and it’s recent win by the USAF as a Huey replacement says something about its capability. Certainly the numbers could have been acquired for a 1 to 1 replacement given the $700 million spent. Lower operating costs. More suited to the typical tasks of operations supporting national objectives and training. Deployable. Functional.
Canada made the mistake of rationalizing it’s military helicopter fleet on the Bell 412EP at the cost of three types. We lost the Kiowa LUH and the Chinook.
The reality of Afghanistan showed the value of the venerable Chinook and now we have them back.
Quantity is a value unto itself. The lack of numbers can be best witnessed this past week with the loss of one fifth of the Norwegian navy surface combat fleet. The loss of a single ANZAC reduces the RNZN combat fleet to one vessel. Not a warm and fuzzy thought.
IIRC 2030 - 32
Eventually the NFH-90 issues will be solved, but the Euros appear take a year of wet Sundays to do it. Personally I'd like to see it happen before my grandkids get their pensions (oldest is 15). Yes I have strongly advocated Chooks for NZ and tagging some on the end of a RAF order is a good idea. Another option is acquire ex US Army chooks and have them refurbished to F standard.
You are right about critical mass and the lack of it and 3 more basic A109 as you suggested has been floated by many of us and is very achievable. I would like to add probably another 3 or 4 marinised A109 LUH for 6 Sqn use at sea.
Not sure if the AW139 was around when the Iroquois replacement project was done. Was amazed it got selected and the selection stuck with no protests and pork barrelling in Congress to overturn the selection.
People forget that quantity has a quality of it's own especially when the quantities are small and you are dead right about the loss of one ANZAC - that'd be half the surface combat fleet in Davy Jones locker and a national disaster in anyones terms. As it is, half the surface combat fleet is on the hard over half a world away in bits being upgraded, and the other half has just returned home from a 5 month deployment to Australia, RIMPAC and Asia.
If the NFH90 were to be an option (and I am not convinced it would be viable) then that option would need to be included in planning for the Future Frigates. The NFH90 was/is not an option for service aboard the current frigates, because the helicopter does not fit within the hangar space, in addition to the various problems integrating the different systems. The NFH90 programme has not been helped in this regard by the different customers requiring different sensor configurations, including different specific sensors.
As it is, will NH Industries still be manufacturing NFH90 helicopters towards the end of the 2020's into early 2030-ish, when production would need to start on the Kiwi Seasprite replacement? The MH-60R Romeo/Sierra line is expected to have closed by then IIRC.
NZ could find itself in the awkward position of needing to order replacement naval helicopters at a time when there are no major naval helicopter programmes running, and/or it's frigate has been designed with potentially insufficient space for what is available and viable. Remember, the frigate production will be some time in the 2030's, but the initial design work should get underway at least by 2025.
I have always liked the 139 and the USAF decision will no doubt go along way towards their popularity if proven as would always be a hard ask to replace the ubiquitous huey anyway regardless of upgrade as it was essentially part of the furniture.
Did'nt realise Canada lost its chooks for a period especially in lieu of the griffons, interesting, wonder what the thought process was there as that would have been quite a call and quite a loss. Luckily sense prevailed in the end, did'nt the leopard MBTs have a similar story?
NZ has never been known for having equipment in excess but yes 2 major combat units ie frigates is pushing the limits and hopefully this upgrade period debacle will alter some pollies thinking.
Old US army Chinooks are shagged. We bought used Ds for use in Afghanistan. Upon their return the decision to sell them was thankfully made instead of upgrading. Someone elses handoffs. Price looks good until maintenance costs get silly. Same as buying a used car.
The new long range version would offer a massive increase in lift capability for internal and external HADR as well as a fit with allies on operations not to mention the ultimate SAS transport and support aircraft .
Marinized A109 in full A/LUH configuration is available and would be good for the OPVs. Again the issue of quantity arises and with a future navy with six hangars theb8 Sprites cant cover all ships at one time due to maintenance and other duties. So yes 3 or 4 Naval A109s have a place. With technolgy, could many of the manned tasks a helicopter offers a naval commander be relegated to a VTOL RPAS such as the Schiebel S100 in numbers to allow typical tasks such as ISR to be accomplished more cheaply and with little risk to high value personnel. Multiple S100s can be carried to allow round the clock aerial operations.
The initial order of the 5 A/LUH plus the simulator cost €57 million or roughly €10 million each. So now that the existing units are approaching the 10 year mark an upgrade is likely and what a perfect time to add to the fleet. Order them now so when the upgrade starts and frames are OOS the new ones will be available eliminating loss of availability. These aircraft have proven their value to the country. Three basic AW109E and 4 navalized A/LUH would likely be no more than €70 million based upon current pricing. The supply and training chains are already well established.
Tod is the Airbus H160 not the likely successor to the NH90 and its variants? First delivery is planned for 2022 ish. This should still be in production come 2030.