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Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Tue Dec 07, 2004 6:55 am

I was wondering why the Marines seem to have a large variety of cargo capable aircraft in relation to the Army? What is the Army's equivalent to the CH-53 or CH-46 depending upon which way you look at it?




"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Tue Dec 07, 2004 8:38 am

The Chinook is somewhere in between the Sea Stallion and the Sea Knight in lift capability. I know the Army uses the Chinook for heavy lift and the Marines use the CH-53 for heavy lift. The Army uses the Blachawk for its main troop transport, whereas the Marines use Ch-46's for troop assaults transport. The Army has the Apache for a gunship, the Marines the Cobra.

I've always been a bit surprised that the 3 engined Stallion hasn't been used by the Army. The Stallion lifts a lot more, goes a lot faster, and is the largest helicopter outside of the Russian Mi-6/Mi-26 giants. The Army used to use the unique CH-54 Skycrane for its equivalent to the Stallion, but that was dropped long ago.
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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Tue Dec 07, 2004 8:53 am

You're forgetting a service.. USAF. USAF uses the H-53 for special ops as does the Marine Corps. Marines also use the H-53 for vertical envelopment from the sea, a mission the Army does not have.
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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:03 am

The Army has been fighting that battle since the Air Force split off from it. The Air Force itself has probably lobbied against the Army having any aircraft that are remotely competetive with USAF missions.

During Vietnam I recall DoD giving all the CV-2 Caribou aircraft to the Air Force without much explanation. The Army had been operating the Caribou almost like an airline, going to every little dirt strip at every Special Forces camp from Ca Mau to Khe Sanh. The USAF did not particularly want the 'Bou and immediately dropped about half of these strips from their ops. I can tell you for sure that Special Forces felt better served by the Army than they were by the Air Force.

I think nothing better illustrates the difference than the fact that the USAF re-designated the Caribou as a C-7. They dropped the prefix V which meant STOL. That was concurrent with a huge reduction in STOL operations and a virtual cessation of LOLEX (which the Air Foce called LAPES) operations.

The USAF also objected to the Army hanging .50 machineguns in pods under the wings of some of our OV-1 Mohawks and the fable is that General Westmoreland personally came to the rescue of that practice. The Air Force just generally did not like the Army being able to provide its own air support in any role.

I expect it is not much different today.

The Navy has remained immune to the Air Force' lobbying because there are things the Air Force just won't do - like land on ships.

So, when it comes to heavy lift helicopters the DoD seems to want the Army to depend on the other branches to haul their trash.

Ironically the Army did have the CH-54 which pretty well topped the chart on helicopters and the CH-47 could carry a fully-loaded CH-46 even if the Navy helo was "spot-welded to a padeye" as they like to say. The Chinnook is a heavy lifter and the CH-54 beat an RF-4 in a drag race to ten thousand feet every year here in Reno at the annual Guard open house.

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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:09 pm

the CH47 and UH60 meet the army's needs. Why get 53's when the 47 does just as good a job. Especially in Afghanistan where the environment and altitudes are extremely rough on the airframes. Those are some tough birds and they fly ALOT of hours downrange. The CH47 is just a dam good aircraft. As for the UH-1 and UH60 comparism. The 60 is stronger and can carry more and it too can take a beating and keep flying. Finally attack, no need to compare an AH1 to 64D.
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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:43 pm

Because the Navy won't pay to have new helicopters built for the Marine Corps... Is my guess.

The UH-1N is not really a cargo carrier, it's used as a command and control bird and a support gunship to support the AH-1 Cobras.

CH-46's are the Marines' version of the Army's UH-60s. All of the CH-46's date from the Vietnam era and I don't think any of them are younger than 35 years. The Army UH-60's are much newer and I think are more capable.

CH-53's are equivalent to the Army's CH-47's. I don't know anything about the CH-47 to give you a comparison. Other than the CH-53's are probably older than the Army's CH-47's.

CH-46's are the primary assault support bird for the Marines. Because of the size of the CH-53, they can only get spotted aft in spots 8 or 9. Can't put them forward because they have no visual reference with the ship to land or takeoff safely (all they can see is the sea) and can't land them on the midship spots because there is insufficent rotor clearance with the superstructure.

So in terms of capability, it would be more advantageous to use a CH-53 because of its greater capability, but in actual practice, it's limited to two per deck launch cycle, and there's normally only four in the squadron to choose from. There are more CH-46's available so they are the primary workhorse aircraft and they can be launched from any of the spots. When they're loaded for bear for an actual mission however, they can't do vertical takeoffs. They have to do deck runs to get the translational lift to help get them in the air. So the CH-46's spotted in the forward spots (1, 2, and 3) have to be light loaded so that they can do a vertical takeoff (as there is no deck left to do a deck run.) The midship and aft spotted (spots 4-8) CH-46's can be max loaded for their deck run.

Operating from land they don't have this limitation of course.

But the one time we had an Army CH-47 land on our deck, it was huge, easily taking up the space that a CH-53 would take. I liked operating with the Army OH-6 Loaches, we launched 9 of those suckers in the space we could launch 2 CH-53's.
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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Wed Dec 08, 2004 4:08 am

Does anyone have any information on the new build CH-53Xs along with the MV-22? While I prefer Army Aviation, it just seems that the Marine Corp has a great variety of aircraft to fly.
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RE: Army & Marine Rotary Questions.

Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:09 pm

The CH-47 is the Army's best helicopter (now that the Huey is "retired"), proven in all enviroments all over the world. They'll never trade it in for anything else, at least anytime soon. Just my .02

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