pjflysfast
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Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:57 pm

I was just wondering what kind of wear and tear do the helicopters in Iraq go through. I mean how often do they have to get new parts dew to the sand, and do they get hit with small arms fire much? I mean I know they get shot at and all but is it similar to Vietnam in that aspect?
 
highlander0
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:04 pm

Hmmm, alot of that might be restricted due to OPSEC, I might be wrong.


There was a recent Jane's article on UK helo's and brown outs- but if you're only looking at US, then I can't really help [:
 
pjflysfast
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:56 pm



Quoting Highlander0 (Reply 1):
but if you're only looking at US, then I can't really help

No not at all. I am also interested in the UK's involvement. In fact I have been watching videos about British troops in Afghanistan and I must say I have earned a lot of respect for them. I do want to know the difference though between the British troops and the British Marines. Is it the same idea as it is with the US army and the United States Marines?
 
highlander0
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:09 pm

Essentially, the Royal Marines are the 'Troops' of the Royal Navy. They are (surprise surprise) primarily trained in amphibious assult. They are also the specialists in mountain and Arctic warfare.

[ur=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Marines]link[/url]
 
pjflysfast
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:19 pm

What are the standards in order to get into the British Military? How old do you have to be? What is the training like? How long are you required to stay in the Military?
 
JohnM
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:19 am

I found that only a few items had accelerated wear and/or required extra maintenance in Iraq. Main rotor blade tip caps did did require replacement frequently, due to hitting airborne debris. Windshields due to MANY bird strikes ( Yes I know that sounds strange in Iraq), and windshield damage from sand and rocks being kicked up. Many quality hours bonding with our pressure washers, trying to keep the majority of the dust and sand off the birds (inside and out). Some days I had to plan for an early show time to pressure wash the aircraft before take off. Engines did pretty well, and we didn't use inlet barrier filters the whole time. Birds took out a few engines however, inlet barrier filters would have prevented that.

Some inspection intervals were actually extended during my tour, to include oil samples.

I found once the "bad actor" parts got replaced during maintenance, the aircraft (in my case the UH-60), flew very well and were reliable beyond my wildest imagination. Part of this was us getting better at our jobs, and fixing the beat up loaner aircraft that we received very shortly before we shipped over seas. We did have a bit of a rough start with some radio issues in the early part of our deployment, but those got resolved as well.

Of course putting gobs of hours on the aircraft meant periodic inspections also came around very quickly, that's why sometimes oil samples made me scratch my head thinking I just did the damn things on this bird just the other day. Which was true, but it comes around quickly when they start flying 6-8 hours a day.

Elastomeric bearings used on the UH-60 require no lubrication and are sealed. So the desert didn't cause big issues there. I think as the case with most aircraft, the more they flew, the less major malfunctions occurred.

Enemy small arms fire wasn't a big factor for me, I don't want to be too specific but some guy did put a hole in our only L model, which I didn't appreciate.

I consider the AH-64 a more complex aircraft than the UH-60. It took lots of work, but the -64s flew a lot, and they weren't hanger queens. Of course the OH-58s are always flying. All these aircraft are mature, and have been proven in past operations.
 
dragon6172
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:34 am



Quoting PJFlysFast (Thread starter):
I was just wondering what kind of wear and tear do the helicopters in Iraq go through. I mean how often do they have to get new parts dew to the sand, and do they get hit with small arms fire much? I mean I know they get shot at and all but is it similar to Vietnam in that aspect?

For the most part the wear and tear on components just comes from the much higher operation tempo over there. We typically were flying two to three times the number of flight hours a month there, than we did here state side training. As for "combat" damage, my unit never took any rounds through the airframe. Chock it up to good mission planning or luck, but we never saw it. I would venture to say that is the case with most helo units over there, especially on the Marine side. Cant speak too much for the Army, i know there lil Birds and Apaches fly low and slow a lot. Makes it easier to hit ya when you do that.
As for the enviromental side, the dust can really take a toll on the rotor blades and engines. We had this thin rubber tape that we put along the leading edge of our blades to help combat the rotor blade errosion from the sand, and we performed engine compressor washes and inspections twice as often. I would say that 80-90 percent of the places we flew to, were base to base moving people around. In which case you are landing on some type of improved surface, be it a road, runway, marshall matting, or maybe just some rock that was laid down to keep the dust down.
Phrogs Phorever
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:58 pm



Quoting PJFlysFast (Reply 4):
What are the standards in order to get into the British Military? How old do you have to be? What is the training like? How long are you required to stay in the Military?

Well it depends on what job you do, whether you want to be an officer or soldier and if you are regular (full time) or territorial (part time) army.
But for regular army:

For fitness, everyone has to pass a series of fitness tests

Physical Standards Selection for Recruits (PSSR). This is done during your selection to see whether your are fit to go onto Phase one training.
These are 'best effort' tests that take place in the gymnasium. Recruits are required to complete the 1.5 mile (2.4km) run in 14 minutes or less.
Once you've been selected for the army, you do fitness during your phase one and beyond, you never stop !!
For infantry, the fitness is:

BFPA (Basic Personal Fitness Assessment) - Sit ups, press-ups and a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) run, all carried out against the clock. This tests individual fitness generally. The minimum fitness goals are: 54 continuous sit ups (with feet supported) and a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) run in 11 minutes 45 seconds.

ICFT (Infantry Combat Fitness Test) - A distance of three miles as a squad carrying 56 pounds of kit each, including your personal weapon. Timed to be completed in one hour, individuals must stay with the squad, or be failed.




Soldier: 16-33yrs old
Officer: 17-28yrs old

Soldier: No qualifications required except for techical jobs (engineer etc).
Officer: 2 A-levels (although most officers now have degrees too).

Soldier: 14 weeks basic trainin at a training regiment (Phase one, which is just learning basic infantry skills, how to march etc), followed by Phase two training, which can last anywhere between a few months and a few years depending on what trade you do (ythis is where you learn your trade, so engineers learn how to fix, military police learn how to arrest people etc)

Officer: 1yr (it's technically a 44 week couse but meh) at Sandhurst, which is the officer training place (it's our requivilant of West Point), after finishing Sandhurst, you do an officers version of phase two where they learn how to be an officer in their chosen Corps or Regiment etc.

Soldier: Minimum of 4yrs service
Officer: Minimum of 3yrs service after leaving Sandhust (so 4yrs).

Hope that helps, if you want to know more just ask
Wrighbrothers

P.S- To answer your question, yes helicopters do come under small arms fire, infact it's not unknow for bullets to go through into the cabin if fire is heavy. The helicopters have lots of strain and I'd assume that the engines and airframe take a good beating. They have to be fixed more often and this means troops like me end up sat out in the middle of the dessert waiting for a Chinook to come pick us up because there ain't one available.
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
GDB
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:00 pm

Thanks for the insight by Wrightbrothers.

The Royal Marines, in their recruiting ads, stated that 95% need not apply , (I think!)
That's not hyperbole, the Commando training (including for Army units in support of 3 Commando Brigade), is extremely intensive.
They are not special forces as such, but not general infantry either, somewhere in between, they do have a SF unit, the Special Boat Squadron , really a more marine specialised version of the Army's Special Air Service .

The Army has 3 regular battalions of the Parachute Regiment , the 1st Battalion has now a more specialised SF support role, rather like the US Army Rangers.
To get the coveted Red Beret of the Paras, you have to pass another extremely hard training programme, not just in parachuting, but including the notorious P Company physical endurance and teamworking tests.
This also has a very high dropout rate, even with regular troops seeking a transfer into the supporting roles of the airborne forces.
A friend who is a career senior NCO, had to do this training to join 16th Air Assault Brigade , in his mid 30's, he reckons it by far the hardest thing he's ever had to do, including operational deployments in Iraq.

However, the fighting in Afghanistan has been so intense, normal, line infantry units are often undertaking tasks not long ago the more the role of SF.

The British forces do suffer from too few support choppers, this is not new, I remember an editorial in Flight International lamenting this fact, but this was in 1986!
However, there have been some improvements with more to come, though the direct result of operational need.
Such as reactivating 8 stored Chinooks, to a standard operational fit, after the programme to turn them into specialised SF support machines went tits up.
As well as getting 6 existing Merlins from Denmark, (and funding the replacements for the Danes).
And seriously upgrading the Lynx, in both it's Naval and light support/scout role, is underway, though more will be needed in the utility role than currently programmed.

The RAF operate medium/heavy support choppers, in the UK this means the Puma, Merlin and Chinook.
The RN also have a fleet of Sea King HC.4's, these are grouped together under Joint Helicopter Force , any asset can be deployed where needed regardless of what service it's from.
JHF has also effected the incremental upgrades to RAF Chinooks (and Army Apaches) for easier deployment from ships in the RN's Amphibious Ready Group .

The Army operate lighter helicopters and some fixed wing.
From the small Gazelle scout chopper, to the Lnyx, with the newest addition, licence built WAH-64D Apaches.
These Apaches's, built at Westlands, have R/R engines, UK specific equipment fits, but are basically similar to the US Army AH-64D.
Some BN Islanders are in Army service, initially for liaison, now also in surveillance and anti insurgent roles, such as jamming frequencies for IED detonation.
These will be joined by Beech King Airs, being fitted with equipment that is classified, presumably in the anti insurgent role.

Currently, Army Lynx and Apaches are in Afghanistan, with RAF Chinooks, to be reportedly joined by RAF Merlins.
RAF Chinooks, Pumas and Merlins are/have been, deployed in Iraq, along with Army Lynx, Islanders, Navy Sea King HC.4's.
 
pjflysfast
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:23 pm

Wow guys thanks for all this information! One more question though. How is the L-90 compared to the M-16/M4?
 
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STT757
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:43 pm

I was reading an article online about the Marines Osprey's in Iraq, the good:

The sand in Iraq is not a big problem for the Ospreys, the quote was the sand in Arizona where they were training prior to deployment was causing more headaches.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
dragon6172
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:32 am



Quoting STT757 (Reply 10):
The sand in Iraq is not a big problem for the Ospreys, the quote was the sand in Arizona where they were training prior to deployment was causing more headaches.

I think that is because the sand in AZ has more rocks, which equals more dinged windscreens. That was their big issue during WTI in Yuma in 2000. The sand in Iraq sucks, its real fine and gets in the air blowing around when someone freaking sneezes. Crews just get used to whats safe and comfortable to fly in, the sand is not much of an issue for anyone else as well.
Not sure how many raids and other like missions the Osprey has been doing. The other reason the sand is not a big issue is flying the "bus route" from base to base to base you are always landing on improved surfaces. Less dust, less problems.
Phrogs Phorever
 
highlander0
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:19 pm

RE British Army info - remember- Google is your friend.



Also, Seaking Mk4+ (Carson blades) are to be deployed to Afghanistan.


There has been a report (in aviaition press) of a Merlin Mk3 on return to base, the riggers finding 2 bullet holes in the roots of the main rotor.
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:47 pm

Not to take this too much off topic but meh..

Quoting PJFlysFast (Reply 9):
One more question though. How is the L-90 compared to the M-16/M4?

I presume you mean the L85 (more commonly known as the SA80)

The 'old' version of the SA80 (the SA80-A1) deserved its reputation, a stoppage with every magazine or so could be expected even in temperate climates but handles like a different weapon after H&K worked their magic to create the SA80-A2.

The L85 is without doubt superior in performance to the US AR-15 (M16). However, in saying this, we're not comparing like with like. The M16 first entered service with the US Air Force in 1964, with the M16A1 entering Army service in 1967. The SA80 and M16 are therefore different generation weapons, and direct comparisons are difficult to make.

My experience with the M16 is that it suffers far more stoppages in the desert and is generally less accurate, although not by much. It is long and unweildly in comparison with the SA80. Even the LSW (Light Support Weapon) version of the SA80 is still shorter than the M16. The SA80 rifle is shorter than the M4 carbine family while maintaining a barrel length longer than the full length M16. On the other hand, the M16 is very light and can be fired from both shoulders, whereas the bullpup design of the SA80 limits it to a right shoulder fired weapon only.


Wrighbrothers
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
Phil K
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:24 pm

Can I ask what the weapons you mentioned are like as opposed to the Russian AK-74, which is supposed to be the best in the world ?
(I am not even up to the level of newbie at this subject, so be reasonable !)
 
GDB
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:51 pm

I think the AK series reputation is not for say, accuracy, rather it's for being very sturdy, plus the fact the Russians exported an untold number of them, as well as all the production, licenced or not, in many countries, including China-another massive exporter of them.
All since, in it's various versions, the late 1940's.
There are just so many of them out there.
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:59 pm



Quoting Phil K (Reply 14):
Can I ask what the weapons you mentioned are like as opposed to the Russian AK-74, which is supposed to be the best in the world ?
(I am not even up to the level of newbie at this subject, so be reasonable !)

No worries, well as GDB said, the AK-47 (when compared to the SA-80 and M-16) is inaccurate, it's definately not a marksman weapon.
What it is mean for is to be reliable, sturdy and put down a lot of fire (which in doing so reduces its accuracy).
I mean its simplicity is why it was so mass produced and why infact it is used by child soldiers, I doubt many child soldiers could operate and maintain an SA80 out in the dessert for long.
It can withstand being a lot more dirty than our modern weapons, as our weapons need regular cleaning and don't like having dirt in any of the working parts, while the AK could probably go through a mud pit and still work. This is because of the large gas piston, generous clearances between moving parts, and tapered cartridge case design.

Basicaly, the AK47 is more reliable and robust then modern NATO weapons and can keep your head down, but our NATO weapons are more accurate and so if a guys in your sights, is a better bet.

Wrighbrothers
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
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LAXPAX
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:49 am



Quoting Phil K (Reply 14):
Can I ask what the weapons you mentioned are like as opposed to the Russian AK-74, which is supposed to be the best in the world ?

Excellent responses, but I have to wonder if Phil K's post wasn't a typo? Because there is of course such a weapon as the AK-74. Having said that, perhaps your responses apply equally to that weapon too!

Back on topic: The topic creator should do a search for every thread in which the user UH60FtRucker participated. That guy is a walking encyclopedia of in-theater rotorcraft performance.  Big grin
"Remember, no matter where you go... there you are." -- Buckaroo Banzai
 
Alessandro
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:42 pm

Seem like Turkey lost a Cobra in the North of Iraq, anyone knows if this is the first cobra to down in Iraq?
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
dragon6172
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:35 pm



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 18):
Seem like Turkey lost a Cobra in the North of Iraq, anyone knows if this is the first cobra to down in Iraq?

Maybe the first for Turkey, the Marine Corps has lost a couple.
Phrogs Phorever
 
L-188
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:51 am



Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 13):
The L85 is without doubt superior in performance to the US AR-15 (M16).

HA!!! I have seen way way too many photos and discriptions of SAS types running around with M-4's to buy that.



Still in both cases IMHO the M1 Garand is a better combat weapon.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
UH60FtRucker
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:07 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 20):

HA!!! I have seen way way too many photos and discriptions of SAS types running around with M-4's to buy that.

Bah... the M4 is junk. And if we're going to compare the two, compare the L22 carbine against the M4, not the L85.

If there has been one thing that the US military has consistently dropped the ball on, it has been replacing the M16/M4. But alas, there is too much politics and special interests involved to drop it in favor of a better weapon.

-UH60
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.
 
L-188
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:53 am



Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 21):
If there has been one thing that the US military has consistently dropped the ball on, it has been replacing the M16/M4. But alas, there is too much politics and special interests involved to drop it in favor of a better weapon.

Well, I am not a big fan of directly injecting exhaust gasses into the chamber of a rifle, but that is the principal the Armalite AR-10/15 are built on. It is worth note that the concept was abandoned by no less then Stoner himself when he developed the AR-18.

I do like what I have read about the M-416 upper that H&K is pushing, especially when it could be procured as a drop in replacement for existant M-16/M-4 lowers.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
GDB
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:07 pm

That was when the SA80 was the A1, not the A2, L-188.
(And given the extreme intensity of the fighting it's users have been engaged in, if it was still a lemon, we'd know).

But SF, including in the US, have always been able to be picky with their weapons, the UK SF favour the Canadian variant of the M-16A2, since the late 1980's.
(They also got the Mimini SAW then, something the rest did not get until an urgent operational requirement changed that in early 2003).

Who outside the USN 'SEALS' used the radical Stoner system in the 60's?

Indeed, in the Borneo campaign in the early/mid 60's, the SAS/SBS used early model M-16's well before much of the US forces had them. They supplemented the FN FAL derived SLR's, really replacing SMG's, rather like the Aussies in Vietnam.
 
L-188
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:43 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
That was when the SA80 was the A1, not the A2, L-188.

Still I wouldn't want to get in a bayonet fight with an SA80, your hands are a little bit too close to the action if you get what I mean.

Again a nice long rifle seems the way to go in that case.

Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
But SF, including in the US, have always been able to be picky with their weapons, the UK SF favour the Canadian variant of the M-16A2, since the late 1980's.

The Canadians AFAIK never went to the three round burst on their C7 rifles....full auto all the way!!!
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
GDB
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:30 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 24):
The Canadians AFAIK never went to the three round burst on their C7 rifles....full auto all the way!!!

Perhaps a factor in the SAS choosing it?

Bayonets on the SA80A2 have been used, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
True not ideal, but the Army were more concerned about the fact that modern infantry spend a lot of time in confined areas, be they APC's or in built up areas.

The British Army have favoured bullpups since the late 1940's, just the original version would not have really worked when NATO chose the 7.62mm round, rather than something smaller.
So they adapted the FAL, re-chambered the Bren, later chose the FN MAG.
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: Helicopters In Iraq

Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:39 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 20):
HA!!! I have seen way way too many photos and discriptions of SAS types running around with M-4's to buy that.

That is true, but the parachute regiment, pathfinders, Ghurkurs and infact everybody else in the non special forces side of things (along with the special forces support group and the TA SAS) use the SA80 in the same conditions as the SAS and it works fine, infact 22 SAS and the SBS are the only regiments who don't use the SA80 and certainly the TA SAS do almost the exactly the same stuff as the regulars, and function fine with the SA80.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 24):
The Canadians AFAIK never went to the three round burst on their C7 rifles....full auto all the way!!!

We only use full auto for trench clearning, all other times it's burst fire because the MoD saw that the Americans wasted lots of ammo during the vietnam war (when they were looking into the SA80) and to be honest, you never really need full auto, it's too in-acurate and too dangerous in confined spaces.

Personaly i'd say the SLR was a better weapon but they're different things.
Wrighbrothers
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..

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