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Author Topic: War leads to trebling of helicopters stripped for spare parts  (Read 5819 times)

Offline tigershark

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War leads to trebling of helicopters stripped for spare parts
Cannibalisation of Britain's Apache attack helicopter squadrons for spare parts has trebled since 2003 because of the punishing tempo of operations in support of frontline troops in Afghanistan.

Figures released by the Ministry of Defence show that 251 parts were stripped out of other gunships in the 12 months up to January 31 this year to keep the eight machines used as flying artillery in Helmand province available for missions. This compares with 80 incidences in 2003 and 72 in 2004.

The MoD said: "All UK helicopters deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are considered fit for purpose, but not all will be available for operational flying each day due to routine maintenance requirements.

"However, these factors are taken into consideration, and sufficient helicopters are provided to meet current operational requirements.

"Cannibalisation is an accepted short-term measure employed by aviation forces around the world to ensure the maximum number of aircraft are available. It is often the only course of action where replacement items cannot be sourced in the required time frame."

Major-General Ton van Loon of the Royal Netherlands Army, who was in charge of the coalition's southern command last year, added: "Without helicopters, operations in southern Afghanistan are not possible. It is unacceptable that a soldier dies because the medevac helicopter and its attack helicopter escort are not available. Several times last year, we came very close to not getting this right because we were stretched."

Lord Drayson, the UK's former procurement minister, denied last year that shortages put anyone's life at risk.

"There is no shortfall of spare parts for Apache helicopters in Afghanistan."

The MoD claims that commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan had enough helicopters to do "key tasks" although it admits that "with more they could do more".

12:56am Friday 7th March 2008

By IAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent


Offline WRCKid

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Re: War leads to trebling of helicopters stripped for spare parts
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2008, 12:00:39 AM »
WOW, that's amazing both the RNLAF and RAF apache Helicopters are not cheap either, it just amazes me to this occurring of course I would assume it is cheaper to do rather than to buy, the parts new...

Does anyone have an accurate account of how many of these birds both countries have? (just curious)

Offline Webmaster

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Re: War leads to trebling of helicopters stripped for spare parts
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2008, 04:14:12 AM »
Well, Boeing nor AW is shipping directly to Afghanistan now, are they? If you need to keep your birds up there, and it takes let's say a week for the parts to come from the UK or NL, provided you put them on the next flight, it's better to take the part from another aircraft and ship that, and order a new part for the cannabalized airframe in the mean time (it could be going maintenance anyway). You're fighting a war several thousands of miles away. It's a good short-term measure, but the number of instances certainly show that the logistics chain isn't running as smoothly as it should and probably that the wear-and-tear is tremendous.

You have bought more than you need for a reason.

We don't know how long it takes for the part to be replaced on the victim. We don't know the condition of the victim. We don't know which parts are concerned, long-lead items?

It has nothing to do with the price, actually, it's the other way around. More expensive, the more parts, or higher quality, or more complex parts, you are dealing with bigger logistics chain and longer leads. You just need more spare parts, if you run out, it's time to use your spare aircraft or use their parts.

UK: 67 ordered, 8 delivered, 59 built, I think I've read about one incident which resulted in a write-off? Don't have more info. The British machines have RR engines, which seems perform better in hot-and-high conditions than the GE ones, Longbow is carried (Americans uninstalled it for Afghanistan). Field mod: Instead of full capacity of rounds, they've used some space for additional fuel.

NL: 30 ordered, (12 interim AH-64As lend), 30 delivered, 1 written-off in Afghanistan crash, leaving 29. Of which 8 are stationed in the US for training, five deployed to Afghanistan. That leaves 16, now 1 was damaged in the powerline incident, 4 needed repairs after Italian fueling mishap, that leaves 11... well let's say 8 are in operation in the NL at any given time at the most. Note AH-64D, without Longbow, the add-on was never bought. Turned out to be quite convenient as it's not really needed in Afghanistan and saves weight. They do have received a countermeasures upgrade though, basically bolt onto the wingtips, so Stinger carriage on the tips is no longer possible. Then again, those A-A Stingers weren't bought either I think, we do have the MANPAD Stingers in operation. Not sure how it works, compatibility wise.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2008, 04:18:01 AM by Webmaster »
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