Excuse my ignorance but why swap our current fleet of seasprite helo's for the Aussie ones? Apart from numbers what does NZ gain? I was under the impression that ours were purchased brand new and the ones destined for the RAAF where refurbished craft from storage?
The Aussie one were rebuilt from frames in storage, stripped down and rebuilt to new condition with 0 hrs on the clock. Advantages are the numbers and the spares package. The current problem with the Sprites is corrosion taking up a lot of time to repair and spares support. It will be much cheaper to buy the Aussie ones and operate them for 15 years than to buy another type of helo.
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 4, 2012 1:01:31 GMT 12
Don, I wonder if that buyer lined up is the Royal Australian Navy ;D
It does make sense if they can get them to work well. More attrition airframes will eleviate the spares sourcing issues, plus they will be very cheap, and corrosion free. The Seasprite has proven a good aircraft for the Navy up till recent corrosion issues, as far as I can see.
The real problem in the publics perception of value and the lack of investment by governments. If we get the I models, when the announcement is made that its is going to cost $xxx, watch the greenie tree huggers and lefty socialists say 'you could have xxx hip operations or fund xx teachers or xxx endangered west coast snails' etc etc etc.
As well as getting what you pay for, you also get what you vote for.
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 4, 2012 14:52:21 GMT 12
Les and Phil, you're probably the best to know this, as No. 6 Squadron alumni. I know the Seasprites do occasionally make public appearances at events, but do the squadron's helicopters give a lot of value back to the public, in terms of maritime rescues of boaties, etc? And with other projects, such as heavy lifting or transport for community groups, etc - like the Iroquois does.
No. 3 Squadron is often in the media and public eye for its good and great works rescuing people in the bush, up mountains and from ships; and helping community groups with projects such as the national walkway, and stopping criminals on the run or finding drug plantations, and helping stricken animals in snow and disasters, and helping out in quakes and floods, and helping DOC projects by transporting rare birds to islands, etc.
Does much of this kind of non-military public activity go on with the Seasprites?
I'm just curious, considering the statement made above regarding public perception.
Well their primary roles are anti surface and anti submarine warfare, so not a lot of scope for community work with an attack helicopter.
However with their secondary roles such as vertrep and winching, they are pretty much the sole means of transporting all the DOC supplies to Raul Island for the annual re-supply.
They also provided 24 hour SAR coverage out of Tauranga during OP RENA, and did quite a lot of winching of the salvors etc. The FLIR makes them a fairly useful SAR tool, and they have carried out SARs in the past.
Public perception may have been better described as public ignorance. For the Air Combat Force you regularly heard,that in xx years we have never used them to fight a war. The fact we hadnt used them meant they did their job of being a deterant.
DOC is a regular customer of 6Sqn, both in NZ and the islands. The Sqn has taken part in SAR but as it doesnt have a dedicated SAR role like 3Sqn (2 hrs standby) its generally on a 'well we were in the area when we heard the call' sort of thing. Pretty sure a Sprite took part in initial survey/photographing Northland floods a few years back too.
Current word in the air force is that we will be returning our 5 SH-2G(NZ) aircraft to Kaman in exchange for up to 11 SH-2G(I) aircraft, which are the ex aussie ones.
I heard the same at Ohakea over the weekend. Apparently Kaman already have a buyer for our aircraft.
If this eventuates are there any "catches" to this eg can NZDF hang onto the SH-2G(NZ)'s until the SH-2G(I)'s are fully bedded into service and proven?
Or will NZ swap out its (NZ) Seasprites and spend a few years trying to reach IOC (and iron out any potential flaws etc), and not have a ready-to-go "warfighting" Seasprite a la (NZ) model in the interim?
To have a buyer is one thing, but that might mean NZ has to hastly remove the (NZ) model from service?