Indications are that the number of SH-2G airframes could be down to 9 shortly. Ecuador put in the paperwork for approval to buy 2 SH-2G about a month ago (presumably these are SH-2G(I) models). Perhaps though they are just ticking some boxes to ensure a competitive tender - who knows if they really intend to buy? www.shephardmedia.com/news/rotorhub/ecuador-requests-super-seasprites/10136/
These helos are planned to operate from a couple of ex-Chilean Leander class frigates (as per our old HMNZS Canterbury).
I haven't heard any feedback to that effect from the Aircrew that have flown the I models.
That doesn't mean its not true. Here is some information to back up my statement. Although the following mentions the cyclic and not the collective, I was told that movement of this was also affected. I was informed of this issue by guys who had built the aircraft in Connecticut and then went on to Nowra to get it certified. I recently read each Seasprite was going to cost AD100,000,000 each! Ouch!
From Australian Defence Magazine, 10 January 2008:
"There are a multiple dimensions to this issue as well, including a lack of redundancy in electronic flight control systems, and a simple lack of physical space in the cabin to exercise full control. The latter problem is largely caused by the extension of the aircraft's centreline console to the left to accommodate additional electronic equipment. Under some circumstances this can see the aircraft's flight controls jammed against the co pilot's leg, particularly if the co pilot is of greater than jockey size."
From The Australian Auditor General Audit Report on the Seasprite:
Another major deficiency related to space constraints within the cockpit which potentially prevented aircrew from exercising full control of the aircraft. This issue was known as anthropometric restrictions and was a particularly significant in circumstances when a qualified Helicopter Instructer occupied the left seat and needed to intervene to correct student mishandling. Size restrictions on the aircrew occupying the cockpit were imposed with some aircrew having to leave 805 Sqn as they were antropometrically unsuitable to operate the Super Seasprite.
In 2006 Defence was considering regearing the cyclic to alleviate these restrictions...
The project was cancelled prior to this issue being resolved."
Anthropometry is the science of the measurement of the human individual.
If you can get a copy of the Australian defence Magazine article, it is a brief but good read on the issues affecting the Seasprite.
"The 10 Seasprites currently in Australia have had their airworthiness certificates withdrawn because of anomalies in the fly-by-wire flight control system. Three times in the 1800 hours so far clocked up by the Seasprite fleet in their interim non-operational flying spec, there have been "out of envelope experiences" encountered. These have seen the aircraft flying 10 to 12 degrees nose up or down before the pilot has been able to intervene and correct the situation. Unnerving at the best of times, this defect could be catastrophic taking off from or landing on the pitching deck of a Destroyer in rough seas.
The problem in the automatic flight control system is essentially caused by a faulty computer card that sometimes supplies incorrect data to the flight control computer. Software in that computer is unable to detect that the data supplied is out of the possible range of information it should expect, and thus causes an over correction in the flight controls.
Helicopter manufacturer Kaman Aerospace Corporation has been able to replicate the fault in its laboratories and claims to have developed a solution. It remains to be seen whether or not that solution is ever implemented. However, the contract with Kaman is under Australian law, and as the defect is related directly to fitness for purpose provisions it should be corrected at no cost to the taxpayer if the government elects to go down that path.
The second, more time consuming and potentially expensive issue relates directly to the human machine interface used to control the helicopter. The Seasprite is a 1960s airframe that was originally controlled manually, and wider problems have been encountered in trying to overlay the original system with later technology."
Last Edit: Oct 30, 2011 13:19:35 GMT 12 by nuuumannn
Let’s consider a possible decision by the New Zealand Defence Force to buy the ex-Australian SH-2G(I) Seasprites. By far the most crucial issues that the NZDF will face is whether the SH-2G(I)s can be made electronically compatible with Royal New Zealand Navy vessels and whether the current situation with the RNZAF’s Seasprites will disappear with the purchase of the ex-Australian ones.
As stated earlier in this thread, the SH-2G(A)s were originally designed to operate from the RAN ANZAC Class frigates and a fleet of Offshore Patrol Vessels that were to be built in conjunction with Malaysia. The cancellation of these led many in Australia to question the viability of continuing the Seasprite acquisition due to the fact that the SH-60 Seahawk in RAN service could, in fact operate from the ANZAC Class frigates.
While the RNZN frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana are of the same design as their Australian ANZAC counterparts, I am certain that the RNZN ships and the Seasprites will not be electronically compatible as they are at present. Furthermore, the mission profiles of the SH-2G(I)s exceed in capability what is required by the NZDF for its ship based helicopters, meaning that there will be redundancy of systems. Despite this however, Kaman have stated they will carry out any modifications and remove any redundant systems to cater to the customer's needs.
Modifying the Seasprites to compatibility with RNZN vessels will not be cheap, despite assurances by Kaman. It will not be a case of “we’re gonna need a bigger boat”, but that we are going to need a bigger budget. Doing this is also going to increase in scale the current relationship that the NZDF has with Kaman, who will play a greater role in the introduction of the helicopters into RNZAF service beyond simply supplying manufacturer support as they do for the current fleet of RNZAF Seasprites.
Add to these factors the disposal of the current fleet and the overall cost of the exercise rises considerably. No doubt, the NZDF will want to hold on to the current Seasprites until the “new” ones enter service, which might not be for a long time after the purchase agreement is made. Even then, their disposal will not be as swift as the NZDF might hope. Examples of why this might be need not be repeated here.
Essentially, the guarantee that Kaman must be able to provide for the NZDF is that the issues affecting the current fleet will not affect the fleet of Is once they are in service. After all, if they did, what would be the point of going through with the whole time and money wasting exercise in the first instance?
I recently read an article in an Asian defence magazine where a Kaman executive made a telling statement, which supports incompatibility issues with our ships:
"The company also pointed out that Australia never acquired the type of naval ships that were to serve as the Seasprites' platform."
"Australia complained that Kaman failed to deliver the aircraft's advanced software systems on schedule. Kaman acknowledges this, attributing the delay to a subcontractor, and says the work has since been completed."
One obvious issue the NZDF will be wary of is that purchasing these helicopters might bring about yet another defence project beset with cost over runs and delays. Experience with recent projects will weigh heavily on NZDF planners about to make any purchasing decision in future.
Last Edit: Oct 31, 2011 1:42:03 GMT 12 by nuuumannn
No, I think he means it wont cost us to have them in storage for 10 years and then sold or given to museums. I would say its likely Kaman will want the airframes as part of the deal, a bit like a trade in for your car. The current G models are becoming unsustainable and do not generate enough flying hours for the crews to keep current. They need replacing....... What with, a new type such as the Seahawks or buy another version that is effectively new, we already know how to operate a SH-2 and how the systems work etc and a lot of the parts are similar. If the price I hear them being offered at is true, even if we get another 10 years out of them its well worth it.
Based on that statement the helicopters and non common spares are now at zero dollars value so there is no residule value to write off. A horrendus rate of depreciation must have been applied.
No worse than the 30 odd LAVs that haven't got any kms on them yet and are up for sale! At least the 'Sprites have been in use for the last 15 years and will have already depretiated a fair bit of their original purchase price.
No, I think he means it wont cost us to have them in storage for 10 years and then sold or given to museums.
Unfortunately if they have a book value keeping them in storage rather then sell/swapping costs the NZDF money which it must pay to the Government. It's called Captial Charge. See www.ssc.govt.nz/node/1332 We get noting for free these days.
the current fleet wont cost anything to dispose of
How do you know that?
They wont be in storage.
Of course they'll be in storage! You don't actually believe they would be left on the ramp fully serviceable and not operated, do you? Whether they were kept here in NZ or at Kaman's Bloomfield Connecticut facility (which would be the most likely scenario), the aircraft would go into storage until they were sold. One would be kept serviceable as a demonstration aircraft.
This from Asian Defence Magazine on the SH-2G(I)s:
"Today, ten of the submarine-hunting aircraft rest side by side in a warehouse on Kaman's 200-acre Bloomfield campus, their 44-foot main rotors stowed in airtight canisters and other parts packed and neatly stacked beside them. (The 11th, a demonstration aircraft, is kept elsewhere on the campus.)"
There would be no reason to expect Kaman not to keep the ex-RNZAF ones in a similar condition.You can pretty much guarantee that if they were disposed of by NZDF, they would not shift as rapidly as either the NZDF or Kaman would hope them to.
Hi Phil, nobody is asking you to reveal state secrets, but just responding with one line statements without follow up is just annoying. I, too have worked on sensitive government projects in my career, but let's be honest; if you know something we don't, keep it to yourself; don't even bother posting in response to these things. It's obnoxious.
If push comes to shove and they need to replace them, what would the most suitable replacement? and how many? Given the problems with not having enough to use at any given time, would they increase the order over 5? Would the Super Lynx be a replacement? or the maritime varient of the NH90 or the SH-60?
MH60R highly capable but way too expensive for NZ budget 100 million + per unit MH60S lacks search radar basically logistics helicopter. NH90 new technology not sure if they will fit on frigates commonality with RNZAF NH90 AW139 lynx wildcat 27 million pounds per unit expensive for similar capability as sea sprite. SH70B proven technology so less risk easily intergrated on ANZAC frigates some common with current seasprite radar , Engine etc , used by nations Australia Singapore US Improved capability over existing platform.