Combat Helicopter Opens with Focus Day Reviewing Lift Capacity, Protection and Troop Transport Requirements
The Combat Helicopter meeting, chaired by Air Marshal Greg Bagwell CB CBE, Deputy Commander of Operations, Royal Air Force, began with the Focus Day reviewing the lift capacity research programs under consideration.
Colonel Hank Vanderborght USMC, CH-53 Program Manager, Naval Air Systems Command opened the conference providing an insight into the requirement to increase lift capacity and covered very different elements from the development and delivery of the CH53K - a truly heavy lift helicopter with 18,000 kg of useful payload.
The opening stream gave delegates an introduction of the NH90 into the Belgian Air Force, including its deployment to Mali and then the challenges faced by Macedonia in upgrading its Mi8/17 /24 fleet.
Supportability, through life costs and airworthiness were recurring themes. The challenges of maintaining capability with small fleet sizes was also highlighted
The second session focussed on protection. The key question of “how do you know if your DAS is working” was posed. Does the BIT give this assurance? The presentation suggested not, a worrying concept for operators in the room!
The proposition put forward is that the system has to be externally tested in a way that is repeatable and recordable. This would allow for continued optimal performance to be assured and to allow for that performance to be recorded in a way that would satisfy an audit.
The protection theme was continued by Dr Phil Zanker, Priciple Engineer Air Platform Protection, UK MoD DSTL and Ciocirlan Constantin, Project Officer Engage, with a presentation for the European Defence Agencies work on Counter Surface to Air Fire. Rather than looking at specific equipment or systems, this project has looked at the broader capability development and highlighted the studies completed under the EDA banner.
Delegates completed the Focus Day with a broad look at 3 very different aspects of providing troop transport.
The governance roles and capabilities of NSPA were illustrated through looking at several case studies of how the organisation has successfully acted on behalf of Nations and partners both individually and collectively.
The multinational organisation theme was continued with a look at the EDA Helicopter Exercise programme and an analysis of the challenges inherent in delivering such training iterations.
The day closed with a look at solutions to the safe transport of cargo - highlighting the devastating effects that not addressing this issue can cause.
Delegates will return for Day 1 of the main 2-day programme with 18 speakers providing unique insights and presentations into current and future capabilities.