Tag Archives: Sikorsky

Swedish police will use military helicopters

Swedish Armed Forces Hkp 16 (Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk) and Hkp 14 (NH-90) tactical transport helicopters during an air assault demonstration at the 2012 Swedish Military Airshow (Försvarsmaktens Huvudflygdag) at F3 Malmslätt, Linköping. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Swedish Armed Forces Hkp 16 (Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk) and Hkp 14 (NH-90) tactical transport helicopters during an air assault demonstration at the 2012 Swedish Military Airshow (Försvarsmaktens Huvudflygdag) at F3 Malmslätt, Linköping. (Image © Marcel Burger)

The Swedish police will start using the country’s military medium-lift helicopters for SWAT insertion. The additional task for the Armed Forces Helicopter Command (Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottiljen) comes directly from the national government in Stockholm.

The decision was made after evaluation of the country’s anti-terror readiness and implements lessons learned from the terror attacks/mass murder in neighbouring Norway on July 22nd, 2011. As a sort of kick-off the ministers of Justice and Defence together visited the Helikopterflottiljen at Linköping the past week.

From January 2014 the Armed Forces Hkp 15 (NHI NH90) and Hkp 16 (Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk) will be available at request of the police authorities. Yet unclear, but likely is that the helicopter force will be spread out across the country somewhat.

For an effective co-operation between the military helicopter crew and civilian police it is possible that one or two NH90s or Black Hawks will be based at the airports of Stockholm-Arlanda, Göteborg-Säve, Malmö-Sturup and Östersund. They will then join the police’s own Eurocopter EC135s at these locations. In the far north of the country the military helicopters might stay at the airbase section of Luleå-Kallax, with the police EC135 unit at nearby Boden. Stockholm-Bromma is considered a good alternative base in the capital area.

The Swedish police currently is being reorganised, but with only 5 EC135s at their disposal the air support is very much limited. There is already some co-operation between the Swedish military and civilian police, but since the end of the Cold War that has been very limited.

Swedish defence minister Karin Enström, however, did highlight recent events when visiting the Helicopter Command at F3 Malmslätt in Linköping. ,,When US president Obama visited Sweden recently, two Black Hawks were available 24/7 at Bromma airport in Stockholm. The improved involvement will give more clearness to both police and the Armed Forces.”

Armed response to anything happening in the Swedish society is first of all a task for the country’s police, writes a press spokesperson of the Helikopterflottiljen. ,,The military helicopter’s role will be to transport police officers with their equipment and see to it that they will be inserted as close to the response area or an object as possible. The increased support will mean police and military will have to create common routines and joint training possibilities during daytime, later to be extended during nighttime.”

Norway uses military Bell 412s out of Rygge to support the police of the capital of Oslo and it is this co-operation that the Swedish government sees as a good example for the Swedish anti-terror readiness.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

Fassberg Flyers

The future of German army aviation. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The future of German army aviation. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Last weekend, AIRheads↑FLY took the Autobahn to Bremen, traveled a bit more through some German woods, came across some villages and finally ended up in a large place with lots of helicopters. That place is Fassberg, home of Transporthubschrauberregiment 10, flying NH Industries NH90 helicopters and good ol’ Bell Hueys. And what coincidence, at September 7th Fassberg was home to the Aerospace Day 2013.

German? Mais non, this is a French EC665 Tigre helicopter. Fassberg is home to the Franco-German training facility for the Tigre. That explains all. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
German? Mais non, this is a French EC665 Tigre helicopter. Fassberg is home to the Franco-German training facility for the Tigre. That explains all! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
As German as a Volkswagen; a Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo105. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
As German as a Volkswagen; a Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo105. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
During the Aerospace Day, a small flying display was held. This NH90 was part of it. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
During the Aerospace Day, a small flying display was held. This NH90 was part of it. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
HEER, it says on the tail of this NH90. That basically means Army Aviation Corps. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
HEER, it says on the tail of this NH90. That basically means Army Aviation Corps. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A true workhorse, the Sikorsky - but made in Germany - CH-53G. The Germans ordered 110 of these things in the late sixties. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A true workhorse, the Sikorsky – but made in Germany – CH-53G. The Germans ordered 110 of these things in the late sixties. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Tigre. Or actually; only half a Tigre. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Tigre. Or actually; only half a Tigre. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Spacy helmet at Aerospace Day 2013 at Fassberg. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Spacy helmet at Aerospace Day 2013 at Fassberg. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

© 2013 AIRheads’ Dennis Spronk

Canada mad at Sikorsky, might choose Merlins over Cyclones

The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada at May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)
The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada on May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)

The Canadian government is furious at American helicopter builder Sikorsky for continuously not delivering the purchased and promised 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters. The Canadians now sent a team of experts to the UK to check out the Royal Navy’s new Agusta Westland AW101 Merlin Mk2s.

The political and technical storm around the Cyclone helicopters has now reached such a point that Sikorsky might face a cancellation of the project by the Canadians all together, despite already paid damages for the years of delay and problems with the new CH-148s. The Royal Canadian Air Force needs the new helicopters by yesterday, to replace beautiful but dinosaur Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings in service since 1963.

The Royal Canadian Navy currently faces the lack of a modern air asset that can enlarge the range and effectiveness of the fleet with military, UN or disaster-relief operations. The Cyclones, flown by the Air Force on behalf of the Navy, are destined to execute anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance and search and rescue missions from the Canadian vessels. The old Sea Kings don’t meet current standards and show fatigue after decades of service.

Problems with the engines, with the mission gear and loads of other more minor issues have resulted in not a single CH-148 planned to be introduced in 2008 is currently in effective active service. There is a pre-version CH-148 for training purposes only, but that is about it.

The Cyclones are based on the Sikorsky S-92. Therefore the problems the Canadians are facing, seem to be more bad news for the US presidential helicopter project as well. The Pentagon wants a further developed version of the S-92 as the new POTUS ride.

A drop of the CH-148 and selection of the AW101 Merlin instead would be kind of special. In 1990 the Canadians ordered 50 EH101s on which the Merlins are based, but the deal was cancelled directly after elections by the then new government.

After initial problems with the Merlins in the UK, the Royal Navy now seems really happy with the new Mk2s. The Merlin option would make maintenance for the Canadians also easier, since the RCAF already flies 15 AW101 based CH-149 Cormorants bright yellow SAR helicopters.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Canadian Sea Kings golden jubilee

RCAF CH-124 Sea King in 50th Anniversary paint scheme (Image Cpl David Randell, 12 Wing Imaging Services, Shearwater, N.S. © RCAF)
RCAF CH-124 Sea King in 50th Anniversary paint scheme (Image Cpl David Randell, 12 Wing Imaging Services, Shearwater, N.S. © RCAF)

There is the long service life of the B-52 bomber, and there is that of the Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft. But having a chopper like the Sea King running a show for 50 years impresses us too.

Such is the case for the Royal Canadian Air Force CH-124 Sea Kings, as the Sikorsky SH-3 helicopter is designated north of the American border.

The Canadian Sea King community had it’s own party in Halifax, Nova Scotia, around the turn of July/August 2013 in the new hangar of 12 Wing Shearwater.

Highlight of the Sea King festivities is the specially painted chopper with number 434.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

1* Meet the new old US presidential ride

What do you do when you are responsible for the transport of the president of the United States, you just like this certain new flashy chopper, but crap what a nasty tender rules you have to respect? Then you just write the paperwork in a way that only your little bladed treasure will make it to within the fences of your beautiful mansion estate.

Now you have a garden party to look forward to. Write Meet my old new friend on your invitation card and whoops there it is: the old new Sikorsky presidential helicopter on the White House lawn.

The head-of-state of the world’s most powerful democracy and the unfortunate drowning man off the Irish Coast will in a few years share the same experience. Both will be ferried through the air by the VH-92 Superhawk helicopter.

As far as we know the Irish Republic had a proper competitive shopping run first, but it’s a whole different story on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The always freshly washed, shiny green-and-white presidential ride will not change brand nor colour. All due to clever clerks, some admirable lobby work by Sikorsky fans and quite likely a great deal of ol’ boys network politics by the Pentagon. The S-team outsmarted not only the house keepers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, but scared off the competition as well.

,,After a comprehensive analysis of the final request of proposal, we determined that we were unable to compete effectively given the current requirements and the evaluation methodology defined in the document”, stated the spokesperson of AgustaWestland. The European company was earlier poised to offer its VH101 Merlin in co-operation with American Northrop Grumman.

The full-American Bell and Boeing companies dropped out too stating ,,problems with the structure of the competitive program”. No VH-47 Chinook or presidential VV-22 Osprey. The only remaining bidder: Sikorsky with the VH-92 Superhawk.

But what happened to the earlier star of the presidential helicopter show: the Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel helicopter based on the AW101 that already seemed to have won the show to replace the ageing VH-3D Sea King? It was shot down by the Pentagon despite the White House commitment in 2009 to produce five operational VH-71As, making Lockheed Martin change sides to the Sikorsky team.

Litterly bits and pieces of the once future US commander-in-chief VH-71 helicopter fleet are now in use by the Royal Canadian Air Force, where they help maintaining the RCAF’s 15 CH-149 Cormorant SAR helicopters. The US presidential spare parts are now to protect and to serve the unfortunate drowning man off the Canadian coast.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

The Sikorsky S-92 Superhawk of the Garda Cósta na hÉireann (Image © Irish Coast Guard)
The Sikorsky S-92 Superhawk of the Garda Cósta na hÉireann (Image © Irish Coast Guard)