Thursday, January 23, 2014

The evolving budget situation: capabilities in the air - UPDATE

The International Military Helicopter conference has started this morning, and the top officers of the british Joint Helicopter Command have delivered speeches in which they shared some interesting news on the helicopters situation in the armed forces.

First of all, the theme is unsurprisingly about reductions. They confirmed that the Apache fleet is definitely going to shrink, and provided a vision of the frontline strength that the JHC will be able to offer as the current programmed numbers in the various fleets are reached. Specifically, the magic number is 148 airframes in frontline fleet.
The break down is reportedly as follows:

19 Puma HC2 (out of 24 in the total fleet)
46 Chinook (out of the around 60 in total that will be available when the HC6s are all delivered)
24 Wildcat AH1 (out of 34)
20 Merlin HC4 / 4A (HC3 / 3A until navalisation and life extension work will take place) (out of 25 in total)

This would leave some 39 aircraft out of the count, and this would be the Apache fleet, suggesting an expected total no higher than around 50.

Regarding Apache, the position of the army is clear: the future they want is the Apache Block III, now known in the US as AH-64E Apache Guardian. According to Brigadier Neil Sexton, deputy commander Joint Helicopter Command, the army expects to finalize the plan to transition to the Block III “in the next two years” and sign a contract for the new helicopters shortly afterwards, with the aim to get the helicopters before the end of the decade.
As anticipated already some time ago, the favored option appears to be using new-build airframes, transferring all the kit that is still valid from the current machines to the new ones. The excess engines, targeting sensors and other valuable components will be kept as spares. 

The UK originally procured 67 Apache AH-64D (Block I standard), but one has since been written off, leaving 66. The fleet of 67 was used to provide 48 machines in six frontline squadrons, 8 in one training squadron, 1 for development and trials, 1 for the Empire Test Pilot School and 9 for the Sustainment Fleet.
The buy of 67 aircraft was in itself a cut from an hoped 91 helicopters in 9 squadrons, one of which would have been the Royal Marines’s 847 NAS.

It is widely anticipated that the fleet will shrink to 4 frontline squadrons, perhaps with a fifth acting as a support formation for advanced conversion to role training, such as for ship operations, giving a frontline strength varying between 32 and 40. The Block III will compensate the reduction somewhat thanks to improved capabilities, including manned – unmanned teaming, which will allow the Apache to work closely together with the Watchkeeper UAV of the Royal Artillery, and other systems.

The JHC is also determined to acquire a new fleet of training helicopters which can act as surrogates, allowing crews to effectively train for their roles using less expensive machines than the frontline ones. The idea currently sees six helicopters of the new type, equipped with appropriate kit to simulate and replicate the actual frontline machine, assigned to each operating base.
This would be a separate activity from the training done at the Defence Helicopter Flying School at Shawbury. 

The same new type of helicopter would also ideally replace the Bell 212 used in support to training exercises, and could be assigned to 5th Regiment AAC for security support in Northern Ireland.
This suggests the possibility that this new helicopter would effectively replace the last Gazelles (OSD 2018).

On the naval front, there are confirmations that the Merlin HC3 navalisation and Life Extension program aims to install the same HM2 cockpit already in use on the ASW variant of the helicopter, so that the pilots will receive exactly the same training, with obvious advantages.
This suggests that in good time Merlin training for both fleets could be centralized on the Merlin Training Facility in Culdrose. Currently, the Merlin HC3 crews are trained in RAF Benson, while the Royal Navy’s HM2 crews are formed in Culdrose. 

HM2 cockpit
UPDATE: during the second day of the IMH event, some more info was released on the Merlin transition from RAF to Royal Navy. The current plan (still provisional in terms of exact date) sees 78 Sqn standing down in September, with 28 Sqn disbanding in mid-2015.
The Merlin force will transfer under Navy command this year, as soon as the manpower balance shifts in favor of the Fleet Air Arm.
The first two Merlin navalised and life-extended, to be known as MK4 / HC4, will be ready in September 2017, and it is expected that work on the first helicopter will begin soon after the announcement of the contract, expected this week.
With the last Sea Kings going out of service in 2016 and the last of 25 Merlins HC4 possibly not delivered before 2022, the amphibious force is looking ahead to years of extremely low availability of appropriate support helicopters. This can be considered, by all means, another capability gap in the long list.

The gap will be mitigated somewhat by modifying "several" Merlin HC3 with a folding rotor head (possibly coming from the stored and non-updated Royal Navy HM1 helicopters, so that would mean between 8 and 12 machines). These interim machines will likely be known as HC3I.
The IOC for the helicopters at HC4 standard is expected in early 2018, with 7 such machines available. 

The navalisation will include the folding tail (in 2010, serious consideration was given to keeping a fixed tail boom as a way to save money), folding rotor head, HM2 cockpit, one additional fast rope point, plus modifications to the landing gear and lash down points. An emergency egress system will be optimized on both variants (HC3 and the 6 HC3A ex-danish air force) 

It is also planned to integrate the Merlin HM2 and the Scan Eagle UAV, so that the mission crew on the helicopter can receive data feed from the UAV, and control it, using it as a mobile, long-range eye. This is not at all a new concept, however: it was validated as far back as 2006, with the Sea King MK7 ASaC. The Royal Navy is merely trying again to see if it can obtain what it already tried to get in 2007, when the first embarked UAV urgent requirement was voiced, but ultimately turned down.

The Scan Eagle has finally been procured last year, with two contractor owned and contractor operated systems now in Royal Navy use. One system is embarked already from late last year on RFA Cardigan Bay, in the Persian Gulf, and a second system is starting to operate in these days from the Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset. 

Scan Eagle was validated on HMS Sutherland... nearly seven years ago!
Joint Helicopter Command is also rethinking its CASEVAC approach. Currently, the Medical Emergency Response Teams in Afghanistan employ Chinook helicopters, but JHC would like to stop tying down such a precious machine for this role and use, when possible, another platform.

As earlier reported, including on this blog, last year the MOD was also curiously enquiring about light, air-droppable 4x4 vehicles, capable to fit ready to go into a Chinook, for Combat SAR role (and special forces work?). It is unlikely that the MOD will find a way to actually fit such a requirement in the budget, the MOD would like to launch a formal requirement in 2016 as part of the effort to constitute a C-SAR (Joint Personnel Recovery) capability, to fill one of several macro-gaps in capability evidenced by studies on Force 2020.

The end result, in the best case, could be the development of a CASEVAC / Joint Personnel Recovery capability which would see teams of personnel and medical equipment created and assigned to the helicopter most suited to the need at hand. Puma HC2 could be a suitable platform to use in the Land Domain when the size and downwash of a Chinook is excessive (in Afghanistan, when Chinook is unsuitable to reach the casualty, American H-60 platforms intervene instead), while the Merlin HC4, once navalised, would be good to go in the littoral domain.

It is early to say what will come out of these studies and ambitions, but we might see a return, in some ways, to the plans already made in the past decade, which are described in the excellent book “A moment in time.”, by Gordon Angus Mackinlay.

Combat Recovery The (RAF) Regiment provides the Ground Extraction Force (GEF) for RAF Combat Recovery. GEF’s mission is to recover Isolated Personnel (downed aircrew etc-PR Personnel recovery) and high-value assets, in all conditions and threat levels over extended periods, in any operational environment. Combat Recovery requires the small teams to insert primarily by helicopters to locate, authenticate and recover the IP(s) or asset(s). Operating in four man self sufficient teams, behind enemy lines, utilising RAF Regiment tactics and certain items of specialist equipment, until the IP or asset are recovered. The GEF is a part of E Flight, No 28 (AC) Squadron operating Merlin HC Mk3 helicopters at RAF Benson (role may go to No 78 Sqn to support the SF Flight), a further element is with the SFSG. Rescue of shot down aircrew is not just a single helo operation, combat search and rescue will involve a great deal of RAF/AAC resources, for command and control, airborne early warning, strike aircraft support, reserve helicopters, refuelling support.

NOTE : Whilst it was accepted the the UK could not afford a dedicated CSAR force and PR was the intended way, in April 2003 it was intended to have a JPR-Joint Personnel Recovery doctrine. With a Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of three Sea King HC4 on five day 'notice to move' crewed by UK Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel, with three RM Commando GEF teams, and medical personnel from the Tactical Medical Wing. With a intended Full Operating Capability (FOC) for JPR of these plus, a flight of six Merlins (crewed from SAR force), with six RAF Regt GEF teams from No 28 Sqn. Due to operations this FOC has “quietly gone away”, although IOC remains.

Another such macro-gap has been opened in December 2013 with the withdrawal from service, without replacement, of the ALARM anti-radar missile. This kills off the RAF’s specialist SEAD capability. Of course, one of the excuses given is that the UK will actually act as part of a Coalition, which will be able to do SEAD work in place of the RAF.
The problem is that with the RAF quitting this capability area, in the whole NATO there are just three countries left with SEAD capability: the US, obviously, followed by Germany and Italy.
In practice, “coalition” as often happens, actually reads as “we’ll ask the Americans”, since the availability of Italian and german resources is not too trustable. Italy’s SEAD capability was used over Libya in 2011, but Germany did not participate, and the end result was that most of the work was done by the US. 

Radar-chasing no more. Another precious capability lost.
Storm Shadow and Tomahawk are of course very good to demolish the fixed elements of an integrated air defence system, but an anti-radar missile remains a key capability to face nimbler, mobile air defence systems, and this certainly constitutes a dangerous gap, and one which brings real limitations. 
It is impossible not to notice, with bitter irony, how the United Kingdom uses the coalition excuse to cuts its own capabilities, and then roars against any call for closer cooperation and integration of capabilities not just in Europe, but even in NATO (the UK, for example, did not join in on the joint maritime patrol aircraft initiative, despite having clear interests in doing otherwise).  In other words: the conspirationists that see the reductions in national capability as a way to go towards unified european armed forces have got it wrong. It is actually worse: capabilities just vanish entirely, substituted by vague and inconsistent comments about working inside coalitions.

On the unmanned aviation front, the British Army hopes to finally get an interim release to service for the Watchkeeper UAV. This document will enable, hopefully within this spring, the army to fly the Watchkeeper in temporarily closed air corridors from Boscombe Down test airfield in Wiltshire to the Salisbury Plain training area, where the aircraft will be able to support army training, staying in the segregated airspace. It is taking a long time to satisfy the MAA authority and obtain the needed certifications, and this has imposed vast delays to the program. It is a process which will last for much longer, we can bet, before the restrictions are all lifted.
The british army at least will be able to move on with the testing of the system: on the to-do list there are exercises to validate the deployment of Watchkeeper task lines via C-17, the air-lifting, under-slung by Chinook, of the containerized elements of the system and operations from semi-prepared runways and tented facilities, in order to prepare for contingency deployments.

The Royal Air Force will keep its 10 Reapers, bringing them into core once Afghanistan operations end. The RAF will work to develop the methods for deploying and employing the Reaper in support to contingency and expeditionary operations. Even as the RAF moves the Reaper to Waddington, it will maintain a presence in Creech air force base, in the USA, to stay in close touch with the USAF and continue to share methods and expertise about Remotely Piloted Aircraft operations.

Finally, the French specialized publication Air at Cosmos reports that France and UK are talking about a possible change to the delivery schedule of the A400M cargo aircraft. France would like to delay some of its purchases to save money in the short term, and is talking with the MOD to see if the UK could and would swap delivery slots, taking more aircraft in a shorter timeframe. There is no firm plan as of now: the UK is not in a better position than France, so finding the money to take over the aircraft earlier than planned might not be easy. The negotiation is however described as serious, and it would also involve tighter cooperation over the type, and a faster build up of the joint activities.
Currently, the UK expects to receive:

3 aircraft in 2014
8 in 2015
6 in 2016
2 in 2017
2 in 2018
1 in 2021

This would complete the planned fleet of 22. The Uk retains an option for 3 more aircraft, which were originally scheduled to be delivered 2 in 2018 and 1 in 2019. The UK could still decide to exercise the options and take up these additional aircraft, but as of now it is unlikely due to budget problems. In the meanwhile, 6 RAF personnel have entered the A400M MEST (Multinational Entry into Service Team), including the first pilot.

Storm Shadow test flights finally began

In the meanwhile, the Typhoon has begun to fly carrying Storm Shadow and Taurus missiles, as the integration process begins, and in the US the Block IV software and hardware upgrade, destined to be rolled out for the F-35 around 2020, is starting to take shape. Block IV is important as it is the first point in which the UK, like the other partner countries, will be able to add further national requirements. The hope is that UK and Italy manage to agree and fund a plan for the integration of the Meteor missile in Block IV. Norway will be getting its JSM integrated, and other capabilities will be added to the aircraft, Flightglobal reports.


I recommend you follow on Twitter Tony Osborne@Rotorfocus and Gareth Jennings @GarethJennings3 who tweet live from this and other events, always supplying great information 


  1. Gabriel,

    Excellent as ever.

    An interesting observation regarding Reaper's long term future based on evidence given to the Parliamentary select committee late last year (link below). It effectively confirms (with the usual caveats) what we have known for a while, that the Anglo-French MALE is dead and that Reaper will be around for a while though there is a curious comment about sole sourcing a MOTS "future variant of Reaper".

    It also all but confirms what I have suspected for a while, that the UK is looking for Reaper to be replaced by a survivable platform- with strike capability integrated this suddenly becomes viable as part of the Typhoon replacement. In short, what seems to have happened is that the Reaper replacement requirement and the Typhoon replacement requirement have been lumped together under FCAS with discussions ongoing as to the exact split between stealthy ISR/Strike UCAV and F-35A- which would explain Hammond's remarks about 80/20 versus 20/80 between manned and unmanned that he made in May last year.

    1. At the stage, it is a bit excessive to mix up FCAS and Scavenger. I don't think we are anywhere near joining the two requirements in the same thing. Timeframes don't match, roles don't match, and FCAS is still very much up in the air anyway. I wouldn't even characterize it as "Typhoon replacement", as that is also excessive, as of today. Manned aircrafts will be sacrificed in favor of unmanned platforms for budget reasons, sure, but it is early to say that FCAS will be the intended replacement of Typhoon.

      On the Reaper "future", the UK's position isn't very coherent. France also wants a nationalized, "future" Reaper, but the UK has turned down the offer to work together on its development. Frankly, as of now, it kind of looks like a giant mess. I'm glad the current Reaper is staying, because the question mark over what will actually come after it is a rather huge one.

    2. Gabriele,

      Scavenger has become Reaper- they are now the same thing. What seems to have happened is that the Reaper/Scavenger replacement has been put in the FCAS study phase. All the comments made in public speak to that.

    3. Scavenger is the Reaper follow-on. It could have been a wholly new UAV, or a modified Reaper. Keeping Reaper and modifying it was always one of the possible approaches, even when TELEMOS was in full swing. TELEMOS collapsed for lack of french funding, and Reaper now seems set to be the medium/long term base for the Scavenger system.

    4. When we talk of "modifying" Reaper, do we have a feel for what that means in practice? I am assuming that it would be actual along the lines of integration of UK weapons (Paveway 4 and Brimestone) and sensors (?) rather than any actual changes to the airframe etc?


    5. Gabriele,

      Precisely, which means that the Reaper/Scavenger replacement becomes a medium-long term requirement in the same time-frame as FCAS. The RAF ISTAR guys responsible for Reaper have made very blunt statements about the need for future platforms to be survivable which results in a stealthy ISR/Strike UCAV and it makes perfect sense to consider this as part of FCAS.


      I suspect there will be few modifications to the aircraft itself, mostly to the ground support for deploy-ability and data dissemination.

    6. I still think you are running way too fast on mixing up Scavenger and FCAS that much. I'd be very careful in making guesses, at this stage.

      As for modifying Reaper, there are actually modifications that could be made to the airframes as well, namely there's a COTS offer for longer wings, strenghtened landing gear and upgraded control surfaces resulting in a massive increase in mission endurance.

      RAF officers also said they were looking at podded sensors and payloads, with the aim of developing a standard pod, validate its integration, and then use it for all sorts of sensors and payloads, to cut down on integration costs.

      Brimstone is already being integrated with US help, and Paveway IV might be an obvious solution for the future, although it isn't considered a requirement as of now (in Afghanistan they use the GBU-12, but in almost all situations the weapon that gets used is actually the Hellfire).

      In the US they have also trialed Reaper with the DB-110 reconnaissance sensor that in the RAF is known as RAPTOR and usually seen hanging under the Tornado's belly.
      Electronic Warfare systems have already been demonstrated.

      Italian and dutch Reapers are to get a maritime wide area search mode for the Lynx radar. And there has already been a demonstration of integration of a Seaspray radar on a modified Reaper airframe. So, there's plenty of possibilities for expanding the capabilities and usefulness of Reaper, many of which are, to a degree or another, already proven.

    7. Thanks Gabriele - all of which makes sense, assuming the money can be found of course!

    8. I'm not mixing up Scavenger and FCAS; Reaper is Scavenger- it's all but a done deal. FCAS is the 2030 Typhoon replacement- as the MoD stated in the written evidence submission to the Defence select committee. With the Reaper as Scavenger it becomes possible to put its replacement in the same pot as the unmanned portion of FCAS.

    9. Look, have it as you please. I think you are wrong, but you can think what you want.

    10. Gabriele,

      Just trying to be clear in what I was saying, you seemed to have me confused for a bit- that's all.

  2. Gabriele,

    On two other points raised in the article -

    1. On Puma, I have to admit I am still struggling to understand what this fleet is "for", but leaving that aside, given the out of service date is only 10 years away, is there any hint as to whether this will be scrapped without replacement or will there be additional buys of Merlin/Chinook? I hope to god they aren't thinking about of introducing yet another new type - as we all know that would be horrendously expensive....
    2. On ALARM - I actually find this the most scary point in the whole article. SEAD is a fundamental part of warfighting and to go from what was a capability well in advance of HARM when purchased to nothing/rely on the US raises serious questions concerning just where the RAF's thinking actually is.... More fundamentally, is the excellent point you raise around the whole "ethos" behind UK political "thinking" (if you can call it that). It appears it is more acceptable politically / to sell to the British public that we simply delete capabilities completely than it would be to sell the idea of developing a joint capability with allies. That is obviously pervese in nature, but I guess is the logical conclusion of both euroscepticism combined with a more general disengagement from the world.... (apologies, this last comment will no doubt inflame passions amongst some, but I reality does tend to hurt....)

    1. Puma is "needed" to ensure that the RAF maintains a battlefield support helicopter smaller and more deployable that the Chinook. It is also meant to keep up availability of battlefield support helicopters while the Merlin HC3 availability drops low as the helicopters go into factory for life extension and navalisation.

      Of course, this does not really close the horrible gap in availability of amphibious support helicopters (down to just eleven Sea Kings and destined to build up on to Merlin quite slowly, with 2022 coming before all Merlin are actually navalised) but that there was trouble in this area is known at least since 2008, when a 87% shortfall in amphibious support helicopter capability was exposed by official reports, including by NAO. Yet, nothing has been done in all these years to ease the problem everyone knew was coming.

      As for what takes Puma's place when it goes, too early to say. Judging from the general trend, it might very well simply vanish, and the helicopters fleet shrink even further as a consequence.

      On ALARM, i've written about it many times in the past, ever since it became evident that the RAF would lose its SEAD capability in 2013. Again, nothing is being done about it. There's vague promises of some sort of electronic war capability (Bright Adder) inserted in AESA radars that (part of the) Typhoons might get (sometime in the future), but effectively it is another voice in the long list of what the british armed forces no longer can do.

    2. Gabriele - thanks. The gap filling for HC3 makes sense. On the battlefield support helo more deployable than Chinook - I can see that, although in reality over the last 10 years the default position very often appears to be to turn to Chinook, notwithstanding distances involved (eg Cyprus self deployment). It would be interesting to see if this trend would continue.
      As you say both the amphibious support and the ALARM show the clear pattern of behaviour at the MOD - ie identify gaps and then do nothing to fill them. If I was to extrapolate the trend I would completely agree that Puma will be retired without replacement (it would be nice if Benson could be closed as well, but I wonder if there is room at Odiham), as will BAE146 and125s (although probably not Northolt given the RAF is always talking about how "strategic" said airbase is). I had always hoped some sort of C-130J replacement would be in the offing, but I suspect that will simply disappear as well.
      Sorry - pesimism running away with me again....

    3. Nige,

      The replacement for the C-130J is the A400M. Originally, we had about 50 C-130Ks. 25 were traded in for -Js in about 1999, with the remaining -Ks expected to be replaced later by the A400M. With delays in the A400 and the acquisition of C-17s, the -Ks were eventually run down, leaving the 25 -Js to be replaced by the A400M.


    4. ADB,

      Correct, the future UK fixed-wing lift fleet is essentially set at 22 A400Ms split over two squadrons as a direct replacement for the current fleet of 24 C-130J's and one squadron of C-17 (8-9 airframes depending on whether a 9th is ordered) plus whatever can be extracted from Voyager (14 airframes split amongst two squadrons) when it is not tanking.

    5. All,

      Understand the history of the transport fleet and also its changing nature over time. To stress however, it has never been made explicitly clear what the MOD's plans are for the introduction of A400M and the taking out of service of C-130J. Assuming the likely fleet of 22 A400M, 9 C-17 and 14 KA330. That translates into a frontline fleet of 16 A400M, 8 C-17 and 12 KA330, suggesting several things to me -
      1. A very significant gap in spec ops support
      2. Company / Batallion level paratroop support largely deleted (which is actually a capability I would be more sanguine about losing, but needs to be acknowledged)
      3. Again raises the question of Falkland Islands support and how / if it should be discharged using the much reduced transport fleet above


    6. Re your point 1, Gabby ha pointed out that SF Command (or whatever it's called) are arguing for C130J retention, to replace the -Ks that did SF support. Will be interesting to see if we end up with a small fleet of -Js retained, but I doubt it.


  3. Spending hundreds of millions on Puma to keep it around for a decade (probably without replacement) and hundreds more on messing around trying to convert RAF Merlin's when keeping them where they were and buying an off the shelf naval helicopter would have been much cheaper/easier is highly indicative of the confused, often nonsensical and very costly state MOD procurement is in. Even if things have improved since 2010 it's clearly a slow process with a lot of legacy programs that need fixing.

    A reduction in Apaches (even if it becomes a block III fleet), the confused mess that is Scavenger and the whole UCAV situation, the (as you stated) appalling state of maritime heavy lift, the worrying lapses in things like SEAD, the unforgivable laxity with Crowsnest are just some of the other examples.

    And don't even get me started on FRES! I can't even make out what it's supposed to deliver anymore, even with your sound analysis Gab!

  4. I am sorry to say that on this Blog and others people can go on and on about what type of Helicopter Fleet we should have or why did we do this etc. The simple fact is WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH HELICOPTERS full stop. I find truly depressing the fact we have learnt none of the lessons of Afganistan when we lost a lot of young men either driving or escorting resupply convoys which should have been flown by Helicopter.
    That we had to use weapons not designed for the purpose and lost men to provide what should have been done by close air support.
    The fact is with the numbers above it doesn't matter if it's the Marines screaming in off a LHD or Airmobile Paratroops being airlifted in on C17's or The British Army tied down for the long haul in failed states we can not lift, cover and supply more than 1'000 troops at most. The idea as per SDR that we can send 5,000 pointy ended troops anywhere is a fiction.
    We have got lucky in that the only oponents we might have to act against Argintina are in worse state than we are. If they were anywhere near 1982 levels modernised we would be dead in the water. In Afghan we got lucky because we have relied on US Marine Helicopters since the US realised we were getting our a***s handed to us on a plate, whilst our brave soldiers tried to cope. We are sending brave men in to situations where they will fight to their last breath, bravely and with extreme courage whilst lilly white politicians tell us all is well in the world.
    In my view untill the senior levels of all branches of the military go to Westminster and make a public statement on TV that they are not prepared to send men to die because Politicians write cheques they can not possibly deliver on. Either Politicians 1. Put the money in to get the correct levels of equipment or 2. We stop doing and acting like we can do anything and admitt to the USA we need their help or 3. We create a joint European force to do our bit or 4. We give up on engaging or protecting our interests in the world and become Sweden/Ireland.
    My own solution would be to take the cost of Succesor out of the MOD budget which would be left at the level it is and the country as a whole can then decide if we can afford Nucleur Weapons.
    Because at the moment we are heading for an almighty fall, where we get 5,000 troops commited, something happens and the US can't supply Helicopters, Air Refueling, AEW Coverage, Anti Radar Attacks, Ground Attack from A10's and we come home with our tails between our legs and a lot of dead soldiers.
    The image that you can do something is 9 times out of 10 more important than doing it, but on that tenth time you better step up otherwise that's the end of the game.

  5. Your blogs make great reading, is the Lynx AH-9A not included in the total helicopters number?. Also do the figures for each helicopter type include those used for training?, many thanks.

    1. The AH9A is assumed not to be part of the 148 helicopters, since it will go out of service in 2018 if the plan hasn't changed.

      As for the numbers of the fleets i mention (24 Puma, 60 Chinook and so along) do include the whole fleets.


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