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CH-146 Griffon

KevinB

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However I could see a split buy in Canada - A MilCOTS Bell and an FVL winner.
I really dislike the terms MILCOTS - I think it is disingenuous.
The truck was a flop - and the best example of a MICOTS Helo is the Griffon/412 which if you compare side by side to the RCAF then preferred pick of the UH-60 shows what a giant turd the Griffon really is.
I view the fact that the RCAF is employing the Griffon as more a testimonial for the TacHel crews than anything towards the airframe.
 

Kirkhill

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I really dislike the terms MILCOTS - I think it is disingenuous.
The truck was a flop - and the best example of a MICOTS Helo is the Griffon/412 which if you compare side by side to the RCAF then preferred pick of the UH-60 shows what a giant turd the Griffon really is.
I view the fact that the RCAF is employing the Griffon as more a testimonial for the TacHel crews than anything towards the airframe.

Kevin, even the Pentagon can't afford to by all the High Tech Wiz Kid stuff that comes out of the Defence Bureaucracy. Meanwhile the people the Pentagon are losing to are exploiting the stuff they can buy in the local markets at 10 cents on the dollar. They buy stuff that is good enuff and can do things that the Presidential Arsenal of LockMart, Boeing, GD et al, is only slowly turning on to.
 

KevinB

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Kevin, even the Pentagon can't afford to by all the High Tech Wiz Kid stuff that comes out of the Defence Bureaucracy. Meanwhile the people the Pentagon are losing to are exploiting the stuff they can buy in the local markets at 10 cents on the dollar. They buy stuff that is good enuff and can do things that the Presidential Arsenal of LockMart, Boeing, GD et al, is only slowly turning on to.
It's not about everyone needing the best or the ability to afford the best.
Variants exist for a reason - not everyone needs a MH-60G and the additional $ that carries.
But if you are looking at 85 to even 150 having a split fleet makes zero sense - as it isn't even enough to fill the needs of the RCAF if you bought 150 280's or Defiants.

If the CF had gotten 100 UH-60's instead of being boned Politically into the Griffon, it would be in a way different situation than now.

But they got screwed - the 412 airframe isn't designed for ground fire - and neither will any other COTS Helo.
Putting a COTS Helo into a war zone even one that have been "militarized" by adding VAS and Defensive systems is criminal.

The CF isn't going to get enough airframes to make a "domestic use only" model and a Warfighting one.
Plus a split fleet will require more training, more simulators, more spare parts.
Best to buy 1 frame for that role - and different variants depending on the needs.
 

FormerHorseGuard

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I think the purchase cost for 100 units was 1 Billion dollars, ( could be wrong I could not find an actual price so going from memory here)
85 units still in serve. Some have crashed, some were sold off to a flight training school.

January 2011, a $640-million repair and overhaul contract went to BHTC of Mirabel, Quebec. Officially known as the CH-146 Optimized Weapon System Support (OWSS) contract, it combined three previous contracts for Bell to provide engineering support, repair and overhaul, and supply support. The 10-year contract was intended to keep the helicopters flying through to potential retirement in 2021 and possibly push that out to 2025

Some 16 months after the Bell award, L-3 WESCAM of Burlington, Ontario, secured a 3-year contract for up to $10 million, with two optional 1-year extensions, for routine maintenance, repair and overhaul of the fleet’s electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging sensors which enable the Griffon to operate as an escort or support Army operations day or night surveillance, a key factor during Operation Athena in Afghanistan.

At a cost of $500 million to $1.5 billion, DND is planning that the Griffon Limited Life Extension In-Service Support (GLLE), will, among other things “replace obsolete cockpit instrumentation and radios with components that are supportable to 2030 and possibly beyond.” The final delivery, according to the 2015 Defence Acquisition Guide, is expected to be 2024 (three years after obsolescence and facing ever-increasing operations and maintenance costs due to the age of the platform).

On the other hand, the Tactical Reconnaissance Utility Helicopter (TRUH) program, which is intended to replace the aging Griffons with more capacity and capabilities, at a cost of more than $1.5 billion, has the Definition Approval date set for 2021, and specifies the first delivery in 2026.

How much money is going to be spent before these helicopters are life cycled out and still flying like the SeaKings before they are finally replaced?

I like the made in Canada ticket being punched but we could save a pile of cash by getting a helicopter thru one of many NATO countries purchase plans, and just tacking on a few birds on to one of their orders. Common parts, common training and most of have more upgrade military spec air frame. Not upgrade to military spec frame. But what do I know I only dreamed of flying till proven to be colour blind ( CV3)
 

Good2Golf

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Bell in Mirable isn't going to get authorized by the parent to try to do anything on the R&D front for a new bird -- that is strictly a Civilian Line - the parents build .MIL birds down here.
Which is precisely why the Griffon was a militarized B412; so it could be built in Mirabel. A CUH-1Y would most definitely have been a Fort Worth build.
 

Good2Golf

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I think the purchase cost for 100 units was 1 Billion dollars, ( could be wrong I could not find an actual price so going from memory here)
85 units still in serve. Some have crashed, some were sold off to a flight training school.

January 2011, a $640-million repair and overhaul contract went to BHTC of Mirabel, Quebec. Officially known as the CH-146 Optimized Weapon System Support (OWSS) contract, it combined three previous contracts for Bell to provide engineering support, repair and overhaul, and supply support. The 10-year contract was intended to keep the helicopters flying through to potential retirement in 2021 and possibly push that out to 2025

Some 16 months after the Bell award, L-3 WESCAM of Burlington, Ontario, secured a 3-year contract for up to $10 million, with two optional 1-year extensions, for routine maintenance, repair and overhaul of the fleet’s electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) imaging sensors which enable the Griffon to operate as an escort or support Army operations day or night surveillance, a key factor during Operation Athena in Afghanistan.

At a cost of $500 million to $1.5 billion, DND is planning that the Griffon Limited Life Extension In-Service Support (GLLE), will, among other things “replace obsolete cockpit instrumentation and radios with components that are supportable to 2030 and possibly beyond.” The final delivery, according to the 2015 Defence Acquisition Guide, is expected to be 2024 (three years after obsolescence and facing ever-increasing operations and maintenance costs due to the age of the platform).

On the other hand, the Tactical Reconnaissance Utility Helicopter (TRUH) program, which is intended to replace the aging Griffons with more capacity and capabilities, at a cost of more than $1.5 billion, has the Definition Approval date set for 2021, and specifies the first delivery in 2026.

How much money is going to be spent before these helicopters are life cycled out and still flying like the SeaKings before they are finally replaced?

I like the made in Canada ticket being punched but we could save a pile of cash by getting a helicopter thru one of many NATO countries purchase plans, and just tacking on a few birds on to one of their orders. Common parts, common training and most of have more upgrade military spec air frame. Not upgrade to military spec frame. But what do I know I only dreamed of flying till proven to be colour blind ( CV3)
Defence Capability Blueprint (DCB) is the current capability framework. The DAG ceased effectively in 2018 at the latest. GLLE in the DCB shows a delivery start in 22/23 and final delivery in 27/28.

Mindful that that DCB page was last updated Jan 2020 (ie. Pre-COVID), I suspect there will likely be a 1-2 year slide in both those timings.

G2G
 

KevinB

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Three Rotary wing items
Griffon Life Support
Griffon Limited Life Extension - Defence Capabilities Blueprint

Cyclone Debacle for Maritime Helo

Comorant Mid Life Upgrade

Not exactly an inspiring look to the Future of Rotary Wing in Canada...
 

KevinB

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Which is precisely why the Griffon was a militarized B412; so it could be built in Mirabel. A CUH-1Y would most definitely have been a Fort Worth build.
Which shows how serious the Cdn Gov is about Defence -- it would be easy for the Cdn Gov to say if we are getting Yankees - they will get built in Mirable - and I am pretty sure Bell would have gone and done the Paperwork to get it done - tech transfer to Canada is pretty simple these days if the parent wants - as the parent would still control any export.

I think a lot of the viewers don't understand the relationships between US (or other Foreign) Parents and the siblings in other nations (in this case Canada) - DoD here controls the export of some defense related tech - and they not DoS are the sign off on release for these items.
Anything built with US tech that is considered ITAR requires a US release - and the sibling can't just go market their stuff freely.
Also because it is build in Canada - it also requires the Cdn Gov to sign off - and as you can see from the Philippine deal, that doesn't always happen...
 

Kirkhill

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Which shows how serious the Cdn Gov is about Defence -- it would be easy for the Cdn Gov to say if we are getting Yankees - they will get built in Mirable - and I am pretty sure Bell would have gone and done the Paperwork to get it done - tech transfer to Canada is pretty simple these days if the parent wants - as the parent would still control any export.

I think a lot of the viewers don't understand the relationships between US (or other Foreign) Parents and the siblings in other nations (in this case Canada) - DoD here controls the export of some defense related tech - and they not DoS are the sign off on release for these items.
Anything built with US tech that is considered ITAR requires a US release - and the sibling can't just go market their stuff freely.
Also because it is build in Canada - it also requires the Cdn Gov to sign off - and as you can see from the Philippine deal, that doesn't always happen...

And yet the Australians not only have access to nuclear submarine technology but also their own production facility for guided missiles


Australia to produce its own guided missiles as part of billion-dollar defence manufacturing plan​

Posted Tue 30 Mar 2021 at 4:28pmTuesday 30 Mar 2021 at 4:28pm, updated Tue 30 Mar 2021 at 8:48pm

Australia will move to produce its own guided missiles under a $1 billion plan to establish a new weapons facility with a global arms manufacturer.

Key points:​

  • No location has been chosen yet for the new facility
  • Scott Morrison says it will help make Australia more self-reliant in its defence capability
  • It is part of the government's $270 billion spend on defence projects over the next 10 years

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the plan later today but is warning the "changing global environment" highlights the need to create the sovereign capability.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it vaccine development or the defence of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment," he said.

"It’s an imperative we now proceed with the creation of a sovereign guided weapons capability as a priority."
The Department of Defence will choose a "strategic industry partner" which will be contracted to operate the manufacturing facility.

Potential partners include Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Konsberg and BAE Systems Australia.

No location has been identified yet for the facility.

Defence recently announced it was partnering with the United States to develop and test an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile that can exceed the speed of sound by up to eight times.

We could also point to the Boeing Australia association on the Loyal Wingman project.

I don't doubt that these things can be done.

I do doubt that Canada is going to get an invite any time soon. And regardless of political considerations I still think that there is a case to be made for extending the A fleet / B fleet / Commercial distinctions to the air environment just as it is on land and sea.
 

KevinB

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And yet the Australians not only have access to nuclear submarine technology but also their own production facility for guided missiles




We could also point to the Boeing Australia association on the Loyal Wingman project.

I don't doubt that these things can be done.

I do doubt that Canada is going to get an invite any time soon.
Agreed right now due to your PM and his odd ties to certain things, Canada isn't totally in the circle of trust for some things.

And regardless of political considerations I still think that there is a case to be made for extending the A fleet / B fleet / Commercial distinctions to the air environment just as it is on land and sea.
If the RCAF has a robust fleet of rotary wing assets, I wouldn't argue with you.
But it doesn't, Canada needs x3 the number of Hooks, and probably x5 the number of Griffons to actually do things in the air.
You generally try not to use a lot of Hooks at once for Airmobile ops - as while fast they are big, and carry a lot of folks that when they go down - it is a big hit.

Realistically the 412/Griffon can carry 6 GIB's combat loaded - 4 if combat loaded in the Arctic.
A Griffon Squadron can then move a Platoon at best in one lift.
Amassing all the Griffons the RCAF has wouldn't even move a BN in one lift.

Then as the RCAF doesn't have AH's - some of the Griffons are rerolled as Escort - so the CAF is very light when it comes to Rotary Wing Assets.

IF the RCAF had 280's - they can each carry a section - and they have Crew Chief/Door Gunners
All of a sudden that Squadron can almost move a full company in one lift.

If you had 10-12 Squadrons of those -- then you could think about a Civ platform for other things -- but right now, the cupboard is too thin to have a non deployable bird in the roost.
 

KevinB

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I absolutely think there is a use for Domestic Civ Pattern Bird - but given the current fleet size, I would opt for deployable assets over non.

I also think part of the Griffon cost issue is due to the size of the fleet and I assume the general nature of the CAF to want all things equal - many upgrades done to the Griffons really where not needed for all the fleet.

The L3-Wescam ball being a good example - sure it is an absolutely fantastic capability - down here that is reserved for JSOC assets - and not even all of those have them. Probably could have gone to just the SAR birds, the Escort Squadron and the CANSOF ones - as not everyone really needed it.
 

Kirkhill

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Agreed right now due to your PM and his odd ties to certain things, Canada isn't totally in the circle of trust for some things.


If the RCAF has a robust fleet of rotary wing assets, I wouldn't argue with you.
But it doesn't, Canada needs x3 the number of Hooks, and probably x5 the number of Griffons to actually do things in the air.
You generally try not to use a lot of Hooks at once for Airmobile ops - as while fast they are big, and carry a lot of folks that when they go down - it is a big hit.

Realistically the 412/Griffon can carry 6 GIB's combat loaded - 4 if combat loaded in the Arctic.
A Griffon Squadron can then move a Platoon at best in one lift.
Amassing all the Griffons the RCAF has wouldn't even move a BN in one lift.

Then as the RCAF doesn't have AH's - some of the Griffons are rerolled as Escort - so the CAF is very light when it comes to Rotary Wing Assets.

IF the RCAF had 280's - they can each carry a section - and they have Crew Chief/Door Gunners
All of a sudden that Squadron can almost move a full company in one lift.

If you had 10-12 Squadrons of those -- then you could think about a Civ platform for other things -- but right now, the cupboard is too thin to have a non deployable bird in the roost.

Kevin I agree with you on the numbers. I agree that more helicopters are called for. Especially in the north. On the other hand, given the number still in service, despite seeing foreign employment in various environments, after 26 years of use, I still think that the Griffon had/has a lot going for it. I believe that there have only been two accidental losses and no losses to enemy fire. In 26 years of use.

Also, although the CAF only flies 85 out of the 100 Griffons originally purchased I have always had the impression that the reduction from 100 to 85 was concurrent with the CAF buying 15 Chinooks. But perhaps my understanding is faulty.

Either way, the Griffon has served well, and safely for over a quarter of a century.
 

KevinB

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Honestly I suspect you are right on the numbers rational - @Good2Golf or one of our other rotary guys could confirm but I think 100 was the # set by the RCAF as to what they where willing to accept for Helicopters for the Army (okay not all of the Griffons are CA tasked - but the UH role is predominately for the Army).

The CAF has significantly limited deployment of the CH-146 for very valid reasons - there was an internal argument about the Afghan deployment - and one lost in Afghan in which a UH-60 would have been fine. I am unaware of an RCAF Griffon taking ground fire -- I know that a Troop of folks needed the Aussie SOAS to come and extract them as the Griffons where not allowed due to the situation (getting shot at).


I've also seen more than one 4XX squadron scrub missions due to the weather exceeding the load lift for the platform, and others where three guys and a toboggan where the max load - which meant a slew of chalks, and a few where it was easier just to toss troops into a HLVW and wave bye to the Griffons.


I will agree the Griffon has served - the issue I have is I truly believe the Blackhawk would have served much better - and been of incalculable more worth. That is why I judge the Griffon so harshly - not because of what it is, but because of what it isn't.
 

dimsum

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Agreed right now due to your PM and his odd ties to certain things, Canada isn't totally in the circle of trust for some things.
I would add that Australia's location is a big factor, probably larger than its (or our) govt.
 

Good2Golf

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@KevinB, definitely no doubt that a -60 would have made for a solid, relatively unrestricted UTTH, per the original, pre-Marcel Masse 1992 plan.

@Kirkhill, the 100 to 85 Ch-146 fleet downsize definitely pre-dated the 15 CH-147Fs. It was primarily borne of O&M and ISS limitations and the coincidental popularity of ASD in the mid-90s that led to the CFTS contracting of Phases 1 (Slingsby/Groeb) and 3 (CH-139 Jet Ranger and CT-146 Outlaw bailed to KF Aerospace) to Canadian aerospace industry.

Bang for the buck, if I were King for a day, I would consider a trade off of some aspirations for some other things. I’d trade some fighters for hunting down 2-3 more C-17s, roll CMLU money into capital acquisition top-up of the Ch-147F fleet with another 15 aircraft, get the heck on with RPAS, perhaps a dual-fleet capability set of MALE (Class 3) and TUAV (Class 2 - possibly rotary like Fire Scout) and do a truly limited Griffon ‘sunset’ upgrade to keep just enough to overlay with a sunrise of FVL aircraft, and ensure that the Tac Hel Griffon line squadrons were sized up to 24-30 ac each. It would likely be able to be done cost-neutral to the current plan, but people would be the challenge…I’d have to think harder about how to work that trade space.
 

Kirkhill

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@KevinB, definitely no doubt that a -60 would have made for a solid, relatively unrestricted UTTH, per the original, pre-Marcel Masse 1992 plan.

@Kirkhill, the 100 to 85 Ch-146 fleet downsize definitely pre-dated the 15 CH-147Fs. It was primarily borne of O&M and ISS limitations and the coincidental popularity of ASD in the mid-90s that led to the CFTS contracting of Phases 1 (Slingsby/Groeb) and 3 (CH-139 Jet Ranger and CT-146 Outlaw bailed to KF Aerospace) to Canadian aerospace industry.

Bang for the buck, if I were King for a day, I would consider a trade off of some aspirations for some other things. I’d trade some fighters for hunting down 2-3 more C-17s, roll CMLU money into capital acquisition top-up of the Ch-147F fleet with another 15 aircraft, get the heck on with RPAS, perhaps a dual-fleet capability set of MALE (Class 3) and TUAV (Class 2 - possibly rotary like Fire Scout) and do a truly limited Griffon ‘sunset’ upgrade to keep just enough to overlay with a sunrise of FVL aircraft, and ensure that the Tac Hel Griffon line squadrons were sized up to 24-30 ac each. It would likely be able to be done cost-neutral to the current plan, but people would be the challenge…I’d have to think harder about how to work that trade space.

Thanks for the correction G2G.

If I were King for a day I would swap some of those LAV/ACSV/TAPV dollars for more helicopters - even if they were only 412s and 407s.
 

Dale Denton

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Lots of concurrent conversations in the Future Helicopters thread, can we combine the threads?
 

Good2Golf

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Lots of concurrent conversations in the Future Helicopters thread, can we combine the threads?
Not speaking as a mod, while there is a bit of wavering overlap at times, I was thinking Griffon is more of a ‘fix today’s problem’ vs the future (be it FVL or NGRC or other new ‘needle-moving’ capabilities. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

KevinB

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Thanks for the correction G2G.

If I were King for a day I would swap some of those LAV/ACSV/TAPV dollars for more helicopters - even if they were only 412s and 407s.
I would get more hooks before either - mainly as I don't want need Griffons (I'd take new Y's though) and am dead-set against the 407 as the RCAF already divested that capability with the Kiowa - and I don't think the CAF has enough Pilots at this point to justify another orphan fleet.
 
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