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Initiatives launched to retain and increase RCAF personnel experience levels

Loachman

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Ooooffff....

And here everybody I served with would watch the Griffons fly around and think 'Ya know, we can't be pilots. But that FE position looks like a sweet gig!"

Door gunnery provided some compensation, but that would only go so far.

It was definitely a "sweet gig" for the young grunts that got to do it in KAF - including a sizeable number of Reservists. Seeing flying suits worn with funny Regimental hats was always amusing.
 

dimsum

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Door gunnery provided some compensation, but that would only go so far.

It was definitely a "sweet gig" for the young grunts that got to do it in KAF - including a sizeable number of Reservists. Seeing flying suits worn with funny Regimental hats was always amusing.
Yep. I saw one Door Gunner in flight suit with a Balmoral. The Americans (and everyone else) did a double-take when he walked by.
 

Loachman

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I overhead one of our Yank hosts ask somebody during Ex Bold Venture in Fort Knox where we also turned an urn's worth of coffee into perfume for a TAMS Team) "How come y'all have so many hats?"
 

FJAG

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FJAG, no, the decision not to recapitalize MTH was well before CFUTTH was a glimmer in the politicians’ eyes. CFLH was also allowed to wither on the vine in the late-80s.

CFUTTH ‘replacing MTH, UH and LOH’ storyline was a ridiculous, reactive, PR-driven backwards engineering. Quite simply, the ‘Army’ (and ‘Air Force’ along for the ride) did not want the MTH and LOH capabilities enough. It should have never supported the 147/135/136->146 charade.

The 146 simply replaced green and yellow 135s, full stop. The 100 qty was purely political. The pre-146 SOR was for 50+3 (green, yellow and new black reqr).

Regards
G2G
Not going to argue with you since I wasn't involved in any of that at the time. I agree that the Chinook was gone in 1991 pre the UT order in 1992 but I take my view from this article:
Why that argument didn’t hold sway when it came to the Chinooks, we don’t know. We only know that in 1991 the Chinooks were taken out of service and sold to the Dutch the next year.
It’s the same story with the purchase of 100 Bell civilian helicopters for army support. Yes, the military was in the market to buy 40 helicopters to replace the C-Twin Huey, but hardly anyone was prepared when Defence Minister Marcel Masse announced that the Canadian Forces were going to buy 100 CH-146 Griffons. This was ostensibly done to reap the economic benefits of using one type of helicopter to replace four different types – the light observation Kiowa, the transport CH-135 Twin Huey, the base rescue CH-118 Iroquois, and the heavy-lift Chinooks.
The Griffon helicopter has become almost a laughing stock. It is underpowered for the transport role the army needs it to play, and it’s too big for a reconnaissance role. At a time when the Canadian Forces are thirsting for equipment, it’s telling that about 20 of the Griffons have been parked.
So who decided to buy the Griffons? Certainly Masse had political reasons to favour a deal with the Quebec based Bell, but he would not have proceeded without the support of the top brass. And they probably took the view that something was better than nothing. But does that rationale serve the military’s long-term interest? Shouldn’t the army and air force senior leadership stand up to the politicians and say “no, this won’t work”? That’s what Vice-Admiral Chuck Thomas did in April 1991 when he resigned as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in protest over the department’s policy proposals to the government.
Simply put there was a nexus between the three types and their replacement by one type. Nevertheless, the last paragraph makes your point in any event. At the time, and pretty much since then, numerous poor decisions have been made in the name of financial constraints. While there is truth in that, the argument would be significantly more valid if we weren't mired up to our armpits in GOFOs and their plethora of staff crawling the halls of Ottawa and the compromises they make on a daily basis which end up in capability after capability being shed.

🍻
 

OldTanker

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I worked in NDHQ, CLDO (Chief Land Doctrine and Operations) at this time. We had just done a study on the Griffon and bounced it back to the Air staff with the notice that it was underpowered and unacceptable to the Army. We were looking for something like a Blackhawk with enough power to lift a towed howitzer. Just as we did this we got the word that the Minister of Defence had given the direction that the department WOULD spend $1 Billion in Quebec, with tight timelines. The only CF program that was far enough along to meet his timelines was the Griffon. Hence the 100 airframes, way beyond the requirement. The rest is history. Regarding the lack of leadership by our senior management, I won't dispute that but at the same time we were dealing with the huge force reductions following the end of the Cold War, drawing down CFE and blindly staggering into our commitment in the Balkans. It probably didn't help that some of the senior Army leadership were "in tight" with the Minister and not likely to kick up a fuss. It was a sucky time to be an Army staff officer at NDHQ and frankly this wasn't anywhere near the top of the Army's primary concerns. My memory may be off a bit on details but I can clearly remember the collective sigh of disgust in our staff when we were told what was happening.
 

Good2Golf

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I worked in NDHQ, CLDO (Chief Land Doctrine and Operations) at this time. We had just done a study on the Griffon and bounced it back to the Air staff with the notice that it was underpowered and unacceptable to the Army. We were looking for something like a Blackhawk with enough power to lift a towed howitzer. Just as we did this we got the word that the Minister of Defence had given the direction that the department WOULD spend $1 Billion in Quebec, with tight timelines. The only CF program that was far enough along to meet his timelines was the Griffon. Hence the 100 airframes, way beyond the requirement. The rest is history. Regarding the lack of leadership by our senior management, I won't dispute that but at the same time we were dealing with the huge force reductions following the end of the Cold War, drawing down CFE and blindly staggering into our commitment in the Balkans. It probably didn't help that some of the senior Army leadership were "in tight" with the Minister and not likely to kick up a fuss. It was a sucky time to be an Army staff officer at NDHQ and frankly this wasn't anywhere near the top of the Army's primary concerns. My memory may be off a bit on details but I can clearly remember the collective sigh of disgust in our staff when we were told what was happening.
^This, and then some.

The original CFUTTH, up until early/mid-1991, was specified by the Director of Land Aviation (DLA) within Chief of Air Doctrine and Operations (CADO, air cousin to Old Tanker’s aforementioned CLDO), to be 50+3 (50 was the number of originally-procured [pre-attrition] CH-135 Twin Hueys from 1971/72 and the +3 represented additional aircraft required to support the RCMP S.E.R.T. aviation support role assigned to 450 Squadron at CFB Uplands commencing in 1990. The CFUTTH operational requirement, as originally developed in the late 80s by DLA, required a UH-60 Black Hawk class helicopter. Between mid-1991 and early 1992 is when the morphing took place, leading to a major ‘directed’ (beyond CAF) revision in both quantity and characteristics of the CFUTTH-to-be.

FJAG, ack your reference to Sharon Hobson’s article. A good effort in her part, but just because she wrote it, doesn’t mean all the details are accurate. The Chinook decommissioning was without doubt an FMC decision, as FMC provided the source of the internally transferred capital funds for tactical aviation procurement (and ADM(Mat)/DGAEPM for in-service support) The CH-47D-model upgrade was estimated at $400M and Comd FMC, LGen Foster, told LGen Sutherland, Comd Air Command (peer Commanders) that FMC would not fund the Chinook’s upgrade. AIRCOM/CADO/DLA thus commenced decommissioning efforts in coordination with ADM(Mat) and Crown Assets Disposal in late-1991. The Chinook’s demise was an entirely internal CAF decision/own goal. Re: Griffons, it was Masse, back up by Mulroney, who directed the procurement to Bell. Hobson implies that the CAF could have pushed back and didn’t. I have colleagues who were staff in DLA at the time, who advised upwards through the Chain of Command that, with the Chinook’s retirement, the UH-60 based requirement/capability must be retained. That recommendation clearly didn’t make the cut. Why 100 helicopters many have asked, compared to the original 53? I understand that personnel directly involved with the MND the day he announced at the Bell Helicopter plant in Mirabel the purchase of 100 Bell 412s, that he told them 100 aircraft was a good round number and that if they had asked for more (not that they would), he would have ordered 200! There was no manner in which military staff could counter that, notwithstanding Ms. Hobson’s belief that the military was responsible for how the procurement unfolded.

As an aside, I completely disagree with Ms. Hobson’s implication that the Griffon has been a laughing stock. As a direct 1:1 replacement for the Twin Huey and Iroquois fleets, it has done an admirable job....when properly employed and supported. It was unrealistic (and inappropriate) to expect heavy lift and armed recce ability from the Griffon. As I said earlier, the backwards engineered PR effort to explain a multi-role responsibility where NO SUCH nexus truly existed. THAT was the most disappointing point in the CAF’s involvement in the Griffon story.

Regards
G2G
 

daftandbarmy

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I overhead one of our Yank hosts ask somebody during Ex Bold Venture in Fort Knox where we also turned an urn's worth of coffee into perfume for a TAMS Team) "How come y'all have so many hats?"

We are the Imelda Marcos' of headdress! :)

birthday honor GIF
 

CBH99

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Very informative couple of posts, above. Appreciated from all of you.

As for the Griffon being a laughing stock? I wouldn't go that far, especially not after recent deployments to Mali, Afghanistan, and in support of SOFCOM throughout Iraq and Africa.

While many of us had our doubts about it's ability to perform in Afghanistan, and while it did have some limitations whereas other airframes may not have -- it certainly performed well, and was capable to unleashing some decently nasty lead showers down on the enemy. I wouldn't call it a laughing stock when employed properly.
 

Good2Golf

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I’ve heard from OSINT that the Taliban called the Griffons “Allah’s Breath”, after the stream of 7.62mm rounds coming from the Dillon M-134Ds (firing ~100 rds per second). Look at the rate of reduction of Canadian KIA after the Chinooks and Griffons arrived in December 2008...
 

daftandbarmy

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I’ve heard from OSINT that the Taliban called the Griffons “Allah’s Breath”, after the stream of 7.62mm rounds coming from the Dillon M-134Ds (firing ~100 rds per second). Look at the rate of reduction of Canadian KIA after the Chinooks and Griffons arrived in December 2008...

One of my NCOs from the Westies was a door gunner during, I think, two tours.

I had a good chat with him a few years ago about his experiences and he had nothing but good things to say about the aircraft and the crews. He was also clear that the Canadians were recognized as leaders in the field of air gunnery in AFG, and other nations came to us for advice about a few things (that I only barely understood).
 

CBH99

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While the Griffons deployed after my tour, I had several friends deploy in the 2008-2011 timeframe. Some spent all of their time in KAF, some out in the FOBs, and a small few did the first part of their tour in KAF and then ended up in the FOBs around midway through their tour. (Why, I have no idea.)

But they heard nothing but praise for the Canadian machines and crews, as they seemed to be able to lift off & go far faster than other countries. The Griffons, and their crews - from what they told me - seemed to be able to get briefed, plan the mission, and go - significantly faster than most. (Minus MEDEVAC birds that were constantly ready.)





Short rant.... It absolutely blows my mind that we deployed there in 2001, then deployed & conducted operations in Kabul, then redeployed in a combat role back to Kandahar in 2005, and conducted combat operations daily until 2011...and yet helicopters only arrived in 2008. 🤯🤦‍♂️

The top brass of the Army is supposed to, in my mind, essentially consist of experienced officers who have the proper personality, experience, leadership abilities, and reasonable decision making abilities to lead an organization in war, and other operations where the danger is consistently higher than most civilian professions.

Did none of the Army leadership realize that in a country literally littered with landmines from the 80's, and IED's potentially anywhere, that helicopters would be essential? How many 'gosh darn' Maple Resolves does one have to attend to say "Fast, safe movement GOOD...driving on roads that explode BAD."

I know this is a sore topic for many of us on this board, so I do apologize for the above. Just 🤯😠 one would think having helicopters moving people and supplies would be as basic as deploying LAVs or trucks. <end rant>
 

Halifax Tar

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While the Griffons deployed after my tour, I had several friends deploy in the 2008-2011 timeframe. Some spent all of their time in KAF, some out in the FOBs, and a small few did the first part of their tour in KAF and then ended up in the FOBs around midway through their tour. (Why, I have no idea.)

But they heard nothing but praise for the Canadian machines and crews, as they seemed to be able to lift off & go far faster than other countries. The Griffons, and their crews - from what they told me - seemed to be able to get briefed, plan the mission, and go - significantly faster than most. (Minus MEDEVAC birds that were constantly ready.)





Short rant.... It absolutely blows my mind that we deployed there in 2001, then deployed & conducted operations in Kabul, then redeployed in a combat role back to Kandahar in 2005, and conducted combat operations daily until 2011...and yet helicopters only arrived in 2008. 🤯🤦‍♂️

The top brass of the Army is supposed to, in my mind, essentially consist of experienced officers who have the proper personality, experience, leadership abilities, and reasonable decision making abilities to lead an organization in war, and other operations where the danger is consistently higher than most civilian professions.

Did none of the Army leadership realize that in a country literally littered with landmines from the 80's, and IED's potentially anywhere, that helicopters would be essential? How many 'gosh darn' Maple Resolves does one have to attend to say "Fast, safe movement GOOD...driving on roads that explode BAD."

I know this is a sore topic for many of us on this board, so I do apologize for the above. Just 🤯😠 one would think having helicopters moving people and supplies would be as basic as deploying LAVs or trucks. <end rant>
I was a bit bewildered when I was tasked as the right seater for a 1 vehicle road move Kabul to Bagram in 2006. It felt weird, and I was new in the ground and Jr so I went with it. My driver, an MSEOP was terrified. And rightly so.

I remember him loading M72s in the back and asking why, to blow up G Wagon if we get stuck... Things got real.

Fyi the task was to go verify a SCA at Bagram. It had medicine balls on it, that's it.

Looking back, I think a flight was a safer idea.
 

Good2Golf

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CBH99, you wouldn’t be wrong in asking the question about helicopters, but it wasn’t just airlift that was lacking. I drove close to a hundred times over the exact spot on Darulaman Road where Sgt Short and Cpl Beerenfenger were killed (the slight depression of the crater was still there in 2005) and try to imagine what it was like driving around Kabul in 2003 in an Iltis, compared to any up-armoured vehicle. 2001/02 the TF deployed in green CADPAT. All represent what we had at the time and made it work, in part to being provided aviation support from other ISAF nations, although clearly, not without consequences. That it took until late 2008 to get our own helicopters to provide integral support for a threat that was, as you noted, not something ‘unforeseen’ is without doubt, much longer than it should have taken. My personal thought is that there had been so much misinformation and mis-‘missioning’ surrounding the Griffon in the part of many (some politicians, pundits, academics, even many CAF (Army, some AF, etc), that there was significant resistance to deploy the Griffon at the same time the original move of the BG from Kabul to Kandahar took place in late 2005. Most unfortunately, it took loss of life...a lot of it, to turn the tide of opinion and with the support of John Manley and his team and their report in February of 2008, execute the accelerated procurement of interim used Chinooks and the deployment of the Griffon into AFG in Dec 2008, just 10 months after the Manley Report’s release. Griffons also performed successfully in Iraq as well, and fortunately the lessons learned of aviation’s value in AFG were considered in deploying it to IRQ. Would we have liked to have seen our own helos deployed earlier than late 2008? Absolutely. The was a demonstrable reduction in KIA with the helicopters’ arrival. One certainly can’t be faulted for thinking that perhaps fewer Canadians would have died had it happened earlier.

Regards
G2G
 

CBH99

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I truly hope that in any future operations we are involved in which require a ‘whole of military’ commitment, the idea of deploying helicopters to quickly and safely transport troops is a given.

Given the purchase of 15 new build, improved Chinooks - I am thinking the lessons did sink in, as we now have the assets to do so.

I am consistently surprised that MOST western countries (the UK, Germany, France) - all operate with the same mindset deficiency in regards to organic helicopter support.

We all deploy troops, and then consider the helicopter aspect almost as an afterthought. Or worse yet, we consider the helicopter aspect almost like a “special Christmas present for the troops” that they only get if Santa comes.

The US seems to have basic helicopter support as organic to a deployment. X battalion deploys? Y number of helicopters deploy with them. Seems downright logical...

(Yes the US has more assets than it knows what to do with - literally. But our deployments only require a fairly small handful.)
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I am not sure that integral helicopters would have changed much for our Kabul task circa 2003. Our task was to patrol the city.

Chinooks and escort helicopters certainly would have made life better in Kandahar in 2006. I recall the drive to FOB Wolf/Robinson took something like 12 hrs the first time, while the US CH47 ride back was about 40 mins.

I will offer, though, that helicopter movement is not without risk. The increasing ingenuity of Hezbollah IED attacks against Israeli forces occupying their security zone in Southern Lebanon in the 90s meant that the IDF adopted helicopter movement to rotate their patrol bases. Israeli forces typically did two-week rotations, with platoons moving in and out by helicopter to avoid IEDs. In 1997 two such helicopters collided with the loss of 73 personnel.

1997 Israeli helicopter disaster - Wikipedia.

This was a galvanizing factor with the Israeli anti-occupation movement and is seen as the catalyst for the withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. Adaptation to one threat can open vulnerability to another.
 

kev994

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Can we split this thread? We’re nowhere near RCAF retention.
 

daftandbarmy

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Apologies of this has been shared elsewhere, but good old 'bribery' has a role to play here, does it not? The US seems to think so....

Some Air Force Pilots Are Eligible for Up to $420K in Aviation Bonus Payments​


In its yearslong effort to get more pilots to stay in service, the U.S. Air Force is offering up to $420,000 in aviation bonuses over 12 years for some airmen, according to the service's fiscal 2021 bonus program.

Active-duty bomber, fighter, mobility, special operations and combat search-and-rescue fixed-wing pilots whose initial contract commitments expire this year are eligible to receive annual payments of $25,000 for five- to seven-year commitments or $35,000 for eight- to 12-year commitments, according to the service's latest figures provided to Military.com.

These aviators also have the option of taking upfront payments of $100,000 for the five- to seven-year terms, with the remainder of the bonus distributed annually thereafter. Those who choose eight- to 12-year contracts may request a $200,000 upfront payment, the service said.

Other pilot bonuses include:

  • Combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) rotary-wing pilots, combat systems officers and air battle managers whose initial contract commitments expire this year are eligible for annual payments of $15,000 for contract lengths of five to seven years or $25,000 for eight to 12 years.
  • Remotely piloted aircraft pilots whose initial contract commitments expire this year can receive annual payments of $25,000 for contract lengths of five to seven years or $35,000 for eight to 12 years. They can also choose upfront payments of $100,000 for contract lengths of eight to 12 years.
  • Remotely piloted aircraft pilots whose contracts expired before 2021 are eligible for annual payments of $15,000 for contract lengths of five to seven years or $25,000 for eight to 12 years.
  • Bomber, fighter, mobility, special operations or CSAR fixed-wing pilots whose contracts have expired prior to 2021 can sign up for annual payments of $15,000 for contract lengths of five to seven years or $25,000 for eight to 12 years.
For those who are non-contracted or have an expired contract, there is a five-year contract minimum and 24 years of aviation service maximum, the service said.


 
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