DND moves to single source FWSAR platform

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WJflyer
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DND moves to single source FWSAR platform

Post by WJflyer »

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/01/ ... tract.html
DND to look at single bid for search planes: report
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | 7:51 AM ET
CBC News

Canada's Department of National Defence is poised to buy new search and rescue aircraft, but will look at only one bid for a $3-billion contract because of the military's strict requirements, says a newspaper report.

The Canadian Forces is considering the Italian-built Spartan C27J as the only "viable bidder" when it moves to replace Buffalo and Hercules planes currently deployed in rescue missions in Canada, according to a DND document obtained by the Globe and Mail.

The contract includes aircraft maintenance for 20 years.

Lobbying, however, is underway by the makers of a competing aircraft, the Spanish C295, as company officials attempt to persuade DND officials to alter requirements to allow them to take part in the bid.

Martin Sefzig, spokesperson for EADS-CASA, which makes the C295, told the newspaper that the plane is used in eight countries, while the Italian-built plane has not proven itself a search-and-rescue aircraft.

He said the company has not been allowed to show the Spanish plane to DND officials. Both planes, the Italian-built and the Spanish, cost about $30 million to $40 million each, the report says.

Retired Lt.-Gen. George Macdonald, who prefers the Spartan, told the Globe and Mail that it is the only plane that meets DND requirements, and is the largest and fastest of its kind.

"To compromise on the requirements in any way would be a difficult thing to address," Macdonald is quoted as saying. "If you get something that ultimately cannot perform the job as identified by the Canadian Forces, who have the best experience in doing this, (it) would be a fundamental error in the process."

Opposition parties have criticized Ottawa for awarding defence contracts without considering other bids.

Liberal MP and defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh told the newspaper that the procurement process lacks "civilian oversight" because purchases are driven mostly by military requirements, and the Harper government may not be getting the best value for its money without considering other bids.
About time they looked at getting the Spartan! CASA's bid sucks, and they are applying the political pressure to get the DND to buy the inferior product. And the part about not being allowed to show the aircraft, it is because CASA was late and missed the cut off time when they could show the aircraft around due to sloppy bidding. Also, Ujjal Dosanjh can just shove it as he knows crap about the military. What is about defence critics that causes them to put their foot in their mouths?
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Re: DND moves to single source FWSAR platform

Post by grimey »

WJflyer wrote:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/01/ ... tract.html
Martin Sefzig, spokesperson for EADS-CASA, which makes the C295, told the newspaper that the plane is used in eight countries, while the Italian-built plane has not proven itself a search-and-rescue aircraft.
I wonder how EADS would react if the government turned around and said that the A400M hasn't proven itself.
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Post by R1830 »

I've never seen someone complain that military purchases are being driven by military requirements before.

Thanks Liberals for that brain wave.
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Post by shitdisturber »

R1830 wrote:I've never seen someone complain that military purchases are being driven by military requirements before.

Thanks Liberals for that brain wave.
That's a classic line. Unfortunately while it's sad it's also very true in this country. You can go all the way back to the Halifax heavy bomber, which was a piece of shit; the Arrow etc etc, military purchases are usually for political expediency and the military just has to find a way to make it work.
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Post by mellow_pilot »

I smell another C17 thread... let the games begin.
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Post by RLP »

Actually, the CASA request was made four times - and denied four times. The Spartan requested once, was approved, and then made a second appearance that was coordinated by the staff in the project office on direction from senior levels. Not exactly even-handed.
Sounds strange to talk about an aircraft that is mature, operating around the world, as being inferior to a "paper" aircraft that is not operating anywhere in the world, and just had its first deliveries in the last few months. The Spartan, nor the G-222, were ever used nor considered for use in any role requiring sensor technology, nor any use in maritime environments. You cannot compare actual operating data with manufacturers glossy brochures.
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Post by mellow_pilot »

If it's not operating, how are there pictures and videos of it flying? It may not be in service with any airforce or company yet, but then neither is the JSF, A400m, A380, need I go on?

As I understand it, CASAs aircraft didn't meet the requirements and yet they bitch about being denied. If their aircraft could meet the requirements, they would have a point, but as it is they are trying to sell the forces something they don't want. In order to mitigate the deficiencies in their product they have suggested that Canada revamp it's entire deployment and SAR strategy. They have further gone so far as to insinuate that the public is being put in danger by the current system and have attempted to have citizens get involved in pressuring the government to enact the changes CASA wants so that it's aircraft will be purchased. Regardless of the platform, the company is underhanded and should be tossed.
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C27J

Post by Stan_Cooper »

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Post by WJflyer »

RLP wrote:Actually, the CASA request was made four times - and denied four times. The Spartan requested once, was approved, and then made a second appearance that was coordinated by the staff in the project office on direction from senior levels. Not exactly even-handed.
Sounds strange to talk about an aircraft that is mature, operating around the world, as being inferior to a "paper" aircraft that is not operating anywhere in the world, and just had its first deliveries in the last few months. The Spartan, nor the G-222, were ever used nor considered for use in any role requiring sensor technology, nor any use in maritime environments. You cannot compare actual operating data with manufacturers glossy brochures.

In early 2005 DND and the CF SAR community had pretty much made up it's mind on an SAR aircraft for this application (C-27J). EADS then whined to Mr. Paul Martin and Mr. Bill Graham that they had not been given a fair shot.

Despite the speed, range and capacity shortcomings of the CASA aircraft, CASA argued that all of these shortcomings could be overcome if CF just decided to build more air stations across the north. (Not full blown CFB's mind you, just CF airstrips or improvements to local civilian airstrips, to enable the stationing of SAR aircraft across the north).

Mr. Paul Martin then sent DND back to the drawing board, putting a project already two years behind, further behind - all on the unlikely supposition that a slow, short winded, cramped aircraft could suffice because more of them could be bought and they could be stationed closer to a possible rescue call.

So it seems that Mr Dossanjh is lobbying for something that has already been done, twice, re-examine the parameters of the requirement, in order to 'ensure transparency'. What short memory he has. :roll:

EADS is whining about not being able to show the aircraft to the CF because they were too late to come and visit us - during the SOR phase of acquisition (in which we in), the competitors are not permitted to interact with any military personnel - this is so that any procurement is not skewed in any way. LMATTS got the chance to show off their C-27J in 2003, only because they got their proposal in order and was already ready for the project to begin. CASA is playing catch-up because they were late to the table and are doing a poor job at it, as they were complaining two years after LMATTS did their presentation to us. Their only recourse is the media and show-boating their plane in the Arctic to a bunch of people who will never fly it.

CASA's proposal will cost the DND MORE than the LMATTS proposal; CASA is proposing that we buy MORE airplanes and build MORE bases. Not only that - we would be stretched pretty thin for aircrew and maintainers if we followed CASA's proposal - what we have now works.

CASA has raised my ire due mainly to the double-talk that they are trying to spin on the Canadian taxpayer and politicians and the boon-doggle that they have caused to the entire FWSAR project (I will leave Bombardier out of this one). The SOR for any new FWSAR aircraft has very specific technical issues that must be addressed, and CASA fails to meet the very basic requirement that the aircraft MUST be able to cruise at least 295KIAS (from the SOR). CASA completely and utterly fails this very basic requirement. CASA's bid is based on the Federal Government's intent to improve SAR coverage to the North - this has already been done by establishing these very basic requirements.

Internal size is another issue. The 6'3" offered in terms of headroom by the CASA bird is not very much when you consider what goes on in the back of our FWSAR aircraft. The Buffalo and Hercules carry SKADs, Pumps and Toboggans - all of which are very heavy and cumbersome. The rear end of the CASA bird does not allow for a grown adult to stand erect across the entire width of the cabin. If you look at their website - you will see that the cabin is very much sloped on the sides and has a very narrow cabin. This is not conducive at all to the manual manipulation of all the gear in the back. CASA touts that it can fit 7 C-130 pallets in its hold. What they don't say is that these pallets are loaded sideways and take up the entire width of the cabin!

The C-27J can fit 3 pallets loaded correctly, and still allow for plenty of room to move with head-room to boot. The Buffalo has SAR storage racks that go right up to the cabin ceiling (at least 7') and the SAR technicians still end up putting all of our personal gear in the head!

Final point is that all of our SAR squadrons are also Strategic Transport squadrons. We conduct resupply for the northern communities and we are also mobile repair parties for broken down aircraft anywhere in Canada with these aircraft. I know the Spartan is quite big enough to transport an intact propeller, and I also know that the CASA bird can't. We are not the USCG or any of the other nations that have ordered the CASA, in the CF every asset we purchase must be able to conduct more than one role - Transport and SAR. We have unique operating requirements and the SOR reflects this.

The fact that C-27J and the C-130J share many components (avionics, engines, props, etc) also doesn't hurt and the fact the two aircraft have virtually the same cross section also doesn't hurt at all. It makes things easier for us instead.
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Post by RLP »

First, for WJFlyer, the Spartan does not "load correctly" its three pallets, they are rotated 90 degrees, re-rigged to address the change in g loading, and reduced in height to 80 inches before they can be fitted. The CASA holds five of the same pallets, not seven, and rotates them in the same way - reducing height to 60 inches. The Spartan cabin is only 8 cm wider than the CASA, while the length of the cargo space, including ramp, for the aircraft is 11.43M for the Spartan and 15.73M for the CASA.

Not many SAR techs are over 6 ft 3 inches, and until you have been in the aircraft, it is a little difficult to comment on clearances. The Spartan is shorter than the Buff, the CASA is longer than the Herc. That provides a lot of space for SAR techs to work that they will not have on a Spartan.

More to the point, the bottom line is that DND has constructed the SOR for the new FWSAR aircraft in such a way that only one aircraft, the Alenia Spartan C-27J, can pass the mandatory requirements. There are two requirements, (1) a cabin height of 6 ft 11 in) and (2) a speed of 272 knots that will eliminate the two other aircraft that could be considered for the competition. Unfortunately, the majority of the Search and Rescue requirements have been moved from the mandatory requirements to Rated, which means that the aircraft selected does not have to be able to Search or Rescue in order to be the airframe selected. This is not a surprise, neither the Spartan, nor its predecesser, the G-222, have ever been considered for the SAR role by any nation or operator. The one remaining SAR requirement that has been kept in the mandatory requirements, the ability to fly at search speeds, has been raised to 140 knots to allow the Spartan to compete - despite the fact that this will mean increased danger to the crews and reduced effectiveness of search.
The National SAR Manual can be found at http://www.casaraontario.ca/~webmaster1 ... nglish.pdf .

The Speed range for visual search for wreckage is 70-130 knots in the chart at Figure 5-7, page 21, Chapter 5 (PDF page 136 of 336), and a statement on contour search that stresses the danger and the requirement for low speed is at para 8, page 38 Chapter 5, (PDF page 153 or 336), and a statement about the impact of search craft speed on effectiveness of search is found at para 6.34, page 18 of Chapter 6, (PDF page 184 of 336).

The Civil Air Search and Rescue Training Manual is at
http://www.casara.ca/manuals/casara_tra ... Manual.pdf
and the reference pages on Contour Search are page 84 (PDF page 98 of 267) to page 88 (PDF page 102 of 267) .

Page 102 of the CASARA manual states the risk for Contour Search as high, compared to low for other forms of search.

DND originally followed these documents, original copies of the Statement of Requirements (SOR) noted the requirement for the lowest possible speed, and stated that the speed would be 110-130 knots for search operations. In the last version of the SOR, this was raised to 110-140 knots. No one in the field appears to have been informed of the change. This higher speed mirrors the stall speed of the Spartan - for the same load of SAR equipement, and the same hours of fuel, the stalling speed of the Spartan is ten knots higher than the Hercules. The reason that the Buffalo aircraft still operate from 19 Wing Comox is because the Hercules stalling speed is too fast to search in the mountains - yet they are about to buy an aircraft that is 10 knots faster!

The Hercules, which normally searches with additional fuel (increasing the minimum search speed to 135 knots) does operate in SAR over most of Canada, where Contour Search is not required. The effectiveness of search is diminished by the increased speed as per para 6.34 of Chapter 6, National SAR Manual (above), but this reduced efficiency was accepted as part of a decision in 1990 to replace the Buffalo in SAR across Canada with the Hercules - except for the BC SAR region. In BC it was understood that the SAR role could not be safely done by the Hercules.

Aside from the safety concern, the fact remains that even if the higher speed of the Spartan were discounted, the aircraft has a blind spot underneath that cannot be resolved. It is unclear why DND has fixated on this aircraft, but they really need to do a full and transparent competition to bring visibility to the process - something they have steadfastlly refused to do.

Hopefully this will add some facts to the rhetoric of this discussion.
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Post by WJflyer »

1. Cabin length has never been an major issue with FWSAR; it is cabin height and width that is important. When our Buffs and Hercs have pallets in the back, there is still some room around the pallets for the SARtechs to move around. The CASA bird isn't wide enough to allow this to happen, besides forcing SARtechs to climb over the pallets themselves. Cabin height is also important, as often, the Buffs and the Hercs that are tasked to SAR are stacked high in equipment. Also, a full-grown man MUST be able to stand perfectly upright comfortably in the aircraft. The CASA bird does not allow a fully grown man to stand upright comfortably; the C-27J does.

2. The preferred FWSAR platform for the USCG is not the CASA bird, it's C-130 Hercules. The same applies to us, we most commonly use the C-130 and 'abuse' it as a SAR platform because of the cabin height and width.

3. The C-27 has always been a very capable aircraft; when it was retired by the USAF, they retired it because of costs reasons, the aircraft were perfectly serviceable and capable, but the small fleet of them did not make sense.

4. The CASA bird does not have a APU; something the SARtechs and pilots consider necessary in a new FWSAR platform. C-27J does have a APU. CASA talks about a propeller brake being equal to a APU, but in really, it is not; we need an APU.

5. The CASA bird is also not set-up very well for the pilots and their flight visibility. The flight-deck window setup is ideal for an airliner, not for a tactical/SAR transporter that needs to bank heavily in mountainous regions - just take a look at the window set up on the CASA bird and compare it to the C-27J. There are a lot more windows in the C-27J's cockpit, and that means there is more area to look out with for the pilots and SARtechs. Sensors can only help so much, but cockpit visibility is crucial for performing SAR in mountainous regions. The cockpit of the C-27J is also bigger, meaning that for the number of people we plan to have in the cabin, (2 pilots, a flight engineer and a navigator), there is more room to work around. Going to a 2 man cockpit is not acceptable because it overtasks the pilots, as they now have to fly the airplane, look out the window so they don't hit a mountain, operate the radios, and find out where they are.

6. The fact that some other countries have accepted the CASA aircraft for their SAR aircraft is completely irrelevant to us - none of them perform the same kind of SAR flying that we do.

7. Remember what I stated earlier: all of our SAR squadrons are also Strategic Transport squadrons. We conduct resupply for the northern communities and we are also mobile repair parties for broken down aircraft anywhere in Canada with these aircraft. I know the Spartan is quite big enough to transport an intact propeller, and I also know that the CASA bird can't. We are not the USCG or any of the other nations that have ordered the CASA, in the CF every asset we purchase must be able to conduct more than one role - Transport and SAR.

8. The DND is 'fixated' on the C-27J because it is the most capable platform that is available. Nothing else meets the SOR and nothing else exceeds some of those requirements. It's the right aircraft for us because it will replace both the Herc and the Buff in FWSAR. It flies faster, has better range, , can fly higher, has a wider and tall cabin, has a roomy cockpit, has decent and demonstrated STOL capabilities (C-27J can take off from a shorter runway). Both contending aircraft have their positive attributes - yet both are equally lacking in certain areas. It is just that the C-27J's attributes are more what we desire and prefer than the CASA aircraft's attributes.
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Post by RLP »

1. The Spartan cabin floor is 8 cm wider than the CASA. I don't think that is enough to make people climb over gear.

2. The USCG is replacing C-130 in SAR with the CN-235. When someone says that "we commonly use", it infers they have personal experience. In my 35 years of military service (prior to retirement), I have been checked out and flown the Herc, Buff, Lab, and Twin Huey, and have flown SAR missions in each. I have also flown in the CASA. It will do the job.

3. The C-27A were retired because of the high cost of operating, and the lack of parts and support from Alenia. The US State Dept took over five of the airframes, crashed one, and is flying the remaining aircraft on Anti-drug operations, this is a quote from the 2005 annual report from the State Dept website, "Total flight time in support of post's counternarcotics program was 233.6 hours at a cost of $2,131.751. The C-27 became too expensive to operate..." , the link follows http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/rpt/cbj/fy2005/

4.The APU is an option offered for the C-295, if you want it, you order it.

5.This is really quite amusing - both the C-295 and the C-27J are two man cockpits. By the way, having flown SAR across Canada, in a variety of aircraft (see 3. above), there is no problem with vis in the CASA - and the vis in the Herc was really no better than the Buff, Lab, or Twin Otter.

6. Marine SAR is pretty much the same anywhere, and flying tactically in the mountains requires the same cockpit vis. A number of countries do that with the CASA. Again, I suspect that if we want to play "SAR credentials" poker, I have a better hand.

7. The Transport and Rescue Squadrons do not have a Strategic transport role, nor do they have a tactical transport role - they have a utility transport role. Whether or not they can carry a prop for "x" aircraft is not an issue. Even the CF Project office did not make that a "hard" requirement.

8. The crux of the issue is in this para. The statement is made that "we desire and prefer" the Spartan. The reality is that the Air Force, and others, are mixing "wants" and "needs". The SAR crews need an aircraft that can Search and Rescue, and that is reliable and proven. They do not need another developmental aircraft, especially one that is based on an unsuccessful 1960 Fiat design (Alenia G-222/C-27A/C-27J). You can put a 1980's Rolls Royce engine in it, but it is still a Fiat. With all the grief the SAR community is going through with the other Finmeccanica product (Cormorant), you would think that lesson would be fairly quickly learned.
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Post by teacher »

The question I have is why would the military want an inferior product. Why would they rig the requirements to rule out a superior aircraft? You always read in the media that the competition is skewed and that we may not be getting the best product. Why would anyone (other than for politcal gain ie Jean Cretin) want to provide the military a piece of kit that isn't the best that they can get. Especially in todays politcal climate wouldn't the military be the best judge of what it needs?
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Post by EI-EIO »

teacher

I think the point of this discussion is whether compromises seem to be being made and if so whether those compromises are appropriate. If we on this board can question the workings of TC, NAVCAN, GTAA, AC, WJ, CJ, etc. etc. it seems a bit odd to assume DND are above questioning.

Since the tender is going forward no matter what we here say about it good or bad, I sincerely hope DND is in fact getting it right.
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Post by teacher »

I as well.

I just find it funny how for the last few years the complaint was that the military was not getting what it wanted but what is was told to get.
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Post by WJflyer »

1. The CASA, when fitted with the standard CF pallets, leaves almost no room between the pallet and the cabin walls. A man can't even squeeze through because there is little clearance between a pallet and the cabin walls. Those 8 cm make a difference. Since you have been in the C-295, note that the cabin's walls are sloped inwards significantly, which means that the touted max cabin width of 8.86' does not apply through the entire cabin's height, as shown in this diagram, which compares C-295 to the CH-149 Cormorant:
Image
Source: http://www.c-295.ca

C-27J's cabin is significantly wider, as the aircraft provides a max cabin width of 3.33m at the middle, and has a floor width of 2.45m.
Image
Source: http://www.c27j.com

As you can see, the cabin of the C-27J is wide enough for a fully grown man to stand beside the pallet, something the C-295 does not allow.

2. The C-130 is still preferred by the USCG for SARtech jumps because of the larger doors present in the C-130, and the increased distance from the props and the fuselage of the aircraft, which means less turbulence for the jumpers.

3. The C-27J is not the same aircraft as the C-27A that operated in USAF service. The aircraft has updated avionics that are similar to the C-130J, of which we are also planning to buy, the same engine type (allowing engine parts commonality), and the same props. This will reduce maintenance costs as the C-27J shares components with the C-130J. Also, the C-27J is also the leading contender for the US Army Future Cargo Aircraft (FCA) programme, which means that if the purchase goes through, there will be a massive network of spare parts and services right next door with one of the largest militaries in the world.

4. What is being offered by CASA is the non-APU option of the C-295. CASA even touts in their brochures that the aircraft being offered to us does not have a APU as it reduces maintenance costs.

5. The C-27J has a larger cockpit, meaning there is more room in the cockpit for the planned 4 man cockpit so people can have more room.

6. The C-27J is very maneuverable due to its high power-to-weight ratio. Its ability to make tight turns and climb/descend quickly are extremely important in search and rescue and equally important when operating in mountainous terrain. The ability to land and takeoff from small runways and isolated areas with little support makes the C-27J a major asset in SAR operations. The C-27J is also built in such a way that it is a safer platform to jump from as I alluded to earlier. As we both agree, nothing can properly replace the Buffalo in SAR ops. C-27J is the closest match for its ruggedness and performance.

7. It is also hinted that the C-27J will have more than one role in CF service, that of transport. Some other aircraft, such as the Twin Otter is going to be retired without replacement. It is hoped that the winner of the FWSAR project will also replace the Twin Otter in CF service, partially to reduce the number of aircraft types in CF service.

8. That 1960 Fiat is not the same aircraft that we see in the C-27J. The aircraft is a performer, and she has lots of power, and capabilities. I checked it out already myself while I was at Farnborough 2006. The C-27J has good speed, large interior, and has plenty of features that will make operating the aircraft easier for us.
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Post by RLP »

You are promoting an unproven developmental aircraft that evolved from an unpopular design, upgraded with orphan technology - through millions of dollars in upgrades, the C-130J has significantly departed the original avionics design - the new cockpit will not even resemble the Spartan. Further, when you start talking about SAR gear being accessed from the side of a cargo pallet, I have to believe that you have never been working in the back of an aircraft in turbulence. When that is followed by your statement that you want to put 4 people in the cockpit of a SAR aircraft, any remaining credibility in military aviation is gone. No point in my carrying on this discussion any longer.

As far as Farnborough is concerned, airshows are fun, but airshow performance is not indicator of operational performance - unless of course you are talking about the Alenia G-222 at RIAT? Have a good day!

http://www.richard-seaman.com/Aircraft/ ... index.html
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Post by EI-EIO »

WJF

two questions if you have the answers:

1. It seems to me that Lockheed Martin is distancing themselves from the C-27J, not least because they put up the short C-130 in the FCA competition. Do you feel this is true and if so does this have implications for the programme.

2. Does CF use its own pallets or is there a NATO standard size?

(oh - thought of one more. You say there are "hints" of an additional role of the FWSAR. Would you agree that that is pretty stupid since it materially affects the need but is not being reflected in the published requirement?)

thanks
MarkD
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Last edited by EI-EIO on Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by gryphon »

Regarding the 4 person crew in SAR cockpit....it is how the current C130 operates (pilots, nav, FE). Possibly this is where the number comes from. Are they all needed.....we'll leave that to our own opinions!! No clue how the FWSAR replacement will be crewed, but, there is a certain powerful group who didn't get on to the C17 who will put up a hell of a fight I'm sure!
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Post by WJflyer »

1. That 'unproven' developmental aircraft is the leading contender for the US Army FCA project, which replaces the C-23 Sherpa in US Army service. The Sherpa is a military version of the Shorts 330 regional airliner.

2. There are still many parts that are now shared between the Herc and the Spartan, such as engine components, and the fact that both have virtually the same cabin cross section means that load plans and techniques for the C-130 can be applied to the Spartan.

3. The clearance between the pallet and cabin walls allows for personnel to move throughout the cabin when a pallet is loaded, this is a key advantage the Spartan offers.

4. CF crewing of the C-130 is 5 personnel, two pilots, a navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster, although the navigator is not required for minimal operation of the C-130. I am aware of issues with the two person cockpit of the C-130J, which apparently in RAF service is causing problems with crew overload, as the loadmaster frequently has to be in the cockpit to take some of the load off the pilots, such as operating the radios and navigating.

EI-EIO:
1. Lockmart distanced themselves in my opinion from the C-27J because they felt that they weren't benefiting from the marketing of the C-27J as a complement to the C-130J, as the partnership with Alenia had expired. Furthermore, Lockheed missed the whole point with marketing the C-130J in the FCA programme, as the whole programme is about replacing a smaller airplane and substituting the Herc for smaller missions, and that got them disqualified from the project (aircraft too big).

2. NATO standard size, and that exact pallet is the 463L Master pallet. Its dimensions are 88"W, 108"L, and 2 1/2"H.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... pallet.htm
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