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CH-148 Cyclone Progress

Infanteer

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Excuse me for not retracing 31 pages of commentary, but are issues with the ASW pieces of the platform, or with its actual flight systems?  Do we have a good helicopter with teething problems in its ASW role?
 

Edward Campbell

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h3tacco said:
Your sympathies are appreciated but a lot of the issues are similar to the Block III Aurora. Fully capable is often tossed around when it should read fully contract compliant. There will be a lot of growing pains but there will be a lot of capability sooner.


Thank you for that reminder; and good luck with the new aircraft.
 

PuckChaser

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As long as the Cyclones don't randomly choose their own landing spots, it's gotta be a one up on the Seakings.
 

Eye In The Sky

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h3tacco said:
Your sympathies are appreciated but a lot of the issues are similar to the Block III Aurora. Fully capable is often tossed around when it should read fully contract compliant. There will be a lot of growing pains but there will be a lot of capability sooner.

Ah, seen.  B3 had its challenges, like any undertaking like that would have. 

I was briefed on the system and sensor capabilities once when I was in YAW, if all goes well it will be one sweet MH. 

Looking forward to the first time we get to work with you guys with your shiny new toy.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Best answered by an MH type, but knowing what I know from briefings/cross-training with MH folks, it will be an increase in capabilities.

Ya.  That is safe to say.  8)
 

h3tacco

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Infanteer said:
Excuse me for not retracing 31 pages of commentary, but are issues with the ASW pieces of the platform, or with its actual flight systems?  Do we have a good helicopter with teething problems in its ASW role?

The mission system gets a bad rap for being the cause of all the delays. It certainly has its share of issues but it does share a lot of commonality with the Aurora which from the limited amount I know is performing well on Op Impact. The ASW side is probably the strongest part of mission system.

Jammer said:
The airframe is great....mission package...not so much

The basic vehicle still has some work to be done. The CH148 had to evolve a lot from the S-92 to meet our requirements. This has been a driving factor for delays and also means comparatively the aircraft is less mature than a S-92. There is a lot of capability on the CH148 over and above the S-92.
 

h3tacco

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MCG said:
A step forward from the Sea King at least?

By and large the mission system on the Cyclone is a generational leap ahead of the Sea King. There are a couple capabilities recently added to the Sea King that the Cyclone will lack. The main ones are really a result of the requirements being locked since 2004 and 10 years of operations happening in the meantime. However, they should be relatively easy to add from a a technical stand point and will bepartially addressed in the Block 2 aircraft.
 

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I am curious to see how the sensor operators will be employed on this aircraft.  From everything I have read, it is a huge technological leap forward, especially with the addition of passive acoustics.

I've heard the saying "we will do everything you do on the Aurora, but we will do it with one operator", too much recently.  One can't be balls deep into passive acoustic tracking, then step out to update the radar plot, or analyze an ESM hit.  It's going to be an exciting time for the MH community when these choppers finally come online.
 

TB

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They're going to find out they need 2 AESOPs onboard or share sensors with the TACCO.

My 2 cents. 
 

h3tacco

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TB said:
They're going to find out they need 2 AESOPs onboard or share sensors with the TACCO.

My 2 cents. 

Dolphin_Hunter said:
I am curious to see how the sensor operators will be employed on this aircraft.  From everything I have read, it is a huge technological leap forward, especially with the addition of passive acoustics.

I've heard the saying "we will do everything you do on the Aurora, but we will do it with one operator", too much recently.  One can't be balls deep into passive acoustic tracking, then step out to update the radar plot, or analyze an ESM hit.  It's going to be an exciting time for the MH community when these choppers finally come online.

These are both really great points/questions. There is still a lot of work to be done to nail done specific crew duties but there will definitely need to be sharing of sensor duties not just between the SENSO and TACCO but also the non-flying pilot (Pilot Monitoring). I know exactly what you are saying when people say "we will do everything you do on the Aurora, but we will do it with one operator" some people also claim the MH will be do everything a Aurora can do with 4 crew vice 10+ but that is just not going to happen. Other than the range, speed, and payload a main advantage the Aurora has over the Cyclone is the larger crew. The larger crew means you can spend more time per sensor. The advantage the MH has is that it is organic to ship and has a dipping sonar. Even though the sensor fit on the Cyclone is similar to Aurora there is really no way it can directly replace the Aurora.

My involvement in the aircraft does not really deal with these questions (I am on the developmental flight test side) but here are my thoughts: (take them with a grain of salt)

1. On the Sea King there is already some sensor sharing. The radar is shared between the TACCO and AES Op with the TACCO being the primary radar operator while in the sonar hovar (dip) and the AES Op generally everywhere else.

2. The Cyclone's primary ASW sensor is the SONAR, while we have very good acoustic processor helicopters do not have the range or sonobuoy payload to take full advantage of sonobouy employment. We will use them just not to the same extent that an Aurora will. During SONAR operations, the SENSO (AES Op) is fully occupied operating the SONAR. Which means the TACCO will need to take over the Radar, ESM etc. The radar plot, tac plot and link plot are very interconnected so it is not a huge leap to group these together. Also the sensor horizon from a 80 ft hover is limited so you are not looking at a huge area. As we transit between dips the SENSO then can get back in the dry-sensor game at altitude. The range of the new sonar means transits between dips will be much greater than currently on the Sea King.

3. The pilots are going to be involved much more in tactical picture and sensor operation. During heavy workload, the pilots will most likely be the primary EO/IR operator and will probably also help out with some TACCO duties. 

4. MH are much more likely to work in pairs than a LRPA. Doctrinally, the full-up Canadian Task Group is built around having two MH airborne. This may push into tactics which split the workload between two MH (for example one aircraft working ASW and the other maintaining the the surface picture and sharing via link). 

5. IMHO if we had the space and payload a second dedicated sensor operator would increase the performance of aircraft but there is just  not room. The AES Op will be sensor expert on the crew but everyone else will be trained to operate the sensors to a various degree to share some of the workload.
 

TB

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Very good point h3tacco, one thing to consider also will be the impact of the MESIP on the AESOP trade. That will mean you will have Cpl level AESOPs on crews with less experience. We will see some of the effects on the LRP side were most Sgt won't be flying anymore. The ones who will fly won't touch the sensors but be primarily an information manager for the TACNAV. I hope the MH community sees our mistakes and learn from them.
 

Kirkhill

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TB said:
Very good point h3tacco, one thing to consider also will be the impact of the MESIP on the AESOP trade. That will mean you will have Cpl level AESOPs on crews with less experience. We will see some of the effects on the LRP side were most Sgt won't be flying anymore. The ones who will fly won't touch the sensors but be primarily an information manager for the TACNAV. I hope the MH community sees our mistakes and learn from them.

Curiosity - and possible tangent:  How do you develop experienced Sgts in a trade like AESOP if you don't have inexperienced Cpls flying and getting OJT time?

No agenda on this one.  Just curious.
 

McG

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Develop guys on a bigger aircraft, and employ the developed guys alone on smaller aircraft (ie. Cpl & Sgt on Aurora, MCpl on Cyclone)?
 

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PuckChaser said:
As long as the Cyclones don't randomly choose their own landing spots, it's gotta be a one up on the Seakings.

... and that is based on a perception, not a reality.  Even to this day we are one of the safest MH fleets in the world; we are just scrutinized a lot because of political reasons.

Precautionary landings for us are very high profile, but its not the age of the aircraft that cause them, its the vintage.
 

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Dolphin_Hunter said:
I am curious to see how the sensor operators will be employed on this aircraft.  From everything I have read, it is a huge technological leap forward, especially with the addition of passive acoustics.

I've heard the saying "we will do everything you do on the Aurora, but we will do it with one operator", too much recently.  One can't be balls deep into passive acoustic tracking, then step out to update the radar plot, or analyze an ESM hit.  It's going to be an exciting time for the MH community when these choppers finally come online.

TB said:
They're going to find out they need 2 AESOPs onboard or share sensors with the TACCO.

My 2 cents.

H3Taccos points are correct; however, the quotes above arise from people who don't really understand the MH Conops, SOI, or SOR; indeed people who really don't understand modern Maritime Helicopter Ops.  This includes the vast majority of the RCN, and the RCAF, unfortunately... MH has become an orphaned child in Canada.

It comes from two places: the thought that we invented MH on small ships and are thus still the "experts," and the thought that even with all of the contractual issues we've had we're still going to be the "best" MH in the world.

Whoever is saying that "we will do everything you do on the Aurora, but we will do it with one operator", is wrong.  Full stop. We are going to use that piece of the mission systems that are needed to accomplish the assigned mission.  We can change roles, we can multitask, but we can't do everything at once.  We already know that from our allies, and we have learned it with the latest versions of the Sea King.

What is misunderstood is that MH is not an ISR platform, not a surveillance platform, and certainly not an MPA.  At its heart, it is a reactionary maritime force protection asset.  Using an MH as a long endurance surveillance platform in the presence of an true maritime surveillance platform (like an Aurora, or even more so a Triton) is just a waste of JP-5.

In that reactionary role, you already understand the mission requirements, and you'll use those pieces of the mission kit you need to meet them.

The real problem is readiness; how are we going to keep all the crew ready for all the different types of reactions. The sim will help (hopefully a lot), but it will be a challenge.  That's why a lot of countries use staged crew readiness and have specialty crews.

We are not getting a second AESOP; there is no bunk space and no money.  I would love to see a crew of five, with either a second AESOP or second TACCO, in order to provide a master/apprentice situation for each crew position; not happening.  I could also make a case for changing the ACSO for a second AESOP, but by doing so we lose our independent battle management capability; that capability is the core of our two helo ASW, which in some ways is our bread and butter.
 

Eye In The Sky

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TB said:
Very good point h3tacco, one thing to consider also will be the impact of the MESIP on the AESOP trade. That will mean you will have Cpl level AESOPs on crews with less experience. We will see some of the effects on the LRP side were most Sgt won't be flying anymore.

A few points on this to consider.  Yes, MESIP will see a lot of flying positions reduced to Cpl- MCpl but doesn't necessarily correlate directly to experience. 

Before Direct Entry, everyone was a remuster and OFP was MCpl with either OTU or MOAT complete.  Most AES Ops were promoted MCpl 1 year after Wings, and then Sgt very shortly after EPZ for Sgt, with the working rank being Sgt for the most part.  That Sgt would likly have just upgraded around the same time - call it around 3 years after Wings.

Enter the Direct Entry program and MESIP.  OFP is moved back to QL5 (Wings) after finishing in 'Peg.  With the first BAQC and IAQC complete, both remuster Cpls and new Ptes were put into both MH and LRP. 

Looking at the LRP side and the DE Ptes, they went thru the same rough training timelines as the pre-direct entry OTs did. What did change the most was the MCpl rank became competitive because of MESIP and the need to downrank alot of flying positions to Cpl/Pte.  However the level of experience would be about the same.  If it was lower, that would be more directly linked to YFR reductions IMO.

There were Ptes who upgraded to A Cat before being promoted Cpl; the lack of experience aspect now is more of the "NCO and soft skillset" the DE folks are lacking, as they become A Cats and start becoming MCpls with no real leadership base, experience or training to be a Jr NCO.  Being an A Cat means operator skills are developed, but does little on the jr leader side, where the remusters have a definite advantage and demonstrated ability in most cases I have seen

With MESIP, the remuster operators could end up with just as much, if not more experience as they take longer to progress to Sgt with the downranking process and less promotions to MCpl and Sgt each FY.  It likely won't be uncommon to find A Cat Cpls with 1000+ hours logged on Blk3 crews.

Rank and experience will not be joined at the hips as much as it was pre-direct entry IMO.  :2c:

The ones who will fly won't touch the sensors but be primarily an information manager for the TACNAV.

I have heard a few different plans, one was Sgts would still be on crew, one was MCpl would be highest rank on crew with Sgts in Stds & Trg.  I never heard of the "won't touch sensors" part, which would mean an additional crew slot.  That isn't happening now on our Blk3 crews, and its working fine as we grow into B3.

Curious how that would work though.  I doubt my ability to understand what happens in seats 8 and 9, let alone "manage those folks.  And the same, vice versa.  Lite Brite and Pickup Sticks are 2 different games.

I hope the MH community sees our mistakes and learn from them.

For sure, there is going to be an IM learning curve on the new MH.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Kirkhill said:
Curiosity - and possible tangent:  How do you develop experienced Sgts in a trade like AESOP if you don't have inexperienced Cpls flying and getting OJT time?

No agenda on this one.  Just curious.

Its a bit of a misconception I think.  If you read my previous post, I tried to explain the effect the Direct Entry program, coupled with restructuring the ranks in the trade via MESIP is having.

We basically have to tip our pyramid 180, and alot of former Sgt+ flying positions are being downgraded to Pte-Mcpl rank.
 

Eye In The Sky

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MCG said:
Develop guys on a bigger aircraft, and employ the developed guys alone on smaller aircraft (ie. Cpl & Sgt on Aurora, MCpl on Cyclone)?

That is almost exactly what happened in the Argus-Sea King days, according to our AESOp history lectures in Winnipeg.

Observers, as we were called then, would be trained and fly in the VP (Argus) Sqns first tour.  From that group, some would be selected as potentially good (lone) operators and sent for training and flying second tour to the HS (Sea King) Sqn's.

There's some folks with both airframes in their logbooks, but generally it seems to me most folks stay with 1 or the other and don't move between communities.

I am not the most experienced guy on Sqn (and not an Acoustician), but based on H3s earlier post on sensor management/sharing and how MHs work,  I would think the best guys and gals to move from Aurora to Cyclone would be the wet sensor types, Acousticians.  Again just my  :2c:
 
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