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Paul Jackson- The A 400 is a better plane

The point being, as I understand it, that the CP-140s have had a number of systems grafted onto them over the years so that it has become difficult for the technicians to work on them efficiently. 

If the IL-76 were acquired would they have Russian engines or would they be re-engined?  In either case maintaining them would be no picnic.  Would they soldier on with the Russian controls and comms or would they need to be refitted for Western Avionics?  Would the new wiring fit in the existing runs?  Would hydraulic valves and solenoids be available?  If not do you have to fit something else into the space designed for a very different original component?

Those are the apples that I was comparing - not the aircraft, not even the nature of the problems, just the fact that the work load of the guys maintaining the aircraft would be a right mess.  How would you train them? Are there manuals available? Simulators?  How easy is it for someone who has "grown up" working on Western kit to learn to work with foreign kit?

Personal experience:  Working with processing equipment in the 80s and 90s.  I learned on American PLCs - logic was ladder logic, left to right, left side hot.  Europeans were supplying kit that was either using boolean algebra or else Reverse Polish Notation.  No fun at all trying to work with north American trades trying to figure out how these black boxes were wired in and how they were to work with locally acquired components because the components supplied from Europe were not readily available and cost 5 times what the local variant cost.

I can't begin to imagine being responsible for keeping that type of fleet in the air.

I agree with you on the difficulties of the IL-76 idea. I dont mean to digress on the topic of this thread but before you drag the CP-140 into this you should make sure it is relevant.

Yes the aurora has had new systems grafted onto it over the last few years.But the newer systems dont require the reverse-engineering of parts and components. The only difficulty encountered is the lack of familiariry with maintaining the new systems. Its no different than us operators having to learn a new system when we were proficient with the older ones. The older systems are the problem, the FLIR met is demise as the parts are no longer manufactured and the KA-107A camera will eventualy suffer the same fate as parts are no longer manufactured.

Maybe you should come and fly with us to get a better understanding of the aurora fleet ......would beat misguided comments based on nil experience.


Point taken - bad analogy.

Extracting foot.

While everyone is very quick to poo the IL-76, remember it is like going to honest Ed's aircraft emporium. You might like the models with the shiney brochures and flashy computer animations, but the only thing sitting on the showroom floor is the IL 76.

Even buying six to eight flying examples gives us a bit of breathing room until either the Americans can slot us into their production runs, or the A-400 becomes actual hardwear. The IL-76 was designed for rough field use and care and maintainence by a mostly conscript ground crew, so it seems rugged enough for what we need, and if a bunch of conscripts with a very low "give a f**k" factor can keep these things going, then our own professional ground crews should certainly be able to as well.

As to re engining, re wiring etc., someone needs to sit down and do the cost/benefit analysis of which route to take.

Russian air forces ground technicians are not conscripts.  they work in auxiliary positions supporting the work of pilots and technicians. The are generaly employed in maintaing vehicules and equipment, fueling duties and rudementary tasks assisting technicians.  few of them actualy get to touch the airplanes themselves.

A better example might be the sweedish air force ?
Re: the IL-76.

I remember the trouble VIH had in getting airworthiness certification for the Helix helicopters they imported in the 90s.  It took YEARS to obtain and caused VIH to have to redesign and re-build several key systems to the satisfaction of Transport Canada.  It worked out for them in the end, but it wasn't easy or quick.

My point is:  Like it or not, all of us in Canada (including the Military) must conform to and abide by the Aeronautics Act wrt airworthiness.  I admit to having no direct experience with the IL-76, but I rather doubt that a Russian transport, designed in the 60s and built in the 70s-90s would easily meet the tests of the Act in 2005.  I have watched relatively straight-forward airworthiness issues on the Sea King get bogged down for years. The Il-76 would not be simple, especially if you started to muck with engines and avionics. I doubt we could get the IL-76 in service in Canada in less than half a decade, even with half the AERE officer's in Canada working full time on it.

Here's another thought -  groans heard in the distance.

Availability of C-17 seems reasonably high.  Lease in the short term. (Old idea - not mine)
C130/A400 debate is a valid one - especially if C130 lead times are long and A400 is desparate enough to give us early production spots.  The A400 could be good.  Dunno.
C27/C295 - both of these aircraft are flying - both are available - both lines are likely to be busy - both are relatively cheap at about 25 MUSD.  Why not lease or buy  2 or 3 of each and try them out for a year then buy more of the best option.  I know about training and maintaining - but would it be any worse than the prospect of running out of air lift?

As noted earlier - if the C130Hs (12 to 13 of them?) were relieved of some duties by the C-17 and of others by the C27/C295 then perhaps they could be spun out to hold on for another 2 or 3 years, long enough for the A400/C130J competition to occur?
The idea of using smaller airlifters to guard Herc hours has a lot of merit, although the choice of available mid-size tactical airlifters will be somewhat limited - you could probably get CASA 235 or 295 on short notice (relatively speaking, ie, within a year) but the C27J is backed up significantly on its production line - besides the factory demo model, there have only been two delivered world-wide and the assembly line is running behind.  The Hellenic Air Force is not getting theirs in the time promised, and there does not seem to be an ability at Alenia to get through the hurdles of certification anywhere except in Italy and Greece.  This could be a major issue for us, as certification can drag for years.  That said, most other militaries do use a smaller aircraft for tactical airlift, even the US is currently engaged in a competition for just such an aircraft.  Something like a CASA 295 could be the answer to the tactical airlift problems currently facing the CF, and if it were to potentially lead to sales of the A400, EADS would probably be very cooperative.

Here's a Wikipedia article on the C-17 casting a light on the issue comparable to your commment:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-17_Globemaster_III said:
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resultant tsunamis placed a strain on the global strategic airlifter pool. The impressive performance of the C-17 in USAF and RAF service have persuaded Germany to consider acquiring 2-4 C-17s for the Luftwaffe in a dry lease arrangement, at least until the A400M is available in 2009. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated in the German news magazine Der Spiegel that the government needed its own organic strategic transport capability to be able to respond to disasters in a better manner than it was able to for this incident. During the tsunami relief effort, Germany tried to acquire transport through its usual method of wet leasing Antonov airlifters via private companies, but found to its dismay that there were no available aircraft. While the stated goal of a C-17 lease would be to last until the A400M's arrival, it is always possible that the Luftwaffe may undergo an experience similar to that of the RAF, and elect to retain them.

It seems Canada would do good by looking what others do. And it seems Canada has been lucky too. Note that Minister Joschka Fischer is from the Green Party, not really a right-winger.