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Is the U.S. Army wasting money on it's attack helicopters?

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posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 03:17 PM
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Despite all you've heard about the AH-64D Longbow Apache, how it's so advanced and the ultimate combat helicopter in the world, the reality is far from it.

I was speaking to an OH-58 Kiowa pilot who was once involved in the Longbow project and he says the AH-64A Apache is the better deal. For one thing, the AH-64D's advanced avionics and more of it just makes it heavier and far less manueverable than the AH-64A. Also, it's systems, while incredibly useful, are not necessary. The Kiowas and even the Apaches themselves can provide good command and scouting capability.

He also said the same about the RAH-66 Comanche. As superb of a helicopter it is, it's stealth capability seriously limits the number of weapons it can carry. the AH-64A can carry up to 16 Hellfire missiles alone. In order to maintain stealth, the Comanche must carry weapons internally, meaning this is an added workload of having to open the weapons bay every time in combat. In addition, it can only carry six Hellfires as opposed to the Apache's 16. The Comanche can carry a total of 14 Hellfires, but this means additional weapons racks have to be added to the helicopter and this pretty much takes away stealth capability. And what's with that FANTAIL technology? That same Army helicopter pilot told me that the ability to turn a helicopter horizontally with perfection is as useful as having ejection seats in a helicopter.

Despite all it's advanced technology, the fact it carries so few weapons is a huge price to pay. With that, my consensus is that the Longbow and Comanche are basically money-consuming projects that have advantages that can only be utilized by losing a lot in exchange. I think our fleet of AH-1S Super Cobras, AH-64A Apaches, and the rest of our Kiowas and other helicopters can do the job better than any in history.

What do you think?



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 03:23 PM
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Absolutely the Army is wasting its money on this type of technology.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 03:25 PM
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Forgive my lack of knowlege about military helicopters and the change of subject slightly, but they do seem awfully easy to shoot down, regardless of which one they are and what weapons they carry.

If you would favor me a few moments of your time, might I ask this of you: Don't modern helicopters have any anti-missile systems like a modern fighter plane does? Would this be useless on a helicopter? Why are so many helicopters being lost in Iraq, are they just sitting ducks at low altitudes?

Thanks in advance for any answer to this, it's been on my mind for a while and probably seems like the strupidest question possible.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 03:48 PM
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sweatmonicaIdo,
Would this not also encompass any nation working on advanced attack helicopter designs, etc. or we just directing this at just the US military?

WIth the advancements being continually made to MANPADS, etc., it almost seems that helicopters and aircraft are going the way of dinosaurs wouldn't they?



regards
seekerof



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 04:31 PM
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Zzub your signature....that aint a picture of you, or is it



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 04:39 PM
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Originally posted by vorazechul
Zzub your signature....that aint a picture of you, or is it


He he, no, it's a picture I put together in Photoshop. It's not me at all.

Or is it?.....

(no, it isn't)



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 04:55 PM
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Originally posted by Zzub
Forgive my lack of knowlege about military helicopters and the change of subject slightly, but they do seem awfully easy to shoot down, regardless of which one they are and what weapons they carry.

If you would favor me a few moments of your time, might I ask this of you: Don't modern helicopters have any anti-missile systems like a modern fighter plane does? Would this be useless on a helicopter? Why are so many helicopters being lost in Iraq, are they just sitting ducks at low altitudes?

Thanks in advance for any answer to this, it's been on my mind for a while and probably seems like the strupidest question possible.


Actually, your question is not stupid (no such thing as stupid question). What you ask is something of major concern and constantly debated: are helicopters more of a liability than an advantage?

For one thing, a helicopter is not supposed to be fast. Speed is essential, yes, but high speeds make it impossible to use a helicopter properly. Even so, their slow speeds are a weakness. Because they fly so low to the ground, their ability to counter even small-arms fire is actually zip. A fighter plane flying low will never get hit by small-arms fire because it's so fast. But a helicopter will and there have been hundreds of instances where helicopters have been downed by small arms fire.

Anti-missile systems are in fact used on helicopters. They have chaff, flares, and EW systems. I can't remember if they have jamming capability, though. So this is not the reason for them being so vulnerable.

The point being, helicopters are vulnerable because they are helicopters. They fly low and slower, making them easier targets. By flying lower, they're also closer to the threat, meaning they have less time to respond to a SAM, unlike a fighter which has almost as long as five minutes before a SAM hits it. It has nothing to do with it's defense systems. Another thing is that since they're helicopters, their rotors do not create the best aerodynamic situation.

Hope that answered your question.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 05:00 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
sweatmonicaIdo,
Would this not also encompass any nation working on advanced attack helicopter designs, etc. or we just directing this at just the US military?

WIth the advancements being continually made to MANPADS, etc., it almost seems that helicopters and aircraft are going the way of dinosaurs wouldn't they?



regards
seekerof


Actually, I am kind of excluding other nations, because the U.S. has always had the best military helicopter force ever. The Soviet Union was great, but they had limits and only minutes before the fall of the Soviet Union did they start creating advanced helicopters. And now they can't even maintain them so helicopters are almost non-existent. Other nations simply aren't as developed in this field nor do they use helicopters to the scale we use them.

I think aircraft aren't going the way of dinosaurs. With stealth capability, SAMs are useless. But helicopters, perhaps. They are just far too vulnerable, as useful as they may be. The army has to determine whether or not they can live without the helicopter. And the way things are right now, the asnwer is no. Helicopters are a supreme transport and offer some dirty air support.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 05:04 PM
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sweatmonicaIdo, thank you for the reply. It's pretty much what I had guessed, they are vunerable by nature. I can't see how anything could ever replace a helicopter, though.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by Zzub
sweatmonicaIdo, thank you for the reply. It's pretty much what I had guessed, they are vunerable by nature. I can't see how anything could ever replace a helicopter, though.


Actually, something can. If somehow they discover anti-gravity technology, it could be far greater than a helicopter.

But as far as we know, anti-gravity is pretty much non-existent. The helicopter is a useful machine and here to stay.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 05:40 PM
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It seems like every day I'm hearing another Blackhawk down story on the news. Are these helos really fault prone or is it pilot error? I don't see how so many of these are crashing all the time.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 05:53 PM
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Originally posted by fingerprint
It seems like every day I'm hearing another Blackhawk down story on the news. Are these helos really fault prone or is it pilot error? I don't see how so many of these are crashing all the time.


Helicopters are really that vulnerable, yes. Even an ace helicopter pilot cannot turn out of the flight envelope of even something as "weak" as an RPG.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 06:05 PM
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They're not called "Crash Hawks" for nothing! (Though TC is gonna rip me a new one for that, hehe....
)

Actually, seems there are some things coming down the pipe (VTOL craft), that will make most choppers obsolete....

I'd love to hear TC's answer to this thread though, as this is really his area of expertise if I remember correctly...



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 06:45 PM
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The fan tail is there to stop the air from the main and tail rotors colliding and creating the slap sound you hear.

It also protects the tail rotor from foreign object damage, in a sense.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 06:52 PM
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Battle wounds all over their mechanical bodies...but they forever prevail..they'll never become obsolete. They can go where no plane can, they can silence and hover. Some choppers have been around for so many years with little upgrades and fine tunings and they still remain top of the line..amazing



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 07:16 PM
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Gaz, I mentally backhand you , pimp-style, and call you Suzie! They have not been referred to as "Crashhawks" in years. We won't talk about the first few years in service, though, if its all the same to you.

Sweat, newsflash for you: Pilots continuosly poormouth the rides of other jockeys.
The Longbow is definately not a waste of money and is an important part of the intergrated battlefield system. Certainly the additional avionics make the helicopter heavier, the 701c engines are capable enough for the task.

I can imagine a Kiowa pilot wishing the gunslinger not have Longbow; it probably makes him feel inadequate and redundant.

Yes, some rotorwing do have countermeasures, such as flare and chaff, and also have radar warning, such as the APR-39. Can they evade heatseeking missiles by handling alone? The pilots wish!

Will the helicopter become a thing of the past? Not all of them, but the longterm future is shadowy enough that even Sikorsky aircraft is putting their R&D geeks to the task of inventing teh next generation of VTOL machines. Meanwhile, the Army and Navy both are overhauling their existing 60's to give them many more years of life.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 07:43 PM
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Originally posted by Thomas Crowne
Sweat, newsflash for you: Pilots continuosly poormouth the rides of other jockeys.
The Longbow is definately not a waste of money and is an important part of the intergrated battlefield system. Certainly the additional avionics make the helicopter heavier, the 701c engines are capable enough for the task.


Thomas Crowne, newsflash for you: Good try, but the Kiowa pilot I am referring to flew Apaches in West Germany and Korea for six years before transferring to the Kiowa. This is not a case of a "superiority complex." He knows what he is talking about because he flew them. Believe it, he thinks the Longbow is a great craft, so for one thing he isn't even poormouthing it, he is simply pointing out that you lose more for the advantages.

Really poor effort to even use the "my craft is better than you arguement." I mean, why would someone who flew Apaches and even worked on the Longbow project down at Fort Rucker badmouth it just out of badmouthing it? If he knows about it, he badmouths it for a good reason.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
They're not called "Crash Hawks" for nothing! (Though TC is gonna rip me a new one for that, hehe....
)

Actually, seems there are some things coming down the pipe (VTOL craft), that will make most choppers obsolete....

I'd love to hear TC's answer to this thread though, as this is really his area of expertise if I remember correctly...


So far TC has only used the "my craft is better than yours" excuse, which doesn't work too well.



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 07:57 PM
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New Zealand still flys Vietnam war era helicopters from what I read



Originally posted by magestica
Battle wounds all over their mechanical bodies...but they forever prevail..they'll never become obsolete. They can go where no plane can, they can silence and hover. Some choppers have been around for so many years with little upgrades and fine tunings and they still remain top of the line..amazing



posted on Nov, 12 2003 @ 08:09 PM
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Well, come on down to Ft. Rucker and speak to some experts. You can stay at my house, I'm only 10 minutes from post.
I'd tried to get my engineer wife to come and type a bit, but as she is baking a cake right now, she says she has no time for my "silly little board".

You say he is flying the what, now? Why would he now throw rocks at something else? You really don't understand the mentality, do you?

You've spoken to how many of these guys? Really, him, huh? I'm sorry, but the gunslingers around here don't really share is lack of lust for the Longbow, and I've really never known anyone to be enthusiastic about the -58. I mean, never.

A couple more things to point out to you, the Longbow, like the Apache, is not a dogfighter aircraft. It is not necessary that they have extreme maneuverability. They destroy mobile and stationary ground targets, usually from a distance. The added avionics does not interfere with its mission. Plain and simple. The Longbow radar enhances its mission capablity, therefore it is not a waste.

The Commanche, on the other hand, has been a challenge for the guys, as the customer kept adding more and more to the package, really pushing both the airframe and the powerplant. It'll be interesting to see what the jocks say; does it flow through the landscape as silently as a Commanche on recon, or does it lumber like the Commanches 8 3/4 month pregnant squaw?




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