Role of armed helicopters in army operations

debjani
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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby debjani » 28 Apr 2003 06:56

I tend to agree that the tactics used was wrong. Conceptwise, the Apache and its role should not be faulted without greater details being made available.

I think I read on the BRF on some link or the other that of the 33 Apaches launched for the ops, 30 were hit and one was brought down!

bhavani
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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby bhavani » 28 Apr 2003 21:48

Originally posted by Vick:
FWIW, the sight of Mi-35s and Mi-17s armed with gazillions of rockets is not impressive in the least. What would be more impressive (and effective) is if the Mi-35 was armed with 16-20 Nags/Konkurs/Milans and the Mi-17 armed with 24 of the same with each helo having IRST, FLIR, and TV camera along with active IR jammers. Mercifully, they were at least equipped with exhaust dissipators. I am not even talking about MMW based weaps but just the plain old IR and TV based missiles.

Seeing those gargantuan helos armed with only rocket pods made me think of the Chinese Su-27s armed with rocket pods: I.e. gross under-utilization of assets.
I agree with you vick at this point. till now i did not see a single pic of our Mi-24 or Mi-17 armed with Spandrel or Ataka or any other anti-tank missile. i have not even seen any shoulder launched anti-tank missiles (except the carl gustaf) ISrael is producing a lot of good air-launched anti-tank missile. it would be nice if we integrate these missiles with our Mi-24 and Mi-17.

Yes it is right that too talk about about Apache being a failure is too early, but too talk that Apache to be a performer against odds is also premature as it has not proved itself agnaist any formidable resistance. It has not played on a level playing ground.
Mi-24 is not a attack chopper but infact it is a assault and troop support chopper. Ka-50 has the ability to perform in high altitude kargil.
Su-32 is not going to replace Su-25TM as it too large and too costly for this role. Su-32 is designed to perform the roles of both Su-24 and Tu-22. Su-25 is receiving an upgrade.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Anindya » 28 Apr 2003 23:23

Ka-50 has the ability to perform in high altitude kargil.

I thought we did not have any Ka-50s - has this changed?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Nandai » 28 Apr 2003 23:31

Nope, he is just stating that the Ka-50 can perform at those altitudes.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby AJames » 01 May 2003 19:51

The high altitude capability requirements of Kashmir is pretty tough to meet even for unarmoured helicopters. Few unarmoured helicopters have the capability. That is why the ALH had difficulty in meeting the payload requirements and also Mi17s were used in Kargil as helicopter gunships. I doubt if the Ka50 would be able to meet the requirements, although it may be OK for use on other theaters.

What is required for Kashmir is something more like the US Comanche - a lightly armoured and up-engined version of the ALH (maybe with 3 engines so one engine failure will give 2/3 power instead of 1/2). It should rely on low-radar cross section, low-noise and IR stealth for protection like the Comanche.

Maybe the Ka50 should also procured for the Rajastan/Bangladesh theaters.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Vick » 01 May 2003 19:58

For most Kashmir ops, wouldn't Nishant/Hunter/Heron armed with Nags be a better option? During hostilities, they can loiter and pick off targets of opportunity.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby AJames » 01 May 2003 20:12

An armed unjammable UAV would be nice and I certainly think India should be focusing on UAV technology, but with current technology you still need a human to make decisions and react quickly, although UAVs can help. For anti-insurgency operations and operations in rugged terrain, there is nothing better than an armed helicopter.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby shiv » 01 May 2003 20:57

Originally posted by bhavani:
[ Ka-50 has the ability to perform in high altitude kargil..
Unless the Ka 50 is tested in combat at these altitudes there is no guarantee that they will work, and to my knowledge they have not been tested.

A google search for Ka 50 shows that the SERVICE CEILING is 5500 meters, that is 18000+ feet - still lower than some of the 19000 foot peaks.

Even at lower altitudes the maneuverability will be slugggish because of thin air and near the service ceiling the helo will be at the limits of its performance.

The Ka 50 IMO is no sure fire solution for a Kargil type scenario although it is an agile flying tank. I could find no link suggesting that the helo can fly with a full load of munitions and fight near its service ceiling. Typically, manufaturers and sellers will swear that it will work. The user will be left to find out all the faults.

I have with me a 30 minute promotional video of the Mi 35. If you see it you will think athat the solutions to all your problems lies there.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby rrnsss1711 » 01 May 2003 22:00

I would love to see that video .....is it available for the public?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby bhavani » 02 May 2003 05:29

I think in a situation like kashmir we can not say that a particular chopper can operate succesfully until it does performance in real conditions as the conditions in kashmir are too demanding.
service ceiling of all top attack choppers are
Ka-50-5500m
MI-28-5800m
Mi-24-4500m
Apache-6500m
Cobra-4500
Commanche-6000m
AJames : Till now there is no operational 3 engined attack chopper. commanche, apache, ka-50 are all 2 engined.
Attack choppers are supposed to Stay around the battle field and provide fire support for long times but the maximum flight times of all present attack choppers is quite limited.
these are maximum flight endurances(operational flight endurances are much smaller)-
Ka-50-4 hours
Mi-28-2 hours
Ah-64-3 hours
RAH-66-5 hours
how will a limited fleet of choppers(keeping in view such limited in air time which with weapons is about one and half to 2 hours) provide battle support over a huge Area like entire western sector. Then chopper sorties will have to priortised. HOw many attack helos we need to support entire Western sector and in kashmir.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby shiv » 02 May 2003 07:17

Originally posted by bhavani:
HOw many attack helos we need to <u>support entire Western sector</u> and in kashmir.
Please list the individual functions of helicopters in "supporting the entire western sector"

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby AJames » 02 May 2003 17:26

think in a situation like kashmir we can not say that a particular chopper can operate succesfully until it does performance in real conditions as the conditions in kashmir are too demanding.
Helicopters are the most important weapon in Kashmir. They are the key to winning or losing a war in Kashmir. Without helicopters operations along Siachen would be impossible and supply routes in Kashmir would be easily cut. While few foreign helicopters are capable of suitable high altitude performance, India does have it's own purpose designed helicopters that do perform in high altitude conditions in Kashmir - the ALH and the llama. The Mi17 also performs well with much reduced payload. Kashmir has special requirements which don't occur elsewhere, and so will probably require a specially designed or adapted armed helicopter.

service ceiling of all top attack choppers are
Ka-50-5500m
MI-28-5800m
Mi-24-4500m
Apache-6500m
Cobra-4500
Commanche-6000m
What is the weapons payload, range, endurance and performance at the specified ceiling? Usually these are specified at sea level, and the payload, range, endurance and performance is virtually nil at the specified ceiling. I believe the 6000m ceiling specified for the ALH is the operational ceiling with an operational payload and other requirements specified by the IA. Heavilly armoured attack helicopters perform much worse than unarmoured helicopters for the obvious reason that armour adds weight.

AJames : Till now there is no operational 3 engined attack chopper. commanche, apache, ka-50 are all 2 engined.
Just because others are two engined it is not necessary to blindly copy them. Kashmir has special requirements for high altitude operation not found anywhere else in the world. The main way of getting over loss of performance at high altitude is to increase power. Kashmir operations also have the requirenent that the helicopter should be able to return home with a single engine failure - the single engined llama gets around this by only operating in pairs so that if one suffers engine failure, the crew can be rescued by other. This makes the performance requirements of helicopters capable of operating individually even more difficult. A good way of meeting this is to use 3 engines instead of two. This allows common engines to be used as the standard ALH and in case of single engine failure, you have 2/3 of full power instead of 1/2. The Eurocopter EH101 (replacement for Sea King naval helicopters) uses 3 engines to meet stringent single engine failure requirements. Redesigning the ALH gearbox to take 3 engines and derating them at low altitude to reduce wear and tear would give 50% higher power and keep a high degree of commonality.

Attack choppers are supposed to Stay around the battle field and provide fire support for long times but the maximum flight times of all present attack choppers is quite limited.
these are maximum flight endurances(operational flight endurances are much smaller)-
Ka-50-4 hours
Mi-28-2 hours
Ah-64-3 hours
RAH-66-5 hours
how will a limited fleet of choppers(keeping in view such limited in air time which with weapons is about one and half to 2 hours) provide battle support over a huge Area like entire western sector. Then chopper sorties will have to priortised.
I don't think this is how most people use attack helicopters. Helicopters sit on the ground at a forward base waiting to be called out or to be given a sortie, carry it out and return to base. They don't need to spend a huge amount of time in the air simply circling around for the simple reason that they can land and take off vertically and so, unlike fixed wing aircraft, they can be based very close to the front and can respond very quickly. In any case 3 hours endurance is quite a lot - 450 miles range, and because it is based close to or at the front, this is better than most fixed wing aircraft which will be based at forward airfields 200 miles so behind, and will be forced to loiter over the area waiting to be called in because they can't land and wait at bases close to the front line. It is possible to use mid-air refuelling for helicopters from tankers. It is certainly worth fitting removable probes doing this on the ALH and bigger helicopters. This will allow quick deployment and make long range deployment possible including to places like the Andamans, Maldives, and is useful for deep penetration commando raids to take bridges, islands or mountain passes in Kashmir, Assam or anywhere else.

HOw many attack helos we need to support entire Western sector and in kashmir.
You haven't answered my previous question - how many troops, logistics vehicles, would it take to do what a helicopter can do without helicopters in a mountainous terrain like Kashmir? You would thousands to take, hold and man every pass and supply line to be in a position to interdict insurgents in an area. One attack helicopter can give you the same capability. In the Rajastan context, how many tanks, troops, vehicles, mechanised artillery pieces, mine clearance sappers, bridge layers etc. does it take to destroy an ammunition dump or carry out a commando raid to destroy a key bridge or capture a not too heavily defended key mountain pass 50 miles behind the front line without using helicopters? Hundreds or thousands perhaps?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby bhavani » 03 May 2003 21:56

The ceilings i have given are all maximum service ceiling. the operational ceilings with full armament load are generally much smaller. weapon payload is generally minimum.

"Just because others are two engined it is not necessary to blindly copy them. Kashmir has special requirements for high altitude operation not found anywhere else in the world. The main way of getting over loss of performance at high altitude is to increase power. Kashmir operations also have the requirenent that the helicopter should be able to return home with a single engine failure - the single engined llama gets around this by only operating in pairs so that if one suffers engine failure, the crew can be rescued by other. This makes the performance requirements of helicopters capable of operating individually even more difficult. A good way of meeting this is to use 3 engines instead of two. This allows common engines to be used as the standard ALH and in case of single engine failure, you have 2/3 of full power instead of 1/2. The Eurocopter EH101 (replacement for Sea King naval helicopters) uses 3 engines to meet stringent single engine failure requirements. Redesigning the ALH gearbox to take 3 engines and derating them at low altitude to reduce wear and tear would give 50% higher power and keep a high degree of commonality".

A 3 engined chopper may suit better than 2 engined one for high altitude operations. But ALH from the word go was designed around 2 engines. A heli like EH-101 is much bigger than ALH and was intially designed around 3 engines. MAx take off weight of ALH is around 5500kg whereas for EH-101 is around 15000Kg. if we add a third engine to ALH and modify its gearbox. dont you think we will have redesign it completely as it is a big change. Even the gearbox change you hav mentioned can be quite complex.

Now Regarding the low flight times of Attack choppers. Majorty of attack choppers have an operational Endurance of 1 or 2 hours only. the endurance i gave was maximum flight endurances. After every hour of flight they have a maintanance time of upto 3 hours. One of the design specification of commanche was to lower this maintanance time to much lower levels. In case of a full scale war between India and TSP our Attack Helis will be generally called in for ground support in supporting our three strike corps in an offensive. that is how i visualize an indian offensive. They will have to perform anti-tank, general ground support. just like artillery, but as artillery moves much slower attack-helis will be called in for support in sweeping offensive operations in Rajasthan. I think this is going to be the biggest battle ground of our attack heli fleet.obviously they will also be used in various other operations like support in operations in kashmir, and other support operations.I serously doubt if our attack helis will be given a role in stopping a paki offensive. since Our mud movers like Mig-27 and Jaguars will be much more effective in providing air support in stopping a paki offensive. i was just curious if our present fleet of 40 Mi-35 will be enough to support such operations.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby AJames » 03 May 2003 22:24

Attack helicopters should not be used as mud movers, but for anti-insurgency operations, to provide close supporting fire for commando operations, and it makes an effective anti-tank or precision air to ground weapon for instances where it is not going to come up against a lot of ground fire - in other words in a defensive or a low intensity engagement or to hit convoys/lines of communication rather than on the main battlefront. It is a useful additional weapon rather a replacement for fixed wing aircraft. It is particularly useful in the Kashmir scenario.

Re. 3 engines, three engines are unusual even for heavy helicopters. Most have two. That said, the requirements for high altitude operations in Kashmir is well in excess of the requirements for any other helicopter, and redesigning the ALH gearbox for three engines and putting one on each side and one behind should be straightforward.

As far as service ceiling is concerned, it would be interesting to know what the quoted service ceiling on the same basis for the Mi24 is. By all accounts, the Mi24 was overweight and a real pig to handle in Afganistan. This is no doubt why Mi17 with rocket pods were used in Kargil.


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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Sanjay » 29 May 2003 19:25

Guys, you do notice that in the BR Aero India galleries there are a few pics of Mi-35s with AT-6 Shturm launchers ?

In theory the Mi-35 can carry up to 12.

The basic Mi-8/-17 cannot carry ATGMs but certain versions were equipped to carry AT-2s.

The new Mi-17-1Vs that we got can carry up to 16 Vikhr-M.

Moreover, it wouldn't surprise me if the Vikhr was adapted to the Mi-35 at some point or the Rafael Spike and Nag - better yet all three.

The Konkurs/ Faggot cannot be fired from helos because of their enormous backblast. The Iraqis considered it during the Iran-Iraq war and had to drop the idea.

Milan is too short ranged and why would we want to replace the AT-6 with them ? Better to upgrade the AT-6.

What should be asked is why the Chetaks still carry those ageing SS-11B1 missiles ?

The army has dumped them and better weapons are available so why still use them ?

Does anybody know what weapons the Mi-4s and Chetaks used during the 1965 COIN ops in Kashmir ?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby daulat » 29 May 2003 20:35

in the 60's the C-119(?) Packets were uprated with a strap on jet for hot and high performance. I know that its a little impractical to strap a jet on helo, but perhaps there are some strap on turbo-prop (which is what a helo is) aids that can be used to augment high altitude power...?

(yes, it will reduce payload, but on the other hand might make the helo less vulnerable?)

i wonder if there has been any research done in this area?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Rudra » 29 May 2003 20:40

I vaguely recall some jet powered big helo US
built that could keep up with a 747. or was it
a hijack film only?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Nandai » 29 May 2003 21:03

Rudra, you dont mean Airwolf, do you :D

<img src="http://www.tvtome.com/images/shows/2/2/19-1332-sm.jpg" alt="" />

http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/ShowMainServlet/showid-2219/

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby abrahavt » 01 Jun 2003 01:23

Why doesn't India uses helicopters mounted with heat and motion sensors like the US law enforcement folks do? The militants hiding in rough terrain and forests in Kashmir can be spotted by their IR signature and they can be attacked or commandos can be be zeroed in to their location.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby member_201 » 01 Jun 2003 01:26

The HAL Lancer is a step in that direction. Future upgrades could include heat & motion sensors. This COIN chopper is just a start.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Rudra » 01 Jun 2003 10:32

my avid TLC channel watching indicates the British police helos use the thermal cameras a lot to guide officers pursing suspects on foot across woods and housing.

havent seen it used in US videos. thats because the suspect is rammed or shot or dog-mauled at first opportunity (!)

Nandai , you sure came up with a scary dawg here.
my vision was more modest to say the least. A
mach 1 helo with 30 firepower options including
nuke tipped missiles ..whew. my thing was Blue Thunder helo - a apache lookalike, film had a good help chase and fight among tall buildings.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Calvin » 02 Jun 2003 06:53

thermal imaging is used extensively in the US. The case of the escaped convicts from Huntsville, TX was one in which thermal imaging received some publicity

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Sanjay » 02 Jun 2003 19:16

Pawan Hans has 2 Helos equipped with such thermal systems. Bell types IIRC.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Rudra » 02 Jun 2003 19:19

are they used for marine SAR for ONGC/OIL ?

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby ptraj » 13 Jun 2003 00:08

Apache Down in Iraq

This Apache was apparently brought down by a RPG round. Kinda' makes you wonder whether this birds are all they're talked up to be.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Ajay K » 13 Jun 2003 11:51

First blood for the RPGs. Think the real battle is yet to begin.

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Re: Role of armed helicopters in army operations

Postby Neshant » 13 Jun 2003 16:52

In a documentary, i've seen soviet hind choppers just explode when hit by stingers in afg. They are literally blown out of the sky with only the rotors left spinning in the air. Stingers carry a pretty small warhead.

So obviously an RPG which can knock out light tanks must pack quite a bang.


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