Does Labour think RNZAF should stick with analog planes?

January 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour has hit out at a Defence Force decision to ditch its New Zealand training aircraft manufacturer and risk jobs by handing a $154 million contract to a United States competitor.

The Government on Monday announced it had selected Beechcraft to provide a new fleet of 11 high-performance training aircraft and simulators.

The T-6C single-engine turboprop aircraft would replace the New Zealand-built Pacific Aerospace CT-4E Airtrainers and the twin-engined turboprop Beechcraft King Air B200s.

The CT-4Es were due to reach the end of their service life in 2018 and the King Air B200s’ lease also expired that year.

But Labour’s defence spokesman said the Government should save taxpayer money and Kiwi jobs by sticking with Hamilton-based Pacific Aerospace, which supplies and maintains the current single engine CT-4E.

As it happens I was talking to a former person about this yesterday and the answer is very simple.

The RNZAF wants the new planes to be digital rather than analog. All their other new planes are digital, and I don’t think anyone would argue that in 2014 one should be buying analog planes.

Sadly for Pacific Aerospace, they have to date only built analog planes. They have no experience or track record with digital planes.

So even putting aside what the respective costs may have been with Pacific Aerospace, the reality was the planes they have experience in making are not what are needed anymore.

And even if you get past any issues of price and experience, you then have the problems of parts if you go with the NZ company. Even if they could produce digital planes for RNZAF, it would be the only digital planes they have. This means they would not have the same capacity for spare parts and maintenance as another company that has produced hundreds of digital planes for other customers. So RNZAF decided the risks are too great to go Pacific Aerospace.

Note that this info doesn’t come from anyone political, but a former RNZAF officer.

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66 Responses to “Does Labour think RNZAF should stick with analog planes?”

  1. rouppe (945 comments) says:

    What is a digital plane?

    I would have thought that relates only to the avionics and control systems. You don’t have a digital airframe, or a digital engine. So the question then becomes, can Pacific Aerospace supply NZ built planes with the required performance characteristics, and necessary avionics?

    If no, then the correct decision has been made. If yes….

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  2. Yogibear (350 comments) says:

    Labour should be banned from discussing any defence force procurement and value for money. They were in power when:
    – The Canterbury was commissioned and steadfastly refused to work properly for a number of years.
    – The 727 plane the airforce bought whose probability of breakdown was driectly related to the status of VIPs on board
    – The army bought Pinzgauers which couldn’t be deployed in Afhganistan because the gearboxes kept dropping out
    – Bought wheeled Light Armoured Vehicles to replace our APC’s, despite the fact that most of the Pacific Theater where they would be more likely deployed (Bouganville, Solomans etc) were more suited to tracked vehicles
    – Progressively failed to find a buyer for the Skyhawks and probably would have cost the country less money if they’d just chopped them up or gifted them to museums.
    -Dragged their feet on NZ US relations which meant the NZDF couldn’t access 128 bit encryption technology, which meant our radios allowed us to talk to the Chinese and the Russians, but not the yanks and the aussies
    -Untested Eurocopters vs proven Blackhawks.

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  3. RF (1,346 comments) says:

    Goofs track record with buying lemons for our defence Dept is piss poor. The useless prick should keep his trap shut.

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  4. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    Wikipedia states that the CT-4F uses the same ‘digital’ cockpit that the Beechcraft T-6B uses.

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  5. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    @rouppe, suggested reading: http://www.sita.aero/content/the-digital-aircraft-heralding-a-new-generation-aircraft-operations

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  6. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    A round of golf ….. sold!.

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  7. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    I agree with all that, apart from this:

    “Note that this info doesn’t come from anyone political, but a former RNZAF officer.”

    i find that naive-
    Mans a political animal

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  8. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    The RNZAF wants the new planes to be digital rather than analog. All their other new planes are digital, and I don’t think anyone would argue that in 2014 one should be buying analog planes.

    Fair enough… after all you never know when the pilot of a trainer might need to fly alongside one of the 757s and share some audio files via bluetooth…?!??

    I also head that if you’re digital, the old fashioned analog heat-seeking missiles do zero damage even if they hit you…

    On a more serious note, I would have thought the RNZAF aerobatics team have probably had enough by now of flying aircraft so small and gutless, that they are out-gunned by that team of privately owned Harvards that always turns up (not to mention half of the cars in the carpark?)

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  9. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    labrator>Wikipedia states that the CT-4F uses the same ‘digital’ cockpit that the Beechcraft T-6B uses.

    They’ve manufactured one, presumably as a prototype rather than a fully debugged mature aircraft. In which case instead of buying a few examples of an aircraft that is in use by the thousand all over the world, you’d end up with the only examples of the aircraft anywhere. That’s expensive because the cost of debugging the aircraft and making it service-ready are paid entirely by NZ. It’s also risky, and there are ongoing support costs.

    The Texan has been designed as part of a training “system” of which the aircraft is only a small part. There are simulators, all sorts of training aids, and lots of training documentation. That is expensive to develop too. The US have worked out how to optimise the aircraft to train pilots efficiently and we’ll benefit from their experience, rather than having to roll our own.

    Some photos of the Texan model that NZ have purchased show what looks like a FLIR underneath the fuselage. Does anyone know if NZ are getting these attack-style options, or just a basic trainer than can drop some dummy weapons if needed?

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  10. brucehoult (195 comments) says:

    The T-6C is a lovely aircraft, but it’s not at all comparable to the Airtrainer. It’s more a suitable replacement for the Strikemaster/Aeromacchi role. The USAF uses Cessna 172s (and DG1000 gliders) for the basic training the Airtrainers are used for.

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  11. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Good point Labrator. I think DPF has being not being thorough by taking an unbalanced approach by trusting as “impartial” his companion

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  12. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Yogibear.

    You forgot reducing the number of frigates from 4 to 2, which has resulted in the Greens demanding a frigate be sent to monitor japanese whaling, when none are available, also the cancelling of the F16 deal which would have provided 28 planes at a cost of 130 million over 10 years.

    At the same time Labour bagged the National Government for purchasing 10 helicopters for the NZ Navy at a cost of $130 million, while their 8 unproven Eurocopters are costing $800 million.

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  13. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    rouppe …. and control systems … that is the issue. If operational planes couple the cockpit controls to the things being controlled via electronics and servo devices, then RNZAF will want the trainers to be the same. Otherwise is is learning to drive a modern car by taking lessons in a Model T Ford (no disrespect intended to Ford Motors).

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  14. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Davidp
    What do you mean by debugg?
    These aircraft have being around for ages, do you really think that adding some digital components is really going to change their whole performance and put them out of required operating parameters when the company would be doing/have done a thorough testing of them anyhow?
    Surely that would all be straightened out by the company before the airforce took delivery of them.
    I like training ourselves not getting handme down seminars from the US. In WW2 different training lead to different countries doing differentspecialist sorties

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  15. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Davidp
    Are you sure its just a manufactured “one”, not two three four etc?

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  16. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    “do you think that adding some digitial components is really going to change their whole performance?-” it changes the entire electronics on board

    “Surely that would all be straightened out by the company before the airforce took delivery of them”- good luck with that.

    Davidp’s summation was very good. Its more about the whole package than just the plane

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  17. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d take the Texan over the CT-4 but lets at least be genuine about the reasons.

    CT-4: Never exceed speed: 387 km/h (209 knots, 240 mph), Range: 963 km
    T-6A:Never exceed speed: 586 km/h (316 kn; 364 mph), Range: 1,667 km

    The Texan is a beast, the CT-4 is a trainer.

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  18. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Martinh.

    A Digital, or “Fly By Wire” system is quite different from an old analog system for aircraft control. Firstly by weight. Fly By Wire systems reduce weight, giving aircraft different characteristics. Also, do you really want a pilot trained in an analog aircraft, having to deal with a control problem in a digital one?

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  19. dime (9,668 comments) says:

    Pacific Aerospace – formed in 2006 and owned by a bunch of RICH PRICKS.

    Formerly under a different name, went bust after receiving govt cash? From Labour.

    Now Labour want to keep giving them contracts even though it doesnt make sense.

    Is that crony capitalism?

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  20. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red
    Yes it changes the whole entire electronics, Thats being done with car/outboard/planes for years so why not give this crowd a chance to show they can do it?
    The Orion has had it done successfully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As the NZ company says why do we need these new jet fighter type trainers when we dont have any jet fighters anymore?

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  21. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    Less Pilot work load too, especially the navigation systems. They are a lot safer to fly.

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  22. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Slightly Rightly
    But it seems PA are moving to digital
    I think that DPFs “apolitical” informant has failed to inform DPF of that

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  23. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    Slightly Righty
    Those F16s were a bloody bargain. I still hate Clark for canning that. The Aussies have long range refuelling tankers and AWACs and the F16 was ideal for close protection escort which would have freed up the Aussies to spend more dosh on new strike/attack fighters but now they have to do all that themselves- a big ask and a major budget problem. They have put off getting F35s for awhile and instead are upgrading the F/A 18 super hornets.
    We really could have moved more towards a more cooperative structure which would have meant budget savings and more bang for your buck for all but not any more

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  24. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    “As the NZ company says why do we need these new jet fighter type trainers when we dont have any jet fighters anymore/”

    We have jet transport planes(757). Pilots also transit to our helicopter fleet, all of which is digital.(Im going to start charging you soon for these questions>)

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  25. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    yeah i would of liked those f16s, glad we didnt go for the RAAF F111

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  26. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    The Orion has had it done successfully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And how much did that cost in overruns? It was massive (to be fair the wing upgrade was an issue too)- also the architecture was developed first and we just installed it. That’s very different from being a pioneer.
    The Aussies tried to be pioneers by digitalising their Kaman Seasprites. What a massive fuck up. It ran tens of millions over budget and they still didn’t get it right.

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  27. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red
    757 They arent jet fighters. My mate learnt on a prop and is flying jets now.
    If PA is going digital then changing to digital in the helicopter wont be any problem.
    Anyhow everyone gets trained and goes through a training process whenever they switch aircraft including instrument panel.
    These trainers are just for the basics
    Im going to charge you for soon too, and itl be more hefty for correcting your answers

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  28. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red,

    That cost was for a 4 engined offshore aircraft, not a single engine trainer which by my guesstimate isnt needing Orion antisubmarine upgrades

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  29. metcalph (1,410 comments) says:

    What we really should be doing is developing drone warfare capabilities. It will enable us to watch our oceans more effectively as well as frighten the Greenies.

    For a few extra dollars, we could even program them to sing “The Humans are Dead”…

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  30. Kimble (4,415 comments) says:

    How about those NZ built TVs?

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  31. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red by the way the two RNZAF can just borrow two commercial pilots when they want each of those two crates flown. WHy buy trainers just for them? They are on the deck most of their life.
    Saying we need jet aeroplane trainers to train helicopter pilots who have jet assisted helicopters is disingenious

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  32. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    Martin- never be a pioneer in aircraft and their systems. History is littered with expensive fuck ups and embarrassed governments
    Agree about the drones but a Global Hawk is roughly USD $35 mio ! so not cheap

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  33. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    we need jet aeroplane trainers to train helicopter pilots who have jet assisted flights is disingenuous

    No its not. Turbine theory and practical experience in turbines is needed for both .
    Look I have over 2000 hours in both fixed wing and turbine helicopters. You are being very very simplistic and extremely naïve.( no offence intended)

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  34. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red-
    Yes i know about fuk ups, but this PA aircraft is having that digital upgrade, not paid for or managed by the govt.
    Which takes me back to my initial point why not have their digital upgrade thoroughly tested to see if it suffices?

    None of this jet issue was mentioned by DPF as a problem.

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  35. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red
    No offence taken, i went to an all boys college, i expect it!

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  36. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    Ha so did I

    Its far cheaper to give someone turbine experience in a trainer than letting them loose for the first time in a 757 or Augusta Mako/NH90 and building up experience that way. Its about turbines not “jet” btw. Most of our fleet is turbine powered. (ah I love the smell of JetA1 and every time that turbine winds up I get shivers up my spine!)
    Commonality brings economy.

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  37. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red
    With all those hours you have done im just wondering how before GPS did you calculate true ground speed when you wouldnt know the speed of the air up in the sky you were in at the time? (assume you are over sea so cant plot a chart) You may charge for this question

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  38. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    martinh>What do you mean by debugg? These aircraft have being around for ages, do you really think that adding some digital components is really going to change their whole performance and put them out of required operating parameters when the company would be doing/have done a thorough testing of them anyhow?

    I mean there is a difference between a single (figure from Wikipedia) prototype aircraft that is produced as a proof of concept. And one that has all its problems found and fixed, with all the tests conducted, documentation completed, and certifications in place. Typically making an aircraft production ready involves thousands of hours of test flights, and maybe ten or more prototype aircraft. Some of the aircraft will be very specific in their use… such as ones that are tested to destruction so that fatigue is well known. Or that are used in freezing or scorching conditions, to ensure the aircraft doesn’t develop a fault if it flies over the Southern Alps or sent to Australia.

    Digitising the aircraft is a significant change. The old aircraft had the control stick and the control surfaces connected via mechanical rods. Now days, the controls interact with a computer and software instructs the control surfaces to move. Student pilots need to understand this stuff and be skilled using it. Which is why the RNZAF needed to buy some digital helicopter trainers to match their digital transport helicopters.

    The manufacturer will do most of the required development, testing, and certification. But they’re going to charge someone to do it. If you buy the Texan then those fixed costs are spread across thousands of aircraft, and the US has paid most of the cost. If you buy NZ then the fixed costs are spread over about ten aircraft, we pay 100 percent, and the risk is all on us.

    And if you do manage to pull this off, you still have a low-performance aircraft, a NZ-unique aircraft that you need to support for the next thirty years, and don’t benefit from the training system that already exists for the Texan.

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  39. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    Your speed is measured by a Pitot Tube http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitot_tube
    You have ground speed and true airspeed

    You need to allow for wind drift. Longer flights you had to add Coriolis effect to account for too. (like Auckland- Hong Kong)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_effect
    We had a device for doing the calcs but cant remember the name off the top of my head- I still have it though. A compass of course as well and a map on your lap….
    I have never flown internationally though.

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  40. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    My mate learnt on a prop and is flying jets now

    Turbines power props as well as jets. As I said its all about turbine not jets. I learnt to fly in an PA Airtourer 115 (amongst others)so am familiar with the CT4 airframe. Very fun plane too. Good for aerobatics
    I could convert to jets pretty quickly as I have turbine experience (go to Miami and do a Cessna Citation course) but I am over the flying now. You have to practice ALL the time to keep current and safe. Its expensive and takes up a lot of time. I have a dabble from time to time in friends machines

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  41. rouppe (945 comments) says:

    All on red

    As someone who dislikes Labour… And someone who’s career goal was RNZAF (too tall so rejected) I was OK with canning the strike wing. They never fired a shot in anger (except once at an illegal fishing boat, and got into big trouble for doing that) and everything the RNZAF has done in the last 25 years would not make use of an F16. I take your point about combining with Aussie and freeing up their close support budget though…

    However I’m amazed that they never beefed up the attack capability of the remaining aircraft. I’ve always thought it should be easy to develop a roll-on roll-off module that turns a Hercules from a transport plane to a gunship, and the Orion was originally a seek-and-destroy aircraft, but we only use the seek part.

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  42. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    All on Red
    I just dont get how you can get true groundspeed-
    As imagine you a going in the same direction as a 150kph tail wind,
    You a going 100kph relative to the 150kph wind band/air mass you are in, so your pitot tube tells you that you are doing 100kph but if you are over water or in cloud with no ground reference points you would only know you are going 100kph relative to the current airmass,
    i dont know how you could work out you were actually getting a 150kph boost from behind and doing actually 250kph actual ground speed. As you couldnt stop in mid air and measure the aircurrents speed.
    So working out the groundspeed without observable ground points would be impossible i would have thought.
    That still puzzles me

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  43. thePeoplesFlag (222 comments) says:

    “…which would have provided 28 planes at a cost of 130 million over 10 years….”

    *sigh* there really is nothing the right likes more than a zombie fact.

    Our military is tiny and we have no politically influential military industrial complex. New Zealanders largely like it that way and have zero appetite for military spending. The money is limited, and hard choices had to be made.

    In addition to your “$130 million over ten years” these jets would have cost between a third and a half of the annual defence budget to keep running to an operationally ready level (this is how much the Skyhawks, a significantly smaller and cheaper jet to run, were costing). And what were we getting anyway? We were getting Block 15 F-16A fighters, which were slightly improved version of the original model introduced in 1978 (36 years ago) that were out of date and had already spent the better part of a decade sitting in the desert. That is why they were such a bargain – the USAF didn’t know what to do with such an old design that had been destined as a low tech export version for Pakistan (Pakistan has ordered a total of 111 F-16A/B aircraft. Of these, 71 were embargoed by the US due to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Of these 71, 28 were actually built but were flown directly to the AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB for storage. These were the 28 aircraft offered to NZ).

    So, for an annual cost of say $6.5 billion ($500 million a year since 2001) the taxpayer would have forked out just on wages and gas for the instant avionic antique F-16s (lets not even think about what avionic and weapons updates would have cost us over the last decade) when and where, exactly, do you think they could have been used? There has been no military confrontation we’ve been involved in since Korea where plenty of more advanced USAF or NATO jets have not been readily available. Our ancient F-16s would have been seen not as an asset but as a liability.

    By contrast, the army – which the Clark government prioritised after the shambles of our Bosnian deployment – has been deployed to Timor and seen much action in Afghanistan. The decision to prioritise the army after years and years of (National government) neglect was absolutely the right one. I am sorry you don’t get to have a militaristic hard-on at the sight of jet fighters, but that is life.

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  44. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    roll-on roll-off module that turns a Hercules from a transport plane to a gunship
    Ah the AC spectre Gunship- now youre talking!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AC-130

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  45. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Davidp
    I wonder then if the $100m price gap includes the PA planes being digital or not.
    I wonder if fly by wire stops you learning properly how the control surfaces actually feel under different operating conditions.
    I suppose digital must have some feedback to the controls rudder, yoke .

    The Peoples flag-
    well increase defence force spending then and do the upgrades, last i saw the taliabanannas didnt have fighter jets

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  46. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    I just dont get how you can get true groundspeed

    http://www.ardmore.co.nz/

    Must go.

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  47. thePeoplesFlag (222 comments) says:

    Oh and P.S. if you are going to criticise weapons purchases like the LAV, Pinzgauer and the NH-90 then the people who you are really criticising are the tin-pot generals and air marshals of our military. New Zealand government ministers usually have zero military knowledge and so they rely heavily on the expertise of the military for recommendations for new equipment. Our military tradition and most effective combat fighting forces have always been citizen militias, not the regular army who have a long tradition of being numpties with delusions of cold war grandeur.

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  48. KevinH (1,160 comments) says:

    The best option has always been to lease jets from Australia.

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  49. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    “I just dont get how you can get true groundspeed”

    Just for you Martin
    http://www.pooleys.com/prod_detail.cfm?product_id=121

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  50. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    martinh (678 comments) says:
    January 29th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    …but if you are over water or in cloud with no ground reference points you would only know you are going 100kph relative to the current airmass…

    If you are in cloud you should be under IFR and if VFR over water more than 30min from shore you should have appropriate navigation equipment to follow a flight plan. Therefore whatever navigation equipment you have it must, at a minimum, tell you where you are. So take your position, then take it again 60 sec later and you can see how far you’ve travelled over the surface in one minute. Using a navigation computer you can then infer the wind velocity knowing your indicated airspeed, heading and drift.

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  51. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    Here’s a funny ground speed story for you all.

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  52. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Labrator- that was a good read thanks
    All on Red, i think i better get a plane first
    Weihana how do you take your position if you are in clouds back in WW2 over the north sea with no stars avaiable?
    Watching docos the navigators seemed to cross coasts at the corrects place even in cloud cover, with cloud only affecting the bombing run.
    Maybe they didnt know their position well in cloud above sea and my assumption on their accuracy is incorrect?

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  53. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    martinh (679 comments) says:
    January 29th, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Weihana how do you take your position if you are in clouds back in WW2 over the north sea with no stars avaiable?

    Good question :) Found a couple interesting posts on this forum re carriers in the Pacific.

    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/21346-carrier-aircraft-navigation-how-did-they-do-it/

    Seems like they relied on either basic dead reckoning or a homing beacon.

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  54. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    You got me looking to martinh, found the E6B flight calculator which talks about dead reckoning as per Weihana’s comment. You’ve got to remember that a lot of bombing runs got called off due to bad weather even when they knew they were more or less there and there’s plenty of stories of those who got hopelessly lost.

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  55. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    martinH>how do you take your position if you are in clouds back in WW2 over the north sea with no stars avaiable?

    I’m no expert, but weren’t they RDFing radio beacons or something?

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  56. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Goff is the mongrel that scrapped our Skyhawks in his quest to appease pacifists that infest Labour. He told the country he had sold them, but being of a left-wing persuasion, we are still awaiting arrival of the cheque. Goff is a pathetic lying goose, and would not go astray in UN with the other deadbeats and weirdos we have exported at great cost to our taxpayers.

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  57. SJM (71 comments) says:

    thePeoplesFlag (69 comments) says:
    Our military tradition and most effective combat fighting forces have always been citizen militias, not the regular army who have a long tradition of being numpties with delusions of cold war grandeur.

    Ok, ill bite, as no one else is. Our “citizens militia”, which only had potential when we had conscription in peacetime, only ever became effective when they were trained up to professional ‘regular’ standards. This was in the pre nuclear weapons world, where long wars between the major powers were common, and such a model was viable. This is no longer the case.

    As for your comments regarding the F-16′s and the budget, and general prepardness of the armed forces. You didnt mention the rampant and idiotic budget cuts under national and labour which made certain choices on capabilities ineviatable. If the armed forces were a shambles its because our glorious leaders wanted a broad range of capabilities, but didnt want to pay for it, and the result was a shambles.

    If there is fault with the armed forces, the blame sits with all of the political parties, and the people who vote for them. The forces command can only follow orders from our elected buffoons, they do not set policy.

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  58. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embraer_EMB_314_Super_Tucano

    Embraer 314 sounds like a better beast, if you want a turboprop trainer with some real firepower and the ability to fuck shit up…?

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  59. SJM (71 comments) says:

    Yogibear (182 comments) says:

    January 29th, 2014 at 12:18 pm
    – The army bought Pinzgauers which couldn’t be deployed in Afhganistan because the gearboxes kept dropping out
    – Bought wheeled Light Armoured Vehicles to replace our APC’s, despite the fact that most of the Pacific Theater where they would be more likely deployed (Bouganville, Solomans etc) were more suited to tracked vehicles

    ************************

    The Pinzgauers were not deployed because they are a death trap when something blows up under them, the British found that out the hard way with them.

    The LAV3′s make sense when you look at the intended useage, and the context which they were designed for. Wheels can do things that tracks cannot with a significantly reduced logistics footprint. Of course tracked vehicles can do things wheeled vehicles cannot as well, which is why an effective army needs both.
    NZ was in the unfortunate position where it could not have both, so chose wheels because certain sections of the army felt that, based on recent experiance and perceived future needs*, a wheeled vehicle would be used more.

    The LAV3 is a good vehicle that will do most things our army requires, but I have always felt that there is a body of opinion in the media and on blogs that fails to grasp that the armed forces are a system, and the LAV3 is only part of that.

    If the system is not working, its mainly because of policy and financial failings by governments and has little to do with individual platforms.

    *When I say future needs, I refer you to the Clark governments view of the world at that time.

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  60. OneTrack (2,823 comments) says:

    When Labour form the next government, they will nationalise Pacific Aerospace and start up KiwiPlane.

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  61. OneTrack (2,823 comments) says:

    SJM – “lavs”

    Why did we buy so many of them? Where are we meant to use them? And how do we get them there now that a propellor has fallen off the Cook Strait ferry.

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  62. Viking2 (11,282 comments) says:

    I imagine that there are still quite a few LAV’s sitting in the new sheds that were built for them at Linton. Still with their wrappers intact. didn’t we buy 110 of the things.

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  63. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    Thanks Weihana, All on Red, Davidp, Labrator.
    Those were all very good articles to read.
    I was fascinated to hear they sometimes had to fly close to the waves in WW2 to judge where they were going (seeing the directions of the waves meant they knew what direction the wind was blowing) or alternatively having a plane down at wave level doing that while the rest kept a bit safer flying high up above.
    They also used something called a drift meter to do this.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drift_meter

    I suppose direction was all the more important than actual ground speed as sooner or later they would get to target or base with the correct direction flown by knowing the wind drift on their course.

    Amazing how primitive the homing beacon was that the carrier pilots used but also so complicated that many pilots could not understand it and got lost and then lost at sea..

    Ps Midway is on Youtube, the whole film

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  64. SJM (71 comments) says:

    OneTrack (1,548 comments) says:
    January 29th, 2014 at 6:03 pm
    SJM – “lavs”

    Why did we buy so many of them? Where are we meant to use them? And how do we get them there now that a propellor has fallen off the Cook Strait ferry

    ***************************************

    We got so many because we need attrition reserves. That is to say, if some break down, or are destroyed by enemy action, we can replace them. If we cannot replace unavailable vehicles, a unit cannot do its job effectively.

    The army will use LAVs where it feels it is appropriate to use them

    We send LAVs to locations on HMNZS Canturbury or borrowed air transport like C17′s or leased Russian heavy lifters…so long as there is no serious opposition to them getting there.

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  65. jp_1983 (200 comments) says:

    If you listened to Phill Goof’s questions in the house yesterday.
    Dr Coleman summed everything up.

    The US tender fulfilled all the requirements of the RFP by the RNZAF and was audited three times.

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  66. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Compulsory Military Service

    Some Good Nukes

    and a High Tech Weapons industry on NZ soil is what we need

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