Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Canadian Military Doesn't Support The Troops?

The most practical way to support the troops in Afghanistan, give them all the tools available to best protect. If there is a threat identified, and the military requires additional help, there should be no hesitation in terms of "hardware". The recent rise of the IED, as tactical choice of Taliban, has revealed a dangerous reliance on ground supply operations. The argument, Canada needs helicopters to lessen the risk to soldiers, who are forced to travel dangerous routes because there is no alternative.

I was reading an article, wherein a Liberal Senator is demanding that the military send over Griffon helicopters:
The head of the Senate's defence committee is calling on the government and the military to immediately send Griffon helicopters to Afghanistan as part of an effort to cut down on casualties.

Liberal Senator Colin Kenny says the use of the choppers as resupply transports would reduce the time troops spend operating ground-supply convoys that are highly vulnerable to insurgent attacks and IEDs - improvised explosive devices.

Fair enough, there seems to be some debate over the Griffon's effectiveness, but then you read this tidbit:
The Canadian American Strategic Review, a defence-oriented Internet site operated out of Simon Fraser University, points out that until July 2006 the U.S. Marines flew convoy escort duties from Kandahar airfield in Huey helicopters. Those choppers are similar to the Griffons but less powerful, the site adds. It also questioned why the marines can operate such choppers when the Canadian Forces considers the local conditions in Kandahar too extreme for the Griffons.

The Canadian American Strategic Review also suggests that the reason the Griffons are not being sent is because the Canadian Forces fear that deploying helicopters to Kandahar would take the pressure off politicians to approve future equipment purchases.

What an amazing conclusion, and if true, a complete betrayal of the troops. Equipment is being held back, for fear that the use will prevent the purchase of more modernized equipment? If the Griffon proves itself relevant, then it gives the impression that Canada doesn't need the new Chinook helicopters. In other words, the soldiers wellbeing is nothing more than a pawn, in an elaborate game of maximizing leverage. People could die, because the Canadian Forces braintrust doesn't want the Griffon in the field, undercutting their poor cousin arguments. If the above is actually part of the thought process in the upper echelons of the military, then "support the troops" doesn't quite amount to the absolute we are constantly sold. "Support the modernization of the military" seems to be the real catch phrase.


Anonymous said...

Steve you want to know
who doesn't support the military the troops look
no further then the Liberals just read this! article
if your a honest person
you would blame the Liberals read please
thank you!!

Anonymous said...

ah dude...

As a fixed wing pilot, I think you should know that for some fundemental reasons, the griffons are useless in-ccountry. The short version is that the Griffons are not large enough to carry a useful load in Afghanistan's High elevation environment.

Truthfully the large blackhawks are just managing the high altitude, heavy load situation... and the chinooks (tossed during the Mulroney years) would be an even better choice.

For those want ing to reseach the full situation, look up how "density altitude" can affect the carrying capacity of an aircraft)

Steve V said...

ah captain...

Does it not say in the article that the Americans have used a comparable helicopter, the Huey? You're also babbling on about theoretical options, but there is only one alternative at the moment, which means we should consider it. You fail to acknowledge the political angle, which is my concern.

tdwebste said...

Why does it take 3yrs to deliver the CH-47 Chinook? Was the production line shut down? Or not started yet? In either case why are we NOT buying heavy lift helicopters in production? And than by 16 CH-47 in addition later.

Three years is long time to wait. I am sure we can find lots of uses for the extra heavy lift helicopters? We got the C17 heavy transport quickly, but truthfully I think we need heavy lift helicopters far more.

Blame the Liberals, but they also had plans to purchase before the Conservatives were elected. I blame the Liberals for not making the purchase sooner, but I also blame the Conservatives for purchasing something that can't be delivered for 3yrs.

Mark Dowling said...

Tim - there is a worldwide titanium crunch which is holding up CH-47s. Canada is also not the only customer.

If Mulroney hadn't sold the Chinooks to the Dutch and Chretien hadn't cancelled the Merlins we'd probably be in good shape now. We are also waiting for the CH-148s to be delivered. There was also a proposal to send refitted SKs - what happened to that?

There's a huge difference between convoy escort and resupply - Griffons won't protect from IEDs so what are we gaining unless we send the refitted SKs?

tdwebste said...

Pretty much all aircraft engines use a fair bit of titanium. So the expense and shortage of titanium is not the primary reason I believe.

taken from

won't be ready until 2012 due to a titanium shortage and an assembly line backlog

I think part of the problem was the thinking that the CH-47 was going to be replaced. Kind of like dumping our SK before they are replaced, because someday they will be replaced.

I head about the SK proposal to refit, but ... do we have available SK to refit? Is this refit a re-manufacture? And there are other much newer heavy lift helicopters than the old SK to choose from. Is there a world wide shortage of all types of heavy lift helicopters? Something to tie us over until the CH-47 arrive.

Anonymous said...

Boeing also manufactures the V22 which was toted as a CH-47 replacement. The V22 is not a CH-47 replacement and never was. This is now very clear to Boeing, but .... As a tilt rotor the V22 had to make many aerodynamic compromises which limit its high altitude vertical heavy lift ability. I remember the Boeing sales rep I talked to last year was less than pleased when I went into detail about aerodynamic concerns about the V22.

The V22 is a long distance flier not a heavy lifter.

vertical lift payload.
CH-46E 10,000lbs
CH-46F 16,000lbs
V-22 9,000lbs
CH-53E 32,000lbs

tdwebste said...

Big oops in the last message, that should be CH-47, NOT CH-46