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Helicopters and Helicopter Carriers

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585317.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:55 pm Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:
Not quite. The Mi-24 was their armoured attack helicopter of choice and it was pretty much invulnerable to anything less than a 23mm AAA from the front. The tail, however, was still vulnerable to simple small-arms fire and especially the 14.5mm HMGs used by the Afghans as portable (often truck-mounted) AA.

Yes you are right, but small arms fire only worked at very low levels and didn't have good results. The Hinds had complete control of the field: if this had not been broken the war would have been lost. Stingers pushed them way up, and had them spinning round and dropping flares on the defensive, rather than sitting and shooting whatever they felt like.

200 Soviet aircraft were downed by stingers in 1987 alone, although I don't know how many of these go into your 300 total for the war, and how many were planes. The stinger's was introduced in 85-86, operated through 87 and the the Russian withdrawal began in May '88. Decisive.

I've got a couple of good quotes from journos, one Russian one CIA:

Alexander Prokhanov wrote:
They used to be kings of Afghan and everyone saluted them. But after the Stinger they took to flying very high to keep out of range. They had little value up there, and the ground troops began referring to the pilots as 'cosmonouts'.

[quote= "Milt Bearden"]It became a force multiplier, a juju amulet, a Saint Christopher medallion - you name it. Before, all these guys were waiting around to be martyred. Now they are walking around, heading into dodge city on purpose looking for trouble.[/quote]

So pre stinger the Hinds could sit and control the landscape, afterwards the Afghans controlled it, and all that means. 70% of stingers fired took down the intended airplane.

Sadurian Mike
585318.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:06 pm Reply with quote

There's no doubt that the Stinger was decisive in shifting the balance from offensive to defensive, I was just pointing out that the Hinds, Hips and Harkes didn't have it all their own way even before then.

585492.  Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:58 am Reply with quote

Okay dokes, sounds like we are arguing from the same position once again then!

Sadurian Mike
585568.  Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:19 pm Reply with quote

Looks like it. This will have to stop, so....

Helicopters only work because the sky god is gay and is trying to suppress abortion for black people.

Sadurian Mike
641349.  Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:12 am Reply with quote

The first successful helicopter in terms of employment was the R-4, a development of the VS300, built by Igor Sikorsky.

Sikorsky had experimented with building a working helicopter (the S-1) as early as 1909 (the Wright Brothers' first powered flight was only 1903), and tried again in 1910 with the S-2. In both cases the machine was underpowered; in the case of the S-1 it could not leave the ground and in the case of the S-2 it could leave the ground, but not with a pilot.

After the Russian Revolution, Sikorsky settled in the USA and by 1938 had become the Engineering Manager of the Vought-Sikorsky Division, part of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). In this capacity he developed a practical and successful helicopter, the VS-300.

On 14th September 1939, 11 days after the outbreak of the Second World War, the VS-300 successfully left the ground with a pilot (Sikorsky himself) at the controls. It was still securely tied to the ground at this stage, but it proved that the machine was powerful enough to fly.

The next stage was to fly untethered, which it did in May 1940, and a few months later it beat the previous record for sustained hovering by maintaining altitude for 15 minutes. The VS-300 was never more than a developmental machine but it paved the way for the first helicopter to go into full series production, the Sikorsky R-4 (called the VS-316A in prototype) which entered production in 1944.

Note that, although the R-4 (and VS-300) could be called the first helicopters to find widespread use, there were other helicopters that successfully flew before 1938, notably the D'Ascanio helicopter (1930), the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 (1936), and the Breguet Gyroplane (a true helicopter despite the name, which flew in 1935).

641613.  Sat Nov 28, 2009 9:11 pm Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:

The Stinger just made it all worse,

Did they? I thought the Afghans had put most of them aside for a 'rainy day', they had taken all the training etc that the British and US had supplied but hadn't actually used the stingers given by the US .

Sadurian Mike
641623.  Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:46 am Reply with quote

The CIA bought back a lot of the unused Stingers once the war with the USSR had ended, but there are almost certainly plenty still packed away. Uncofirmed reports say that they were used against US and Allied aircraft in the current conflict, there are certainly reports of SAMs fired but no confirmation as to the type. It would be reasonable to suppose that they were Stingers, however, as these would have been the easiest for the Taliban to acquire. Another possibility is that they were RPGs, or Soviet-designed SAMs, but it is known that there are a substantial number of Stingers still in the country and the Taliban would know full well how to use them.

The Stinger is credited with causing the USSR to change their tactics, forcing the Hinds higher and thus making them far less effective in the ground support role. There were certainly plenty of confirmed kills by Stingers (some reports say 269 aircraft out of 340 firings), but the nature of that whole conflict means that there were certainly both exaggerated claims and unreported kills.

Sadurian Mike
641627.  Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:31 am Reply with quote

Which is wider, a helicopter or a Boeing 747-100 (the original model)?

Unsurprisingly, given that I asked the question, it is a helicopter.

The Soviet Mil V-12 (NATO name "Homer") was never put into production but two successful prototypes were built and flown and it is still the largest helicopter in the world. It was developed in the 1960s and had a maximum takeoff weight of 105 000 kg. In context, the second largest helicopter, the Soviet Mil Mi-26, has a maximum takeoff weight of 56 000 kg.

The V-12 could lift 40 205 kg. Again, to add context, the maximum takeoff weight of the fourth largest helicopter (another Soviet machine, the Mil Mi-10) was 38 000 kg, meaning that the V-12 could have carried a fully laden Mi-10.

Other statistics are:

Length: 37m (Boeing 747-100 length 70.6m)
Width (rotor tip to rotor tip): 67m (747-100 wingspan 59.6m)
Height: 12.5m (747-100 height 19.3m)

Sadurian Mike
641628.  Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:48 am Reply with quote

Why would a Cold War British (or other Western) submarine commander have been worried about hormones?

Klaxon for anything to do with seamen being at sea for long periods or female submariners.

The answer is that "Hormone" was the NATO reporting name for the Soviet Ka-25 anti-submarine helicopter.

NATO reporting names for Eastern Bloc military aircraft (and also missiles) were devised to easily identity new machines with needing to know the correct name. The reporting name started with the first letter of the role that the new machine was expected to play; F for fighter, H for helicopter, A for air-to-air missile, and so on.

Thus, the Soviet Ka-25 was designated "Hormone".

The Kamov Ka-25 was a compact helicopter with contra-rotating main rotors which did away with the need for a long tail boom and tail rotor, both of which are a liability on board ships. Although designed to be an anti-submarine helicopter, the Ka-25 was modifed to fulfil various functions including search and rescue (SAR), radar/electronic warfare, and a flying crane.

The Ka-25 was superceded by the similar-looking Ka-27 "Helix" in the early 1980s.

641685.  Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:54 am Reply with quote

HMS Ocean, the helicopter carrier and amphibious assault vessel is currently the largest ship in the Royal Navy.

The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers due to enter service some time between 2014 and 2018 will be about three times the size however. These new carriers will operate the American Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F35B Lightning II - the updated Harrier equivalent.

Sadurian Mike
641686.  Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:57 am Reply with quote

If one doesn't get sold to India in the meantime. I suppose that we should be grateful that the Powers That Be have realised that it would cost more to scrap the project than continue with it, but sadly they haven't realised why we need two carriers.

Evidently these people never put their cars in for servicing.

644552.  Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:45 am Reply with quote

Does anyone else remember a particular ITN report from Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation?

It was a news crew who were following a group of Taliban rebels. They were overlooking a gorge, watching a Soviet convoy being ambushed by the "Heroic Afghan Freedom Fighters". The camera switches to frame the correspondent (Sandy Gall?), only to see the rapidly-scarpering natives and a decidedly worried-looking newsman. The cameraman pans round to reveal the sinister form of a Hind gunship hovering low over them...

It was comedy gold!


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