Using attack helicopters from the sea appears to be in vogue, again.
The concept appeared dormant, but gained new attention in Europe when the French and U.K. moved to deploy on ships the Tiger and Apache helicopters in support of military operations in Libya.
Australia also has plans to deploy its Tiger ARHs from ships.
Now Russia is joining the mix. The country's military is conducting trials to clear the Ka-52 for ship-borne operations, with the Northern Fleet using the Vice Adm. Kulakov for at-sea trials.
When I saw that pick, my puzzl'r started tingl'n and I said, "Ah, ha! I've seen that concept before!"
Indeed I had ... but we took a pass on it. Meet the Sea Apache.
I bet the Riverine guys - not to mention the SEALs - would have loved to have such a capability with a NAVY stamp on it over the last decade. I know the "career path management issues" that are so important on active duty would make it problematic - because as we know that is the most important thing - but imagine two-to-four squadrons of these aircraft in a det-rotation cycle at home in the Reserves. You would be beating pilots away with bullwhips to get a billet there.
The original proposal still had the 30mm gun, but even with that deleted - not too shabby.
Weapons planned for use with the Sea Apache include Harpoon, Stinger, Sidewinder, Sidearm, AMRAAM, Penguin, and Hellfire missiles, as well as 127mm Zuni and 70mm FFAR rockets. The Harpoon, Penguin and He!Ifire missiles wouId be used against large naval targets, the Sidewinder and Stinger in the air-to-air mode, and the 127mm Zuni and 70mm FFAR rockets against smaller water borne targets and ground targets. A variety of missiles/rockets could be carried at the same time giving the Sea Apache the capability of engaging different types of targets on the same mission, making it a very versatile and useful naval aircraft.Check out what LMT can do with the 'ole 70mm rocket now days. You want precision strike with minimal collateral damage? Here you go!
Performance goals specified for the Sea Apache by the Navy include a 370km mission radius, and a four hour endurance on station.
Oh well - different world with different leaders with different vision.
Hat tip Lee.