Author Topic: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration  (Read 18024 times)

Offline Volkodav

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Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« on: December 11, 2014, 09:08:12 PM »
Box Artwork for soon to be released kit:



I'm thinking one in this scheme:




Would have been nice but wasn't a contender because of timing concern with the Zulu and the Whiskey was seen as being at the end of its development cycle.  Ironically the Whiskey would have provided Australia with a deployable capability when we needed it, while the Zulu achieved FOC with the USMC before the Tiger achieved IOC with the ADF and would likely have also been available for deployment.

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 03:40:16 AM »

Would have been nice but wasn't a contender because of timing concern with the Zulu and the Whiskey was seen as being at the end of its development cycle.

Errr…it was offered in the form of the Bell ARH-1Z.
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Offline taiidantomcat

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 07:08:55 AM »

Would have been nice but wasn't a contender because of timing concern with the Zulu and the Whiskey was seen as being at the end of its development cycle.

Errr…it was offered in the form of the Bell ARH-1Z.

That would have been awesome. T700 series engines to go with the Navy and Army H-60s too.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 10:10:57 AM »

Would have been nice but wasn't a contender because of timing concern with the Zulu and the Whiskey was seen as being at the end of its development cycle.

Errr…it was offered in the form of the Bell ARH-1Z.

I was under the impression that we were offered the in service W and the Z but the Z was eliminated early on because it wouldn't be ready in time and was still developmental while the buying the Whiskey with a future upgrade to Zulu being more expensive than the Tiger.  I could be wrong but that was the story I was told.  As you worked the project though you'd know more about it than me with my mix of, possibly miss remembered, reading and conversations.

A mate of mine was the CSM for the RAEME support detachment for the Tigers, he was not a fan believing we should have gone either Cobra or Apache for the simple reason the full support package would have been available from the start meaning we would actually have had a deployable asset rather than one where it was hard to get a single helicopter in the air some days due to lack of spares.  He actually also said he wished the RAAF had kept the helicopters because they were so time consuming, expensive and difficult to operate and maintain, especially considering a lack of understanding / air mindedness in the upper echelons who just expected a "can do attitude" from the maintainers rather than all the safety / certification BS which some of them just saw as excuses.  We all know where the "can do attitude" got the RAN FAA.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 10:25:21 AM »
Considering that the "Zulu" is primarily a "Whiskey" with a four-bladed rotor system similar to that already flying in the Bell 412, I wouldn't think it that big a gamble.  Yes, there are system upgrades, but, really, that's the major difference.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 10:54:33 AM »

Would have been nice but wasn't a contender because of timing concern with the Zulu and the Whiskey was seen as being at the end of its development cycle.

Errr…it was offered in the form of the Bell ARH-1Z.

That would have been awesome. T700 series engines to go with the Navy and Army H-60s too.

Getting miles of the topic here but my idea ADF helicopter force would have skipped the MRH90 and Tiger and opted for the Merlin as the initial additional lift asset and then Sea King replacement then go for either the Whisky, Zulu or Apache for the ARH mission, the MH-60R (Romeo) to replace the SH-60Bs and Super Sea Sprites and then the MH-60S (Sierra) and UH-60L or M to replace the Blackhawks.  Common base engine through the fleet, all proven in service, high degrees of commonality through the various S70 models, all bar the Merlin would have been FMS.  Oh, also expand the CH-47D Chinook fleet then look to replace them with Fs or King Stallions.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2014, 11:28:00 AM »
Considering that the "Zulu" is primarily a "Whiskey" with a four-bladed rotor system similar to that already flying in the Bell 412, I wouldn't think it that big a gamble.  Yes, there are system upgrades, but, really, that's the major difference.

Yes but you are talking common since and reality, I am talking ADF procurement from the late 90s to the mid to late 2000s.  Layer upon layer of compliance and bureaucracy, multiple gateways, then the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet does whatever they want, irrespective of the official and expert recommendation.  Basically if a company can put together a good presentation that convinced the PMs team they got the contract, no matter what the services actually wanted or needed, not even the defence minister had much, if any, say, the service chiefs were ignored and the actual operators for all intents and purposes didn't exist for the amount of attention they received. 

It was absolutely ridiculous, there was this huge bureaucracy and the services themselves, with all these talented and experienced people putting huge amounts of effort into selecting the right gear who were given all these hoops to jump through, road blocks to get around and then they were just ignored and the PM signed off on what ever his department told him was cheapest, or would win the most votes with no regard to actual capability needs, risk, or true through life costs.

Sorry about the rant but we could have had Whiskys or Apaches in the 90s at less cost than the still not FOC Tigers.  The latest Australian Aviation has an article on the Tigers and says that replacement of the fleet with AH-64Es instead of a mid life upgrade is an option that is seriously being considered, if this is the case then what a complete, total waste of money the initial buy was.

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2014, 02:09:11 PM »
I was under the impression that we were offered the in service W and the Z but the Z was eliminated early on because it wouldn't be ready in time and was still developmental while the buying the Whiskey with a future upgrade to Zulu being more expensive than the Tiger.  I could be wrong but that was the story I was told.  As you worked the project though you'd know more about it than me with my mix of, possibly miss remembered, reading and conversations.


The original AI87 offerings were:  Boeing/BAE Systems Australia with the AH-64D Apache; Agusta/Tenix Defence Systems with the A129 Scorpion; Bell Helicopter Textron/Raytheon Australia/Helitech Pty Ltd/Rockwell Australia Ltd with the ARH-1Z; and Eurocopter /ADI Ltd/Celsius Hawker Pacific Pty Ltd/Brown & Root Services Asia-Pacific with the Tiger.

The ARH-1Z was very enticing especially since it also included a proposed license to complete development and subsequent manufacture a family of UAVs based upon the of the Eagle Eye Tilt Rotor UAV (see below) in Australia for sale worldwide.



Ultimately I believe it lost out since the basic platform was felt to be at the end of its development potential.  Plus the USD:AUD exchange rate was not pretty.

A mate of mine was the CSM for the RAEME support detachment for the Tigers, he was not a fan believing we should have gone either Cobra or Apache for the simple reason the full support package would have been available from the start meaning we would actually have had a deployable asset rather than one where it was hard to get a single helicopter in the air some days due to lack of spares.  He actually also said he wished the RAAF had kept the helicopters because they were so time consuming, expensive and difficult to operate and maintain, especially considering a lack of understanding / air mindedness in the upper echelons who just expected a "can do attitude" from the maintainers rather than all the safety / certification BS which some of them just saw as excuses.  We all know where the "can do attitude" got the RAN FAA.


I would say that a lot of people don't understand how these programs go down and what looks obvious to those on the outside may not necessarily be so when one has the facts at hand...
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 02:15:04 PM »
The ADF came ever so close to having Cobras back in the early '70s - see here

And just to inspire you further:

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Offline jcf

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 02:25:01 PM »
A former USMC CH-53 crew-chief Gulf War One vet I worked with at Heli-pro (avionics shop primarily S-61 but also supported Bell 205/212/214 and 206) in the mid-90s related to me that the Whiskeys performance in the hot conditions of the Gulf left much to be desired. His heavy unit was assigned as support to the Cobras and according to him the Whiskeys often missed missions due to high temperatures or operated at half weapons/fuel load. But if temps topped 115-120 F, they simply couldn't take-off even with reduced loads, and that was at sea level.

So based on that and the realities of conditions in Oz, the Whiskey might have been a white elephant,
although they would have looked impressive posed on the apron.  ;D
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 02:53:29 PM »
Considering that the "Zulu" is primarily a "Whiskey" with a four-bladed rotor system similar to that already flying in the Bell 412, I wouldn't think it that big a gamble.  Yes, there are system upgrades, but, really, that's the major difference.

Yes but you are talking common since and reality, I am talking ADF procurement from the late 90s to the mid to late 2000s.  Layer upon layer of compliance and bureaucracy, multiple gateways, then the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet does whatever they want, irrespective of the official and expert recommendation.  Basically if a company can put together a good presentation that convinced the PMs team they got the contract, no matter what the services actually wanted or needed, not even the defence minister had much, if any, say, the service chiefs were ignored and the actual operators for all intents and purposes didn't exist for the amount of attention they received. 

It was absolutely ridiculous, there was this huge bureaucracy and the services themselves, with all these talented and experienced people putting huge amounts of effort into selecting the right gear who were given all these hoops to jump through, road blocks to get around and then they were just ignored and the PM signed off on what ever his department told him was cheapest, or would win the most votes with no regard to actual capability needs, risk, or true through life costs.

Sorry about the rant but we could have had Whiskys or Apaches in the 90s at less cost than the still not FOC Tigers.  The latest Australian Aviation has an article on the Tigers and says that replacement of the fleet with AH-64Es instead of a mid life upgrade is an option that is seriously being considered, if this is the case then what a complete, total waste of money the initial buy was.

It is a little bit different to that.  Political considerations will usually trump service and technical ones, no matter how much you moan about it.  It happens in all nations, be they dictatorship or democracy.

The Apache was never going to be bought.  It was too expensive and if you think the Tiger is complex, the Apache is a hell of a lot more.

The problem is Army never really figured out what it wanted.  The Tigers were intended to replace the Kiowas, a light scout helicopter.  Did Army want a light replacement or a heavy assault chopper?   The Tiger was a compromise as are all defence procurements and considering the shenanigans which were gone through to get a purchase, its surprising they ever arrived at a decision.

Personally I believe they should have got the A129 Mangusta.   It was simpler than the either the Tiger or the Apache.  It was not American (an important consideration) and it was cheaper than the Tiger.  It was in production and in service.  It was based on an in service chopper's mechanicals.

However, any decision always had to get past not only the Minister of Defence, it had to run the gauntlet of Treasury and as you note, PM and Cabinet.  All had their own views on the matter and all would put their oars in to stir the mix.   Politics is how the system works and it's what often makes the decision.  The most famous two decisions for Army which illustrate this was the M60 GPMG and the ASLAV vehicles.  The first was chosen, despite losing the selection competition and the second didn't even come from Army but was foisted on it by the Minister.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 09:16:53 PM »
A former USMC CH-53 crew-chief Gulf War One vet I worked with at Heli-pro (avionics shop primarily S-61 but also supported Bell 205/212/214 and 206) in the mid-90s related to me that the Whiskeys performance in the hot conditions of the Gulf left much to be desired. His heavy unit was assigned as support to the Cobras and according to him the Whiskeys often missed missions due to high temperatures or operated at half weapons/fuel load. But if temps topped 115-120 F, they simply couldn't take-off even with reduced loads, and that was at sea level.

So based on that and the realities of conditions in Oz, the Whiskey might have been a white elephant,
although they would have looked impressive posed on the apron.  ;D
One of the main drivers behind the more efficient & capable 4-bladed rotor of the "Zulu"; you can only push a 2-bladed rotor so far.

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2014, 02:14:34 AM »
Random idea:  5 or 6 bladed rotor
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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2014, 02:20:51 AM »
AH-1W VTCAD:

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2014, 02:59:50 AM »
Random idea:  5 or 6 bladed rotor
Once development and testing is complete, you could probably upgrade the Zulu with the transmission and rotor from the 525 Relentless (heck, the technology testbed/demonstrator is based on a 214ST and uses a 4-bladed rotor) which work with the same basic engines.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2014, 06:16:32 AM »
I wanted to see a Cobra using the Bell 412CF mechanicals, in CF service of course. :)

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2014, 01:10:13 PM »
I wanted to see a Cobra using the Bell 412CF mechanicals, in CF service of course. :)
That sounds like an AH-1J, or developments there from, with upgraded engines and transmission.

FWIW, Whiskey, Yankee, and Zulu models all drew engine and transmission experience from the 214ST.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2014, 01:34:51 PM »
A former USMC CH-53 crew-chief Gulf War One vet I worked with at Heli-pro (avionics shop primarily S-61 but also supported Bell 205/212/214 and 206) in the mid-90s related to me that the Whiskeys performance in the hot conditions of the Gulf left much to be desired. His heavy unit was assigned as support to the Cobras and according to him the Whiskeys often missed missions due to high temperatures or operated at half weapons/fuel load. But if temps topped 115-120 F, they simply couldn't take-off even with reduced loads, and that was at sea level.

So based on that and the realities of conditions in Oz, the Whiskey might have been a white elephant,
although they would have looked impressive posed on the apron.  ;D

The Whiskey would not have been ideal but remember the RAAF and army operated two bladed Iroquois and Kiowas for decades.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2014, 01:50:33 PM »
Considering that the "Zulu" is primarily a "Whiskey" with a four-bladed rotor system similar to that already flying in the Bell 412, I wouldn't think it that big a gamble.  Yes, there are system upgrades, but, really, that's the major difference.

Yes but you are talking common since and reality, I am talking ADF procurement from the late 90s to the mid to late 2000s.  Layer upon layer of compliance and bureaucracy, multiple gateways, then the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet does whatever they want, irrespective of the official and expert recommendation.  Basically if a company can put together a good presentation that convinced the PMs team they got the contract, no matter what the services actually wanted or needed, not even the defence minister had much, if any, say, the service chiefs were ignored and the actual operators for all intents and purposes didn't exist for the amount of attention they received. 

It was absolutely ridiculous, there was this huge bureaucracy and the services themselves, with all these talented and experienced people putting huge amounts of effort into selecting the right gear who were given all these hoops to jump through, road blocks to get around and then they were just ignored and the PM signed off on what ever his department told him was cheapest, or would win the most votes with no regard to actual capability needs, risk, or true through life costs.

Sorry about the rant but we could have had Whiskys or Apaches in the 90s at less cost than the still not FOC Tigers.  The latest Australian Aviation has an article on the Tigers and says that replacement of the fleet with AH-64Es instead of a mid life upgrade is an option that is seriously being considered, if this is the case then what a complete, total waste of money the initial buy was.

It is a little bit different to that.  Political considerations will usually trump service and technical ones, no matter how much you moan about it.  It happens in all nations, be they dictatorship or democracy.

The Apache was never going to be bought.  It was too expensive and if you think the Tiger is complex, the Apache is a hell of a lot more.

The problem is Army never really figured out what it wanted.  The Tigers were intended to replace the Kiowas, a light scout helicopter.  Did Army want a light replacement or a heavy assault chopper?   The Tiger was a compromise as are all defence procurements and considering the shenanigans which were gone through to get a purchase, its surprising they ever arrived at a decision.

Personally I believe they should have got the A129 Mangusta.   It was simpler than the either the Tiger or the Apache.  It was not American (an important consideration) and it was cheaper than the Tiger.  It was in production and in service.  It was based on an in service chopper's mechanicals.

However, any decision always had to get past not only the Minister of Defence, it had to run the gauntlet of Treasury and as you note, PM and Cabinet.  All had their own views on the matter and all would put their oars in to stir the mix.   Politics is how the system works and it's what often makes the decision.  The most famous two decisions for Army which illustrate this was the M60 GPMG and the ASLAV vehicles.  The first was chosen, despite losing the selection competition and the second didn't even come from Army but was foisted on it by the Minister.

Mangusta would have been interesting, especially if Lynx was bought along side it to serve in a utility role.

The services rarely have much say in what they get and when.  As the link Greg posted pointed out, the AH-1G was selected then cancelled, even though it was supported by both air force and army.  The M-60 was a travesty, selected for commonalty with the US, but the ASLAV worked out, although what the Army was really hoping for was the M-3 and M-1A2. 

Had we acquired the AH-1G then the logical progression would have been the S and then the Apache.  Ironically, the machine that seemed to best fit the Australian requirement was the subsequently cancelled Comanche.

Offline upnorth

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2014, 07:35:00 PM »

Personally I believe they should have got the A129 Mangusta.   It was simpler than the either the Tiger or the Apache.  It was not American (an important consideration) and it was cheaper than the Tiger.  It was in production and in service.  It was based on an in service chopper's mechanicals.



I would have thought the Rooivalk from South Africa might have been a better fit for Australia given some of the climatic similarities between the two countries.

Operations in hot, arid conditions with bare bones support were critical factors in the Rooivalk's development
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Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2014, 06:17:41 AM »
I wanted to see a Cobra using the Bell 412CF mechanicals, in CF service of course. :)
That sounds like an AH-1J, or developments there from, with upgraded engines and transmission.

FWIW, Whiskey, Yankee, and Zulu models all drew engine and transmission experience from the 214ST.

Closest analogue I think is the experimental Bell 309 with the TwinPac. Add on the 412's main rotor, a FastFin and Strakes from BLR Aerospace. Maybe make a fun build one of these days.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2014, 09:29:56 AM »

Personally I believe they should have got the A129 Mangusta.   It was simpler than the either the Tiger or the Apache.  It was not American (an important consideration) and it was cheaper than the Tiger.  It was in production and in service.  It was based on an in service chopper's mechanicals.



I would have thought the Rooivalk from South Africa might have been a better fit for Australia given some of the climatic similarities between the two countries.

Operations in hot, arid conditions with bare bones support were critical factors in the Rooivalk's development

I'd agree but Rooivalk was always seen as an outsider in the competition and eliminated quite early on because of questions about support.  At the time of the original competition start up, the old RSA had just dissolved and there were questions over the new RSA's viability.

Offline dy031101

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2014, 12:17:31 AM »
Taiwan now has a new hunter-killer team: Longbow Apache is the hunter (though the Kiowan Warrior is still around to share that role, AFAIK), and Super Cobra is the killer.

And I'm still rooting for the chance for the Super Cobra to evolve into Viper as well......
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 06:59:59 AM by dy031101 »
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2015, 01:58:46 PM »
I have a 1/35th AH-1W Cobra & UH-1N Gunship to be built in my Royal Australian Marines plan. The Huey is getting Live Resin mini-guns to replace the kit versions & both will be getting the still-in-development RAM camouflage scheme.

I just wish someone would do a CH-46 Sea Knight & CH-53 Sea Stallion variants in 1/35th so I could add them to the mix.

However, I'm tossing up doing UH-60 Black Hawk & CH-47 Chinook troop transport variants, instead.

Now, though, what I need most are decent operational (flying) crew sets with pilots & gunners (& troops?) doing their thing.
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Offline gogs007

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Re: Bell Huey Cobra Ideas and Inspiration
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2015, 06:56:56 PM »
I believe live resin are going to release some flight crew figures