Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Australia Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: $1.4bn wasted on cancelled Seasprite
Volkodav    6/18/2009 7:48:25 AM
Patrick Walters, National security editor | June 18, 2009 Article from: The Australian MORE than $1.4 billion of taxpayers' money was wasted on the Defence Department's botched acquisition of the Super Seasprite helicopter, 47 per cent more than the $953 million claimed by the Defence Department last year. The Auditor-General is highly critical of the Defence Materiel Organisation's management of the US-manufactured helicopters, which were ordered for the navy's Anzac frigates but were never accepted into operational service. The long-awaited final report by the Australian National Audit Office found the Seasprite had a potential catastrophic failure rate calculated at 20,000 times greater than the US aviation standard. The Seasprite's crash worthiness was below contemporary standards, it could not be flown in bad weather, the pit was too small for some crewmen and the advanced computerised combat system never worked properly. But most worrying, the computerised flight control system tended to make unpredictable movements of flight controls, known as hard-overs. During flight testing, that occurred four times in 1600 flying hours. The aircraft design specification was for one potentially catastrophic failure in a million hours. The Rudd government cancelled the project to give the navy an anti-submarine capacity in March last year, terminating the prime contract with US firm Kaman Aerospace Corporation and handing the Seasprites back to them for an eventual sale. The project ran for 12 years, with a $746m contract for 11 Seasprites being signed by the Howard government in 1997. Equipped with Penguin anti-ship missiles, the Seasprites were designed to operate from the Anzac frigates, providing maritime strike and surveillance for the RAN's surface fleet. The ANAO report reveals that extra expenditure of at least $448m was incurred by Defence in establishing the Seasprite capability on top of the $953m spent on the prime contract. This included $201m spent on Penguin missiles, which cannot be used on any other aircraft, and $135m on in-service support. An extra $59m went on spare parts and $47m on last year decommissioning 805 squadron, which was destined to operate the Seasprites. The handling glitches and stability issues led to the Seasprite's grounding by the navy in March 2006 after it had been provisionally accepted by the RAN. The ANAO found the decision to cancel the project could not be attributed to any individual factor. "If there is an overriding message from this project it is that risks to project outcomes need to be better managed and related accountability for managing project performance strengthened," it said. The DMO's Seasprite project office had experienced "ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining appropriately qualified personnel which inhibited its capacity to manage a large and complex project". Right from the start, an inadequate understanding of the risks associated with the acquisition was not attained through the requirement definition and tender-evaluation processes. "Poor contract management practices within Defence and DMO, over the life of the project, contributed to ongoing contractual uncertainty," it said. The Auditor-General said the risks associated with the project were increased by the decision to fit upgraded systems "into a smaller helicopter than the Anzac ship is designed to operate". The navy is now looking to buy a fleet of up to 24 combat helicopters at a cost of well over $1bn to replace the junked Seasprites and provide its surface fleet with a capable anti-submarine warfare platform. Defence Materiel Minister Greg Combet said last night that Defence had accepted all seven recommendations from the ANAO designed to prevent a repeat of the Seasprite. "The lessons learned from the Seasprite project have already been incorporated in reforms which have enhanced Defence project management practices and are taken further in the implementation of the Mortimer review as recently announced by government," Mr Combet said.
 
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2 3   NEXT
StevoJH       6/18/2009 9:15:03 AM
I was under the impression that Sea Hawks could fire penguin missiles.
 
Quote    Reply

Aussie Diggermark 2       6/18/2009 10:00:43 AM

I was under the impression that Sea Hawks could fire penguin missiles.

Not Australia's. ADF assessed them and decided the $130m it would cost to integrate the weapon onto the Seahawks wasn't worth it, for the few remaining years, until we get a proper maritime warfare helo that can fire missiles from the get go.
 
Of course the $110m the Government spent on Super Seaslug in 2007 trying to get the bloody thing working would have gone a LONG way towards providing Seahawk with such a capability, but why cry over spilled milk? 
 
The $130m would be better off going towards the new Helo and let's hope Government actually shell out the readies. So far they haven't exactly been dynamite at approving or paying for capability, but very good at talking about what they are "going" to do. 
 
Some day.
 
 
Perhaps in 40 years.
 

 
 
Quote    Reply

StevoJH       6/18/2009 10:25:35 AM
I was under the impression that Sea Hawks could fire penguin missiles.
 
Quote    Reply

StevoJH       6/18/2009 10:26:29 AM

I was under the impression that Sea Hawks could fire penguin missiles.

Oops, F5 is bad.
 
Quote    Reply

Herald12345    HBow do you feel about HELIX?   6/18/2009 5:35:34 PM
The Ka 27 is a small footprint  helo.......... It works. Would have to upgrade avionics and use Rolls Royce or GE engines, but......

What?
 
Herald
 
Quote    Reply

StevoJH       6/18/2009 8:37:43 PM

The Ka 27 is a small footprint  helo.......... It works. Would have to upgrade avionics and use Rolls Royce or GE engines, but......




What?


 

Herald

Upgrading the avionics was what caused the problem last time. IMO the purchase needs to be completely off the shelf. So the options are S-60R, NFH-90 or Lynx. I favor the NFH-90 since it would give a common airframe with the MRH-90's already purchased.
 
Quote    Reply

Aussie Diggermark 2       6/18/2009 10:12:23 PM

The Ka 27 is a small footprint  helo.......... It works. Would have to upgrade avionics and use Rolls Royce or GE engines, but......




What?


 

Herald


No chance in hell. 
 
It will be an off the shelf purchase of MH-60R or NH-90 NFH.
 
 
That is it. No significant upgrade work will be conducted any time soon on an Australian Naval Helo, you can guarantee that...
 
Quote    Reply

Herald12345    Can you squeeze an NFH -90 onto an ANZAC?   6/19/2009 1:23:47 AM




The Ka 27 is a small footprint  helo.......... It works. Would have to upgrade avionics and use Rolls Royce or GE engines, but......










What?






 



Herald





Upgrading the avionics was what caused the problem last time. IMO the purchase needs to be completely off the shelf. So the options are S-60R, NFH-90 or Lynx. I favor the NFH-90 since it would give a common airframe with the MRH-90's already purchased.


Tough to do. They don't fit Perrys easily.
 
Quote    Reply

StevoJH       6/19/2009 2:06:55 AM
It doesnt matter if they can fit on the Perries as long as the Sea Hawks can be kept operational until 2017. What is important is that whatever is bought must be able to fit onto the ANZAC's, and i'm not sure if the NFH90's can, which leaves S-60R and Future Lynx/Wildcat as the only options.
 
Quote    Reply

CDT3    Penguin Missiles!   6/19/2009 2:36:32 AM
It took quite a while for Mr. Walters to write that article, even though all those conclusions had been reached long ago. But there is one error, the Penguin missile has been trialed in the US on the S60B Seahawk successfully and as the RAN's birds are the same, I think the retro-fit could be done here. The whole stupid saga was such a waste, when the Kiwi's bought the same aircraft in basic configuration, yet still a reasonable ASW platform, for much less than we were going to pay for something totally useless. It was like trying to put a 454ci Chevy big block, into a Toyota Camry. Sure you could do it, but why bother, when you could spend less money on a SS Commodore that actually did what you wanted to achieve with the Camry engine-drive train-suspension mods-RTA certification and so on.
 
Quote    Reply
1 2 3   NEXT



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics