Operations in Afghanistan

OPA 06

Memorandum from The Boeing Company

1. In response to the House of Commons Defence Committee’s request for evidence regarding its inquiry into operations in Afghanistan, The Boeing Company is pleased to submit the following evidence. In this document we provide information about: The Boeing Company; Boeing Defence UK Ltd; the role and capabilities of the Chinook in the Afghanistan conflict; as well as the Apache and C-17.

General information

2. Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defence, space and security systems. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defence systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. The Company’s reach extends to customers in 90 countries around the world and a top U.S. exporter. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., Boeing employs more than 159,000 people in more than 70 countries.

3. The Boeing Company has an extensive network of industrial and academic partners and suppliers across the UK from which it sources typically £1bn of products and services. Boeing works with a number of universities in the UK and has established multi-year collaborative research and technology relationships with several including Cambridge, Cranfield, Sheffield, Southampton and Bristol. There are currently more than 650 Boeing employees in the UK, in locations from Perth to Gosport.

Boeing Defence UK Ltd.

4. A subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defence, Space and Security, Boeing Defence UK Ltd. currently has employees at 20 locations throughout the UK supporting Ministry of Defence (MoD) and U.S. military programmes. Boeing Defence UK is strengthening its ability to accommodate future business growth.

5. As a system-of-systems integrator, Boeing Defence UK is positioned to support through-life system-of-systems programme management of complex defence programmes. Along with engineering and integration, as an integrator Boeing Defence UK delivers through-life capability management, through-life technology management, alliance development and supply chain management.

6. Boeing’s extensive capabilities can be seen in the variety of platforms utilised by the UK’s armed forces, enhancing its operational effectiveness. From the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and the heavy-lift capability of the Chinook, to the Apache AH MK1 attack helicopter, Boeing platforms and services are making a difference on the frontline.

The role of the Chinook in the Afghanistan conflict

7. The RAF operates the third largest fleet of Chinook support helicopters, with the Chinook Wing, heavy-lift element of the Joint Helicopter Command, being based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

8. Since their introduction into service in 1962, new several new models have been produced, and further upgrades are planned to extend the Chinook helicopter’s service life beyond 2030, making it the longest running continual production programme in Boeing. The Chinook epitomises multi mission versatility, carrying 10 tonnes of freight or 54 troops, as well as underslung loads. The cabin is large enough to accommodate two Land Rovers. RAF Chinooks are also used in Search and Rescue and Casualty Evacuation, and can carry a total of 24 stretchers. The Chinook Triple cargo hook system provides improved manoeuvre capability, increased level-flight speed, reduced pilot workload and multiple delivery points. The aircraft offers optimal operational readiness due to its reduced logistics footprint and easier field maintenance. High altitude performance can be conducted in excess of 18,000 feet and is not restricted by potential loss of tail rotor control, typical of single rotor helicopters. Rear Ramp access is not restricted by tail rotor clearance and load/unload can be operated safely during hover. This makes the Chinook able to operate on all types of unprepared, mountainous terrain and at very high altitudes and to be less susceptible to hostile fire

9. The UK’s Chinooks are well equipped for their varied roles and are fitted with a satellite Global Positioning System (GPS), an Instrument Landing System (ILS), comprehensive avionics that enable them to fly in airways, and an extensive radio suite. The aircraft cockpit has a full night-time capability and includes night-vision goggle (NVG) equipment, thus allowing low-level night operations in hostile environments. The aircraft also carries dual-mode landing lights that can be switched between white and infrared light, which are supported by infrared searchlights operated by the two crewmen. The Chinook is well equipped with defensive aid suite (DAS) which includes a radar warning receiver (RWR), missile approach warning system (MAWS), infrared jammers and chaff and flare dispensers, which can be manually or automatically fired. The aircraft is further protected with internal ballistic protection (BP) and can be armed with two M134 Miniguns, one in each front side window, and an M60D machine gun on the ramp.

10. The Chinook is equipped to undertake a wide range of tasks in Afghanistan, including resupply and troop insertions. The Chinooks also provide life-saving response through the Immediate Response Team and Medical Emergency Response Team that use the helicopter for casualty evacuations to aid the injured. The aircraft has an unsurpassed ‘hot and high’ capability making it particularly well suited to operations in Afghanistan.

The role of the Apache

11. The British Army operates a fleet of 67 Apache AH Mk1 capable of providing Close Air Support (CAS), escort and independent precision attack which makes it exceptionally valuable in conflicts such as Afghanistan .

12. Boeing, as the systems Integrator and Design Authority for the Apache, designed the aircraft to meet the needs of the British Army. AgustaWestland, under license from Boeing, completed final assembly, test and delivery of the aircraft. The Apache is uniquely equipped with two Rolls-Royce RTM322 engines that give it superior ‘hot and high’ capability.

13. Boeing’s UK Rotorcraft Support team in England, with reach-back to the Apache world wide support organisation in Mesa, Arizona, provides technical support and logistics services for the UK’s fleet of Apaches, which are forward deployed in Afghanistan from the Apache main operating base at Wattisham. The Boeing team provides a wide range of technical services to assist with operation and maintenance of the aircraft, including spares, delivery and repair and overhaul. The Apache delivers considerable ordnance through a combination of laser and RF-guided precision Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets and a 30mm automatic cannon (with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds). It can operate in all weathers, day or night to detect, classify and prioritise up to 256 potential targets in a matter of seconds.

14. The first UK Apache to receive an upgraded sighting and targeting system, known as M-TADS/PNVS (Modernised Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor) took place in November 2008. The MTADS programme is performed by a MoD-Industry team with industry led by AgustaWestland and includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin Overseas Corporation and QinetiQ. Along with TEDAC (TADS Electronic Display and Control), MTADS provides Apache AH MK1 crews with greater situational awareness and combat effectiveness. Additionally the system delivers significant whole life cost savings over the service life of the aircraft.

15. The British Army took delivery of their 67 WAH-64’s between 2002 and 2004. Nearly 1,600 Apaches have been delivered to customers around the world since the Apache went into production.

16. In Afghanistan, the Apache helicopter provides UK and Coalition troops with Precision Engagement Capabilities and has three principle roles: close air support and escort for other aircraft types, primarily the RAF's Chinooks, which move troops and equipment around theatre; deliberate and pre-planned operations; and reactive assistance to troops coming under fire.

17. There are numerous documented examples of operations conducted in recent years that illustrate the vital role that the Apache plays. British troops using Apache attack helicopters in June ’08 carried out a precision engagement of a key Taliban leader and up to ten members of his cell, delivering a deadly blow to Taliban leadership. In Afghanistan, as has been seen in many other operational theatres, the mere presence of an Apache can deter enemy activity providing more time for our own troops to manoeuvre.

18. Apache Integrated Operational Support (AIOS) is a performance based logistics programme developed specifically for the UK Apache attack helicopter fleet. Boeing Defence UK is supporting the evaluation of AIOS alongside its current support contracts with AgustaWestland.

The role of the C-17

19. The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) flies six C-17 aircraft as part of the UK’s strategic air bridge to British Armed Forces in Afghanistan, a theatre of operation that is landlocked and surrounded by inhospitable terrain. In December 2009, are to take delivery of their 7th C-17. In total, the UK’s C-17 fleet has flown more than 50,000 hours since its introduction.

20. The C-17 is the best and often the only way to deploy equipment such as main battle tanks, helicopters, armoured vehicles and ammunition to a land-locked country like Afghanistan. The C-17 can carry the equivalent of three Warrior armoured vehicles, 13 Land Rovers, one Chinook, or three Apache gunships, enabling the RAF to get the right equipment to theatre rapidly. Structurally designed for a lifetime of operations in severe tactical environments, the C-17 can accomplish frequent low-altitude and high-speed missions plus repeated landings at small, austere airfields. With a payload of 160,000 pounds, the C-17 can take off from a 7,600-foot airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles, and land on a small, austere airfield in 3,000 feet or less. The C-17 is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings.

21. In addition to this vital freight role, the aircraft can be prepared with pallets of passenger seating, enabling the delivery of troops into Camp Bastion.

22. The C-17 makes up part of the airbridge from the UK to Afghanistan, transporting troops that have arrived on civilian charter 'trooper' flights from the UK to the UAE, onwards to Afghanistan.

23. Beyond these primary roles, the C-17 has been exceptional in its support to the Aeromedical Airbridge. Able to fly directly to Helmand Province from the UK, aircraft and crews are stood up at very short notice for this high-pressure task.

24. The fully integrated, electronic flight deck and the advanced cargo-handling systems require only two pilots and one air loadmaster to operate the aircraft -- perfect for the British mission in Afghanistan.


25. This submission has sought to provide information on the provision of helicopters

and the air bridge during the conflict in Afghanistan. The Boeing Company has a strong commitment to growth in the UK and the continued delivery of advanced capabilities in the air and on the battlefield.

20 September 2010