Performance of Chinese amry aviation in the Wenchuan earthquake relief effort


danw

Just Hatched
Registered Member
There is some debate about the performance of the army aviation units in the earthquake relief effort, especially about their inability to land helicopters in the epicenter during the early hours after the earthquake. The official explanation was bad weather (heavy rain, high wind etc.) prevented them from doing so. Do you all think this is a valid reason?

On another aspect, reading this forum, it said China had ~250 Mi-17, but it seems the government need to call upon a large number of helicopters from the civil aviation services to get 100-120 helicopters to join the rescue effort...
 

tphuang

Brigadier
VIP Professional
Registered Member
There is some debate about the performance of the army aviation units in the earthquake relief effort, especially about their inability to land helicopters in the epicenter during the early hours after the earthquake. The official explanation was bad weather (heavy rain, high wind etc.) prevented them from doing so. Do you all think this is a valid reason?

On another aspect, reading this forum, it said China had ~250 Mi-17, but it seems the government need to call upon a large number of helicopters from the civil aviation services to get 100-120 helicopters to join the rescue effort...
well, considering that there are only 500 helicopters in all of China and many of them are too light to have any transport or SAR use, it's quite a feat to even get 110 helos in there.
 

johnqd

Just Hatched
Registered Member
There is some debate about the performance of the army aviation units in the earthquake relief effort, especially about their inability to land helicopters in the epicenter during the early hours after the earthquake. The official explanation was bad weather (heavy rain, high wind etc.) prevented them from doing so. Do you all think this is a valid reason?

On another aspect, reading this forum, it said China had ~250 Mi-17, but it seems the government need to call upon a large number of helicopters from the civil aviation services to get 100-120 helicopters to join the rescue effort...
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1. Although there are 5oo copters currentlly in service,but half of them are z-9 types, which is not suitalbe for high altitude task. The military commander must keep at least half of the remaining 250 Mi-171 at military base just for preparetion of any urgent military task, and also, make sure that the PLA's military transportation ability is not severely affected by the earthquake. i think this expain why they only send 60-90 military copter to join in relife work there.
2. I think PLA copter forces did not do a very good job at the very beganning, "Grandpa Wen" once warned the military commander when they claimed that the situation in epicenter is not suitable for landing," you are raised by the people, you guys should know what to do (at current situation )", this is very sharp words considering PM's easy going personality, and every people could tell that he is not satified with PLAAF's performance!
personally, i also can not agree with the excuse of military commander that the situation is too danger, because solider should never be detered by danger, not to mention there were tens of thousand people were waiting for [email protected]
 

Spike

Banned Idiot
I'm not sure about specifics but I know that the area is very mountainous and often shrouded in fog. Add the fact that it's unfamiliar terrain and extremely unstable, I would understand why a pilot would be hesitant to attempt risky maneuvers.
 

PrOeLiTeZ

Junior Member
Registered Member
I'm not sure about specifics but I know that the area is very mountainous and often shrouded in fog. Add the fact that it's unfamiliar terrain and extremely unstable, I would understand why a pilot would be hesitant to attempt risky maneuvers.
The mountain create pockets of concentrated air, and makes a channel for rapid air flow. Also not all of PLAAF Heli are equipped sufficient to navagate through the own vallies and the exact location of the place either. Thats why the PLA poured tens of thousands of troops in via foot and rafts.
 

man overbored

Junior Member
Rain, fog, high winds and mountains are a recipe for a crash in any helicopter. The flight instruments tell you straight and level or if you are in a turn, they can tell you your rate of climb and descent, but they cannot tell you where the next mountain peak is.
The navigation instruments can orient the helo in space and allow you to fly from point A to point B, but you still have to see the ground to take off and land. To find an airport in a mountain valley one needs operating navigation aids to guide the pilot to the airfield. It is safe to assume these were not operable in the affected areas, making instrument approaches impossible no matter how complete the helo's avionics fit. The pilot is reduced to looking outside, reading a chart and flying visually. If the weather is bad this may not be possible for even the best pilot. Sadly this quake corresponded with some terrible weather for flying, increasing the already great suffering of the victims. Don't lay a load of guilt on these pilots, I am certain they are more frustrated than anyone can imagine.
 

PrOeLiTeZ

Junior Member
Registered Member
Yeah everyone is having a hard time work long days in miserable conditions with dead bodies lying everywhere, pilots would be exhausted doing so many trips in barley visible conditions with insufficient information for them to fly saftely. Hundreds of rescue personal have already died just to save some lifes. Have to give them lot of respect.

This should be a great physicological training for the troops for simulating real time war scenario if it occurs. Mainland articles have stated that 20% of the rescue troops have suffered some physcological harm from all that has happened. If it evey happens again (pray not) the PLA Heli Force will be ready with more equipment available. Mi-17 assembly line and co-produce Z-15. They're was news ages ago bout something of Mi-26 production line in Hong Kong or something but it seems to have quite downed a bit now.
 

man overbored

Junior Member
There was a contract announced to build M-171's in Chengdu, a day after the quake I believe.
As for psychological preparation for war, well, I dunno. How can you prepare a person for the horror of killing your fellow man? There is a book called "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" by a US Army medical doctor, LtCol David Grossman. It is a grim and chilling read. You will be stunned by some of his discoveries about the behavior of soldiers when confronted with the opportunity to kill another man. You might be disgusted at the techniques armies use to desensitize recruits and the outcome of this training. Have at it.
 

PrOeLiTeZ

Junior Member
Registered Member
There was a contract announced to build M-171's in Chengdu, a day after the quake I believe.
As for psychological preparation for war, well, I dunno. How can you prepare a person for the horror of killing your fellow man? There is a book called "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" by a US Army medical doctor, LtCol David Grossman. It is a grim and chilling read. You will be stunned by some of his discoveries about the behavior of soldiers when confronted with the opportunity to kill another man. You might be disgusted at the techniques armies use to desensitize recruits and the outcome of this training. Have at it.
yeah i know what you mean, but being exposed to this kind of event helps troops be prepared for worser scenarios, and toughs the mind up a bit...having exposure to this the troops get a glimpse of reality if it were their buddies in war or etc...i know you simply cannot prepare for this stuff...but its better to be informed then be in the cold...heard stories of from vietnam veterans that some troops were reluctant to shoot at the enemy when they had a chance...but their were brillant on the training field...guess training your hearts out isn't quite the same as the real thing....

BIG NEWS----One panda died :( how sad
 

tphuang

Brigadier
VIP Professional
Registered Member
i found xinhui posting this on CDF
PLA陆航实力为10个战斗团、1所学院和1个试飞大队。救灾中动用了7个战斗团,总体表现令人满意。个人根据公开报道归纳了正反几个方面的特点,如有不妥之处请大家指正(因没出动武装直升机,故不涉及这一机型能力)。

第一,反应迅速,战斗意志顽强。2团驻地四川,震前正在进行正常训练,震后几分钟团政委便下令中断训练并转入战备待命状态,半小时即做好救灾起飞准备,随后接集团军命令起飞侦察灾情。这样的反应速度应该讲是相当快的,说明团领导的战备观念较强。在随后进行的大规模飞行救援中,各团飞行员们克服了种种困难,积极投入战斗,尤其是勇战恶劣天气在超气象条件下强行起降、克服人员少任务重等不利因素连续高强度飞行,表现出顽强的战斗意志令人敬佩。

第二,各型装备完好率较高。2团共有直升机30架左右,救灾中几乎倾巢出动,已经24岁“高龄”的S70同样有着相当高的出勤率,可见飞机的日常维护不错,新老装备都能起飞执行任务。又如1团,15日凌晨接到总参增援令,清晨7点即派出22架MI17(除去少量留守外,这几乎是该团所有可出动的运输机),下午2点半左右转场至邛崃场站,可见该团的主战装备完好率也比较高。

第三,直升机总量太少,与陆军规模不成比例。目前只有8个集团军编有陆航团,尚不到集团军总数的一半;整个成都军区防区包括数个省、市和自治区,而只有1 个团30架直升机。突发重大自然灾害后能从全军调集的机动力量也只有近百架飞机,总量太少了。另外,陆航团一般只有10-20架运输直升机(2团例外全部是运输机型),一次性投送能力只有一个步兵营,与几万人的集团军相比也显得单薄了一点。灾后要大力发展陆航,中远期目标要把18个集团军和新疆、西藏、内蒙古三个省军区配齐陆航团,再加一个总参直属团,就是22个战斗团;近期目标优先补充重点方向,如14、41、21军等。

第四,机种单一,缺重少轻。陆航目前现役几乎清一色是中型直升机,MI6退役后就没有重型机了,4团尚有几架小羚羊轻型机。由于缺乏重型机而吊运能力不足,无法在地面道路被毁情况下向重要地区运送大型机械装备,透过救灾行动要正视这个教训。考虑到MI26的使用成本高和机务维护复杂等问题,不一定每个陆航团都装备此机型,但至少应在4团中列编一个大队,以备不时之需。反之,轻型直升机可以担负战场侦察、打击效果评估、航拍等任务,能在一定程度上减轻其它机型的压力以适应多样化的任务需要。陆航机型单一虽有机务维护和人员培养成本低的优点,但有时也未必就是好事情。

第五,机载设备比较简陋。陆航现役主力是MI17系列直升机,辅以少量S70和直8A,MI17系列中只有近年服役的V5\V7型安装有较先进的航电设备,具备一定的复杂气象飞行能力,其它老机的航电设备过于简陋,能否飞复杂气象就看飞行员的技术和经验了。还有,透过失事飞机搜救过程不难看出机上缺乏现代化的导航和定位装置。随着我国北斗系统日趋完善,直升机上应尽快加装相关终端设备,和平时期能用人海战术搜寻失事飞机,战时怎么办呢?

第六,飞行骨干打疲劳战突显飞行员储备不足。汇总各媒体救灾报道可见不少飞行员每天飞行10多个小时,处于疲劳状态。这个现象的根源在于飞行员储备不足,飞机和机组比例偏低。以2团为例,有80 多名飞行员(2008年4月航校毕业刚分配来15名新人,因尚处于改装期不能上天执行任务)和30架左右的飞机,以标准3人机组(2名飞行员和1名空中机械师。失事的734号因为执行防疫专家运送任务,临时加强了机组,另增加了空中机械师和安全员各1人)计算,飞机和机组比例接近1:3。再看1团,接到增援令后派出22架飞机和200名官兵,除去必要的地勤人员,比例不会超过1:2。还有6团,派出了9架飞机和82 名官兵(共预备23个机组),即便按预备数比例也只有1:2.56。这个人机比应付常规任务还过得去,但应对战争就比较悬,一旦战损后补充飞行员比较难。对飞行员这类特殊人才不能完全按照普通单位定岗定人的做法,应保留一些冗余度,面对战争威胁陆航要大力发展,人才应该先行。

第七,全疆域作战能力不强。陆航部长马湘生曾对媒体透露“这次执行任务的过程中,天气、地形都比较复杂,特别是在狭窄地域内飞行活动频繁,给安全带来了极大压力,指挥协调组采取了一系列切实可行的科学措施。比如针对各任务部队来自四面八方,特别是一些北方部队对南方的地形、天气不了解等问题,重点安排南方陆航部队直接执行山沟任务,北方部队先执行一些亚高原任务,尔后逐步转入复杂地形。” 陆军集团军是担负有机动作战任务的野战部队,其编成内的陆航团也要“机动”起来,不能老在驻地附近训练和演习。陆航规模本来就偏小,如有战事各团都有可能增援上前线,怎样才能熟悉各敏感地区的气候和地型呢?在现有装备技术能力之内组织跨区训练是个有效的办法,就像地面部队一样。
looks interesting. Basically, he had many points, so I will do a summary here.
says the 2nd regiment was the most responsive and showed the best performance. It was training a lot before the quake, shows the high responsiveness of the regiment.
2nd regiment has 30 helicopter and they almost all were put to use, the blackhawks had a high sortie rate, shows how well maintained they are. The 1st regiment got the call on 15th and sent 22 Mi-17 into action.
a lot of talk about not having enough helicopter and transport helicopter. Having only medium transport helicopter like Mi-17, no heavy transport unless we include Mi-26.
The avionics on helicopters are generally simple, because the early Mi-17s all had very archaic avionics. Need to put Beidou navigation on these helicopters as soon as possible.
 

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