Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Saturday "toy"

click the pic to enlarge
We wrote about them in early December, and here they are in the flesh, the fabled "Carson" blades, attached to real live helicopters.

The picture, courtesy of the MoD, shows two Royal Navy Sea King HC Mk4 support helicopters, currently being deployed on operations in Afghanistan, and the story is that they "are benefiting from greatly improved performance thanks to new composite rotor blades increasing carrying capacity and speed."

This, in fact, is a minor technological miracle, transforming these venerable workhorses into more powerful machines, able to take their place in the front line of Afghanistan, significantly adding to the capabilities there.

The "miracle" is the US-designed Carson composite blades which, together with a new AgustaWestland five-bladed tail rotor, increases hover performance by 2,000lb and forward speed by up to 49 knots, all without increasing engine power.

At a cost of £5.25 million, carried out under the UOR programme, this, says the MoD, allows the Sea King to undertake a wider range of tasks in a demanding operational environment, proving a great asset to UK and other NATO forces conducting operations in Afghanistan.

Needless to say, ignored by the MSM, this is a small but important good news story and one that shows that the news is not always bad.