back to article Helicopters: President buys British, Queen buys American

The Queen's new helicopter will be supplied by an American company, it has been announced - just as a plan to replace the US President's helicopters with British-made ones seems to be faltering. In the late '90s the former Queen's Flight of the Royal Air Force was amalgamated with 32 Squadron and the Wessex helicopters …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity they couldn't listen to the end user

    20 years ago the British Army wanted the Blackhawk and the Chinook; pity they didn't listen to them then :-(

  2. Bob Kentridge
    IT Angle

    Sea King with classes

    "The new S76 C++, which will continue..."

    Apols for apalling IT pun, coat, door etc.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    It says a lot about the Americans when their Pretentious Prez cannot fly in a chopper without all that crap (anti missile, anti nuclear) but our Queen can. Too bad she has chosen an American chopper but then again, do we even HAVE any British ones left?!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    S-76 C++?

    Sounds like it's going to be one hell of a bloated, slow helicopter.

  5. Chris C

    Waste of taxpayers money

    This is a huge waste of taxpayers' money on both sides of the pond. As for the President, maybe he should just get an Airbus A380 since he obviously needs such grand accommodations. Personally, I don't see why he needs a bathroom in his helicopter. Let him shit out the window. The American people are used to getting shit on by the president anyway. Imagine what we, as a scientific society, could do with the money wasted to shuffle about these useless meatsacks.

  6. Robert Synnott
    Paris Hilton


    Wasn't the US considering an Airbus A380 as the new Air Force 1, as well?

  7. Matthew Macdonald-Wallace
    Gates Horns

    .net travel

    "The new S76 C++, which will continue to provide the Royal Family with a helicopter travel service for official engagements, was chosen as... providing the best value and producing the lowest carbon footprint," said Captain Christopher Pittaway, Manager and Chief Pilot of The Queen's Helicopter Flight."

    /me waits for MS to jump on the bandwagon and release a C# chopper...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    specification conspiracy?

    Is it possible that the merkins just added items to their shopping list until they broke the payload limit?

    Crap argument, but I wanted to use the black helicopter logo

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Pity they couldn't listen to the end user

    Well, the British Army may be the "end user", but they aren't the operator; all battlefield helicopters above a certain size are operated by the RAF. From an operational point of view Blackhawk was too small to be a viable Wessex/Puma replacement, Merlin makes a lot more sense; a later version of Puma/Cougar might have made even more sense, but wasn't going to be acceptable politically.

    I think the Merlin 'problems' are being a little overstated, although I know it is difficult to believe that the British press would do such a thing! Merlin was designed to be a Seaking replacement, and to operate from the same platforms as the existing choppers. I have pilot friends in both the RAF and RN who are more than happy with their new mount.

    And politics works both ways; the USAF are going to be fielding a developed version of the CH-47 as their new CSAR helicopter, despite it's being the rank outsider in the recent CSAR-X competition - for good reason, as it was not really the best aircraft for the job!!

    Of course the most important question is.... which country will Paris be buying her choppers from?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless waste of fuel, money, time ...

    ... flying these useless monkeys around in helicopters.

  11. Shaun

    Carbon Footprint?

    A lower Carbon footprint compared to what? I'm sure a Hummer does better milage.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    A380 for the prez?

    Come on, usually, aircraft sale is political, so there is no way Air Force one will be an aircraft designed in Europe.

    Add to that the fact that since they're so old fashioned, they wouldn't want an aircraft designed within the last 25 years, that would be way too modern, let alone last 5!

    Amazing how much $hite comes from Washington (not DC, for once).... doit etre le trou du q du monde, in my best French!

  13. Law

    RE: S-76 C++?

    "Sounds like it's going to be one hell of a bloated, slow helicopter."

    Wait until you see the new improved S-76 C# version..... at least it is better than the Java Kings version though...

  14. laird cummings
    Thumb Down

    @Jim Booth; pretension

    << "It says a lot about the Americans when their Pretentious Prez cannot fly in a chopper without all that crap..." >>

    Do recall, if you will, that the President is actually the chief executive the most influential and powerful nuclear power on the planet, whilst the Queen, lovely lady though I'm sure she is, is a parasitical hanger-on of an outdated and largely superceeded medieval system of government. If it all drops in the pot in mid-flight, what's the Queen going to actually be *doing* from her helicopter? Launching nuclear corgis? OTOH, It's quite plausible that the President might well be doing rather more than that... Well, maybe not *this* President, but the fleet is purchesd to outlast several Presidents.

  15. b166er

    Nuclear blast proofed?

    How on earth are they going to test/accomplish that?

  16. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    @Nuclear blast proofed?

    How on earth are they going to test/accomplish that?

    Easy. Put it on a south-sea island and wait for the French to get itchy again.

  17. Chad H.

    buying american?

    Damn, hasnt HRH seen any of those american sitcoms where "American Made" is the but of a joke involiving faulty, or just plain crap, gadget?

    Do the Taiwaneese make Choppers?

  18. Barry
    Dead Vulture

    Power settling

    The problem sited about the Merlin is called power settling. All helicopters are subject to it. But you do need enough grunt to get off the ground. I hoisted 4 dewatering pumps to a sinking boat on heavy fog and watched the wisps of fog curl up and back down though our HH-3Fs blades. It was so cool. We left the seen by going straight up until we could see the stars. Ya just have to have power if you fly a helicopter.

  19. Jeff Wojciechowski

    Turbo Version??

    Wonder if Sikorsky makes a S76 Turbo C++ edition??

    Sorry, couldn't resist this horrible joke!

  20. Antony Riley
    Thumb Up

    Tax-Payers money?

    I wouldn't be too worried about the queen spending tax payers money for anything from the US, at the rate the exchange rate is going she'll be paying peanuts for it.

    On the other hand, at the rate the US economy is going, she'll be lucky if it ever gets delivered.

    Of course the US government might buy something eventually after having paid for several overrun failed projects, but I wouldn't worry about that in short-medium term.

  21. J

    Made in...

    American, British, whatever... The electronic parts are probably made in China anyway for either one.

    S76 C++, yeah. There is your IT angle indeed.

  22. Mr Fuzzy

    @laird cummings

    To be fair the monarchy of this country is trained from birth to head the military, and I'd suspect that if need be the queen would have no compunction in ordering any action.

    Note: Not a monarchist, just pointing out that it's a traditional duty.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Mr Fuzzy

    "To be fair the monarchy of this country is trained from birth to head the military, and I'd suspect that if need be the queen would have no compunction in ordering any action"


  24. heystoopid

    Ho Ho !

    Don't those pesky Russian polecats have some very durable heavy lift radiation hardened proofed MIL MI-19/19R helicopters for sale going cheap ?

    Or perhaps a MIL MI-8 re-powered by two Isotov TV3-117 engines from the flying tank variant could easily handle the rated loads ?

  25. Gower
    Black Helicopters


    I thought the monarchy pay for themselves through tourism? anyway I support the British government looking after old people just wish they'd broaden the scope.

    I believe that most choppers create a vortex in they're own downwash which can lead to rapid vertical descent...

    Sea Kings all round I say

  26. Mr Larrington

    @Andy Goodair

    "which country will Paris be buying her choppers from?"

    Did Paris /ever/ have to pay for it?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weight Troubles

    According to the current issue of International Airpower Review, the weight issues in the VH-71 version of the Merlin arose when not one, but two safes were added to the helicopter after the Merlin was selected. The current VH-3s do not have safes. Surely any IT person can understand scope creep?

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