Review of the Fleet
Initially, the research revealed that there are many different helicopter types, within the European NATO countries: 23 out of the 24 European countries that participate in the alliance use about 200 different helicopter types. Luxemburg has no helicopter fleet. Also, some of these types come in two or more configurations expanding even more the existing diversity.
After the NH-90 orders are delivered, most of the helicopters used by European Armies will fall into the medium category. This category will comprise 32 percent of the total fleet, with the light category following very closely with 30 per cent. Attack helicopters have reached
Four countries (France, Germany, Italy, and the UK) possess almost 60 percent of the total NATO European helicopter fleet. Each of them holds at least 14 percent of the total fleet, while the 14 less equipped European countries hold just 15 percent of the fleet.
The Eastern European countries carry helicopters constructed in former Soviet countries (Russia), and usually fall into the transport/assault category. Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary are the three Eastern European countries with the biggest helicopter fleet.
1: Luxemburg has no military helicopters
The UH-1 (with its variants) is the most successful helicopter in Europe, as there are still 648 “Hueys” operating for NATO European fleets. The SA-341 Gazelle follows with 385 helicopters. These two old designs are closely followed by the NH-90 now entering service. When existing orders are completed the NH-90 fleet will comprise seven per cent of the total fleet, with more than 340 helicopters in use. The heavy lift category is dominated by the CH-47 Chinook and the CH-53 Stallion.
In the attack helicopter category, the Tiger, after the Franco-German orders, will surpass the number of AH-64 variants that the UK, Greece and Netherlands possess. The A-129 Mangusta, with just 54 Italian Air Force helicopters in active service, has shown great potential as it has been chosen by the Turkish Army as its future attack helicopter.
The mostly used helicopter category in Eastern European countries is the Assult/Transport category. The three helicopter types that are mostly used in Eastern European countries are the Mi-8 Hip (with Mi-17 and Mi-9 variants), the Mi-24/35 Hind, and the Mi-2 Hoplite.
Simulation Devices Review
In Europe there are 60 motion simulators with six DoF, and 28 non-motion devices. Most of them belong to the Armies that use them. There are also some installed and operated by private enterprises (Rotorism, Helisim, MSHATF, and HFTS GmbH). An interesting approach is the Franco- German Tiger helicopter training center, where nine motion and nine non-motion devices are used by both French and German Armies for their training needs.
All of the existing motion simulators are installed in nine European countries, while only seven of them have installed non-motion simulators. The only Eastern European country with a simulator is Romania (IAR-330).
The Tiger is the helicopter with the most training devices in Europe. 18 out of the total 20 (11 motion, and nine non-motion devices) are installed at a single location. Other helicopter types with a relatively big number of available devices are the EC-135, with eight devices (for the German Army), and the UH-1 with 6 simulators. The Lynx, Chinook and Merlin helicopters come close enough with five, four, and three motion simulators respectively. Most of these devices are installed in the UK.
The UK, Germany, and France are the countries that have installed (self-owned or under PFI contract) training devices for all their key helicopter types. Spanish Army has established a simulation based training center (CESIFAMET) with devices for all available types of Army helicopters. Spanish Air Force and Navy have not adopted a similar approach to their helicopter training. Italy has also devices for all its key types except the NH-90, as it has not taken any actions yet.
Data collection for all NATO countries did not prove to be difficult. In a few cases contradictory information from the two main sources were presented. They proved to be print errors that were easily recognized and corrected after a more thorough research.
The statistical analysis, as it is shown in Appendices D, E, and F, added up that the linear regression model was the best for predicting non-motion simulators and the sum of the training devices, while the quadratic model was the best for predicting the number of motion simulators. The application of the models to predict number of simulators for each NATO European country is presented at Appendix G.