Page 34 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
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“Defence has received
unsolicited responses from industry to replace Tiger, but it says it has not yet selected a platform or system.”
User feedback regarding the platform via social media is exceptional.
“The Australian Army has an impressive, highly capable, ARH Tiger capability. Some examples of this professional level of capa- bility can be seen on the 1st Aviation Regi- ment Facebook pages,” an Airbus Helicop- ters spokesperson said. “ARH replacement requirements are not yet defined, however Airbus continues to improve and enhance the Tiger through the existing Through Life Support (TLS) with the Commonwealth. There will be opportunities to leverage both Mk.2 and Mk.3 developments to ensure that the ARH Tiger meets the anticipated Aus- tralian requirements well into the 2030s.”
Airbus said that, as an active member of the Tiger user community, it expects en- gagement to continue regarding enhance- ments to meet specific Australian require- ments, but Defence’s written response seems to have a bet each way.
“Australia currently operates a variant of the European Tiger, modified in some respects for Australian-specific environ- mental conditions. As such, Australia is a close observer of all European Tiger devel- opment programs,” the statement said, but then added. “Australia is not an active par- ticipant in the future Tiger program.”
Bell AH-1Z Viper
Bell’s AH-1Z is the US Marine Corps’ latest generation of attack helicopter and is replac-
ing the earlier AH-1W vari- ant in front line service.
As of early June, almost 100 of the 189 aircraft on order for the USMC had been
delivered and it has also been exported to Pakistan. In April, the US Government also announced the possible sale of 12 heli- copters to Bahrain.
John Woodbery, Bell’s military business director for the Asia-Pacific region points to the Viper’s marinisation as a key discrim- inator for any country wishing to build an amphibious capability, with the helicopter routinely deployed for months at sea aboard US Navy LHDs.
“When we come to the table we have a built for purpose aircraft, designed from scratch to be operated from a ship in a salt water environment,” he said to ADM. “Any helicopter can land on a ship, but when you go on long deployments in a salt water en- vironment, if you design an aircraft from scratch for that environment it’s a big bo- nus, it reduces the cost of ownership and it ensures a good rate of reliability.”
Bell has teamed with BAE Systems Australia for its Land 4503 activities, but Woodbery says he doesn’t see any move- ment from the timeline laid out by the 2016 White Paper.
“We’re looking at what’s written in the White Paper and where the ADF and Army are going with their plans to be an amphibi- ous-capable force,” he added. “We’re marry- ing those statements up with the AH-1Z’s capabilities, what it is designed to do and
who it’s currently employed by – and the two mesh together quite nicely.”
Boeing AH-64E Apache
The Apache is well known throughout the world as the US Army’s attack helicopter capability and variants are also operated by many other countries. The latest ver- sion, the AH-64E was displayed at the 2017 Avalon Airshow and Jeff Shelton, vice president of Global Sales and Market- ing for Boeing Defence Space and Security says the company has provided Army with information on the helicopter in the Land 4503 context, and is ready to offer it in ac- cordance with the White Paper timeline.
“The AH-64E offers the Australian Army the interoperability to integrate land, joint and coalition tactical networks,” he said. “The Apache is currently being pro- duced for the US Army and international customers, with an active production line until 2026.
“The US Army will continue to upgrade its helicopters through a modernisation program to keep the fleet ready and relevant to the mid century and beyond.”
Shelton says the US Army has stated that the Apache will be in service until at least 2060 and the global fleet consists of around 1,100 helicopters.
“Combined with Boeing Defence Aus- tralia’s proven platform sustainment solu- tions, Apache is capable of meeting the Aus- tralian Army’s future reconnaissance and attack aviation requirements for decades to come,” he said.
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