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New attack helicopters shortlisted.

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The Hon. John Moore, MP

Minister for Defence


Tuesday, 20 April 1999


New Attack Helicopters Shortlisted



The Minister for Defence, John Moore, today announced the shortlisted contenders for the provision of new, armed reconnaissance hel icopters (ARH) for the Australian Defence Force.


From an initial field of six tenders, the Agusta Scorpion , Eurocopter Tiger and Boeing Apache will be considered.


Australian industry involvement is an essential element of the ARH requirement. The shortlisted tenderers will be required to demonstrate in their bids, a commitment to enhancing the Defence capabilities of Australia’ $ aircraft industry.


The successful bid will replace the Vietnam War vintage Kiowa Light Observation Helicopter, and the Iroguois Gunship and Utility helicopters, currently based at Townsville, Oakey and Darwin,


“In reviewing the future needs of the Australian Army, there is an increased emphasis on aviation support for land operations,” Mr Moore said.


“The armed reconnaissance helicopters will be the centrepiece of Army’s modernisation. They will carry a sophisticated array of sensors, communications systems and weapons, which will enable true all-weather day and night operations.


“The ARH will employ these sensors, information management and weapons systems, to enable low altitude, day or night operation, in the demanding climatic conditions of northern Australia.


“The new helicopter will contribute to Army’s responsiveness and mobility. It will take the Australian Army into the 21 st Century, with high standard aerial reconnaissance, firepower, manoeuvrability and information management,” said Mr Moore.


The shortlisted helicopters seat two crew; a pilot and weapons systems officer; they are capable of speeds in excess of 28Okph and can fly as low as two metres off the ground to enhance survivability.


Features also include weapons for self-protection, offensive weapons to support ground forces, communications systems compatible with other ADF assets on the battlefield, and an ability to deploy rapidly anywhere in Australia and overseas.


“The number and quality of responses received in answer to the Request for Proposals, which closed in August 1998, clearly demonstrate the high regard in which Australia is held in the eyes of major defence manufacturers around the world,” Mr Moore said.


It is planned to issue a Request for Tender to the shortlisted companies late this year and to sign a contract in mid-2000. First aircraft deliveries are expected in 2003 with the first ARH squadron fully operational in 2906. Final deliveries will be in 2007.


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