Air Platforms

Australia progresses qualification of Tiger helicopters on Canberra class

24 October 2018

A Tiger ARH helicopter conducting first-of-class flight trials on board HMAS Canberra. Source: Commonwealth of Australia

Key Points

  • Australia has completed further trials of the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter on board its first Canberra-class vessel
  • Aircraft will provide the amphibious assault ship with forward scouting, strike capabilities

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has inched closer towards fully qualifying the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) on board its Canberra-class amphibious assault ships.

The service's aircraft maintenance and flight trials unit (AMAFTU) has been conducting follow-on first-of-class flight trials (FOCFT) with the type from on board HMAS Canberra (L 02) since early September 2018, with the aim of establishing the helicopter as an embarked capability.

The RAN conducted initial trials of the Tiger ARH helicopters in February 2017. Among processes that will be carried out during the latest FOCFT include the establishment of ship-helicopter operating limits (SHOLS) under various environmental conditions, assessment of aviation facilities, and equipment calibration.

To achieve the environmental conditions required to define the operating limits, the FOCFT has been conducted at various locations around the country, including Darwin Harbour, the Arafura Sea, and the Pacific Ocean route between Australia and New Caledonia.

"The geographical variety permitted operations in high temperatures, calm seas, and light winds, along with higher winds and sea states to induce increased pitch and roll," said the service via its official publication, Navy Daily . "This culminated in the validation of proposed wind envelopes in conditions up to Sea State 5 at the end of the trial," it added.

Among Australian Defence Force (ADF) aircraft that can be operated from the amphibious ship include the S-70B-2 Seahawk and S-70 Black Hawk helicopters. In mid-2016, the RAN also conducted deck landings of the US Marine Corps' (USMC's) Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion and MV-22 Osprey aircraft on board Canberra as part of the Rim of the Pacific ('RIMPAC') 2016 international naval exercise in waters of Hawaii.

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