Military Capabilities

Australian think-tank suggests retaining Tiger helicopters to make funds available for innovation

10 December 2019

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a leading Australian defence think-tank, has recommended retaining the Australian Army’s fleet of Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters (ARHs) in service until at least 2030 and using AUD3 billion (USD2 billion) of savings to promote innovation.

In a report published by the institute, Marcus Hellyer described the proposed replacement in the mid-2020s of the 22 ARHs with 29 mature, off-the-shelf systems under Project Land 4503 as a clear opportunity to avoid an expensive “like-for-like” replacement of a manned platform.

Boeing’s AH-64E Apache and Bell’s AH-1Z Viper helicopters have both been formally offered to Australia as ARH replacements, while Airbus Australia Pacific is proposing to incrementally enhance the ARH’s current capability by leveraging features of the European Tiger MkIII upgrade programme: a move the company says will save AUD3 billion out to 2040.

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