Tuesday, December 6, 2022

U.S. attack helicopters to compete for Australia armed reconnaissance requirement

The U.S.-made AH-64E Apache and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to compete for Australia’s LAND 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) replacement program requirement.

Boeing ‘s AH-64E Apache, Bell’s AH-1Z Viper along with Europian Tiger attack helicopter have been formally offered to Australia to meet the country’s Project Land 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Capability (ARC) requirement.

Bell with the AH-1Z Viper and Boeing with the AH-64E Apache confirmed that they’re pitching for Australia’s LAND 4503 attack helicopter program, while Airbus says almost $3 billion will be saved by persisting with the Tiger in an upgraded configuration.


Airbus offers an improved version of its Tiger attack helicopter.

Airbus Helicopters has also confirmed its interest: “Airbus is fully committed to keeping Tiger in service in Australia, well beyond 2025 which is the timeframe in the recent [through-life support] contract extension. We are confident that we can offer a cost-effective modernisation of the platform to take it through to the 2040s.”

Boeing, in turn, said that Australia would not only benefit from the AH-64’s mission capabilities, it would also enjoy its technological and strategic advantages against adversary aircraft; a global parts and supply network and a domestic training, support and sustainment team. Boeing’s Australia operations currently support the nation’s C-17 Globemaster III, Airborne Early Warning & Control and other systems, helping to grow Australia’s domestic aerospace and defence industry and supply base.

“Boeing’s AH-64E Apache is known for its survivability, sustainability, interoperability and reconnaissance capability,” said Terry Jamison, Global Sales and Marketing, Defense, Space and Security. “As an Apache operator, Australia would join coalition countries, including the US and UK, and regional partners Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.”

Australia would also benefit from the US Government’s Apache Modernization program, which will see the platform upgraded through the late-2040s and beyond to ensure global fleet partners continue to operate the most advanced multi-role combat helicopter for decades to come.

The Australian government is seeking 29 helicopters that would reach full operating capability by 2029. It’s also seeking the availability of local industrial capability to sustain the fleet. The aircraft would replace the nation’s current fleet of Tiger helicopters.

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Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.