Tiger replacement project kicks off

Just two years after achieving Final Operating Capability – with nine caveats that could prevent it being deployed on operations – the hunt to find Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter’s replacement has formally commenced.

FILE PHOTO (Sept 2015): Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters land at RAAF Learmonth during Exercise Northern Shield. Photo by Corporal Janine Fabre

Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on 1 July this year, with a closing date of 30 August.

Little detail is publicly available on the Austender web site, but a report in Jane’s Defence says the Australian Army is seeking 29 helicopters to replace its 22 Tigers.

Jane’s also says the RFI stipulates the replacement helicopter should be a “proven and mature, off-the-shelf” system to “deliver armed reconnaissance efforts in close and deep contested battlespace”.

It should also be capable of interoperability with unmanned systems, presumably RAAF’s MQ-9 Reaper drones.

Tiger ARH has a poor reputation inside and especially outside of Defence, had a planned mid-life upgrade cancelled and its replacement was flagged more than two years ago (even before it achieved Final Operating Capability) in the 2016 Defence White Paper.

Achieving Final Operating Capability is usually a very big deal in the lifecycle of any Defence platform, yet Defence PR and Airbus Helicopters (both usually very proactive in their promotion of such matters) were notably quiet when it came time to trumpet this significant milestone when it happened – see editorial here.

The Jane’s report says CASG and the Australian Army is seeking to achieve Final Operating Capability on Tigers replacement by 2028 – making Tiger one of the shortest-lived major operational platforms in ADF history.

Can anyone nominate a shorter-lived platform? – comments below.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

20 thoughts on “Tiger replacement project kicks off

  • 02/09/2019 at 10:48 pm
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    Can we please see a spreadsheet of the repl@cement copters and the upgrade to the latest spec Tigers upgrade. At long last we have the Tigers doing what they are supposed to do. Is it wise to replace something that’s just coming into its own?.

    Reply
  • 14/07/2019 at 10:55 pm
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    Boeing’s bid for the ARH (with the AH-64D), seen as too expensive at the time, would now be considered a relative bargain and dream buy for Army considering the uselessness and cost of the Tiger.
    The Army was literally going to have to reinvent the wheel with Tiger in terms of capability and integration with our major partners in order for it to be of any use!
    So what have we learnt through this epic failure? That we need a ‘proven and mature, off-the-shelf system’ apparently.
    In what world were the decision makers living in when giving the contract to Airbus for an aircraft that was the exact opposite of all those things to begin with?
    The US Army is indicating the Apache will be flying for AT LEAST another three decades. Boeing is set to continue supporting and upgrading the AH-64 for AT LEAST that amount of time.
    So, is the Apache the helicopter we needed all along? It certainly seems to fit the RFI of ‘proven, mature and off-the-shelf’.
    Just like it did when original AIR 87 bids were submitted!

    Reply
    • 10/09/2019 at 11:37 am
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      Although I thoroughly believe the Apache or Viper would be a better option for Australian requirements, lets not just blame the Tiger for the problems incurred. Anyone who has worked in the defence industry will realise that the ADF regularly changes requirements that mirror nothing on the original requirements.

      Reply
  • 14/07/2019 at 7:43 pm
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    Yes, more waste, heads should roll over this, but i am sure they have been promoted and now carry a lot of medals.
    The pollies have long gone by now and we are no doubt still paying them, SNAFU AS USUAL.
    Good call on NZ buying them. At least we will get some use out of these ones though.
    Great mag by the way.

    Reply
  • 14/07/2019 at 5:41 pm
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    Pyne class helicopters

    Reply
  • 14/07/2019 at 11:38 am
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    Yes, I think the Austin Champ may win the prize. It was in service in the late 1950s and was gone by the mid 60s. A dreadful vehicle, prone to rolling over.

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    • 14/07/2019 at 11:59 am
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      Thanks Champ 😉
      I hadn’t heard of that one. Before my time 🙂

      Reply
  • 14/07/2019 at 11:34 am
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    So we’ll end up with the helo we should have bought in the first place and the Indo’s will be rubbing their hands together at the thought of another ‘buy 1, get 3’ deal in another offer of appeasement and regional stability.

    Reply
  • 14/07/2019 at 11:18 am
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    Apache or Cobra which during the 2nd gulf war was actually beating the famed Apache in reliability survivabilty and in availability its why the Marines continue to upgrade and update the unit even though the government would much rather handle one system ! Also can anyone say Russian ! Seriously they make Salome of the best attack helicopters in the world! Anyway thanks for earring this far! I have no doubt that Apache is what we will get if pilots and the people who have to keep them going get a say. But if it goes the way it usually does we will get the mark 2 version of what we have once again adapted for US weapons rather than the euro ones it was designed for primarily more money wasted!

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  • 14/07/2019 at 11:08 am
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    I think by the comment of mature off shelf would be the Apache given both the UK & US still use them Operational wise.

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  • 14/07/2019 at 9:47 am
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    Appalling waste of taxpayers money by Defence yet again…and again…and again ad Infinitum.

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  • 14/07/2019 at 9:43 am
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    There is no ‘hunt’ for a replacement everyone knows what it is and why it should have been bought in the first place, the UK got it right and its always been and always will be the Apache.

    But Defence being the new age touchy feely everyone gets a prize wank that it is will after an extensive and drawn out circle jerk will probably buy the Tiger II.

    Reply
    • 14/07/2019 at 11:01 am
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      So, what you’re really saying is there shouldn’t be a ‘hunt’ – but there probably is a ‘hunt’ 🙂

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      • 14/07/2019 at 3:12 pm
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        No hunt at all, Defence is going full integration with US Forces…..from the makeup of combat teams right down to equipment, its going to be Apache end of story. Parliament just has to go through its circle jerk committee process to confirm it so Sarah Hanson Young & co can feel like their active participants in governing.

        Reply
  • 10/07/2019 at 6:56 pm
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    Yes the Sea Sprite Helicopter, maybe the Kiwis will buy the Tigers!

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    • 10/07/2019 at 6:58 pm
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      I did think of the Seasprite, Jerry, but I don’t think they actually even made it into service – certainly not past Final Operational Capability.

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      • 13/07/2019 at 12:51 am
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        They did for the Kiwis. Also the Sea Sprites were well past their use by dates after the Vietnam war.
        Frames were old, far too slow and small for what was needed and typical of Australia another bad procured bit of kit.

        Reply

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