Army's Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) serial #001 has flown 2000 hours, the first of any Tiger in the global fleet to achieve the milestone.
Under the command of LTCOL Dave Lynch, a highly experienced pilot and instructor, ARH Tiger 001 reached the 2000 hours on a flight from the Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey to Enoggera Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane.
Aircraft #001 was the first of two ARH Tigers delivered to the Australian Army in December 2004 and is the only aircraft in the Australian fleet fitted with specialist flight test instrumentation, which enables data collection for aircraft and fleet management in Australian conditions, and for the weapons performance and flight envelopes.
Other milestones to date in France and in Australia on aircraft #001 include the initial acceptance flight trials in 2004, the first 70mm rocket firings on the Cazaux test range in France in 2004, the first Hellfire missile firings from a Tiger on the Woomera test range in Australia, the first Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System Laser Guided rocket firings from a Tiger on the Woomera range in 2016 and the first Australian embarked Tiger ship trials on LHD HMAS Canberra in 2017.
LTCOL Lynch is the Commanding Officer of the School of Army Aviation at Oakey where Army and Airbus Qualified Flying Instructors work together in a close partnering arrangement to deliver some of the most highly skilled pilots in the ADF to the 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin. The five ARH Tigers at Oakey, including ARH #001 are maintained by Airbus Group Australia Pacific.
“The Tiger aircraft is a potent weapon system that we have worked hard to mature to a point where it delivers the required effects on time and on target,” LTCOL Lynch said.
“The aircraft itself has best–in-class agility and manoeuvrability which enhances our ability to employ the precise weapon effects to fight and win in either the land or amphibious environment. This agility also makes it an absolute dream to fly, as it has crisp control response and truly carefree handling characteristics, enabling greater focus on the mission.”
Managing director Airbus Group Australia Pacific Tony Fraser was on hand to witness the Tiger’s arrival after the milestone flight and said “we are very proud of our contribution to the security, sensor and lethal operational effects that you bring to your soldiers through the ARH Tiger.”
Army ordered 22 ARH Tigers from Airbus, the last of which was delivered in 2011.