Airbus Australia Pacific Managing Director Andrew Mathewson has confirmed that Airbus had recently responded to the Commonwealth request for information for a four-ton class, rapidly deployable, multi-role helicopter for Special Forces.
“The Airbus H145M helicopter is the military version of the H145 – the most advanced member of Airbus’ multi-purpose twin-engine category. It is based on a commercial off-the-shelf platform with military-specific modifications and is an operationally proven, affordable and low-risk option for Australia,” Mathewson said.
“The Airbus Australia Pacific response included selected industry partners and the provision of training, maintenance, logistics and engineering activities. A comprehensive transfer of technology and skills will make Airbus Australia Pacific a regional centre able to proactively support Australian operational needs.”
The RFI calls for a proven light commercial or military off the shelf helicopter (COTS/MOTS) which is already in service and able to be rapidly transported aboard the RAAF’s C-17A Globemaster aircraft.
The helicopter must be optimised for operations in dense urban environments and capable of being fitted with “simple” electro-optic sensors (EOS) and weapons. Four helicopters are required to be uplifted by a single C-17 and must be capable of accommodating two pilots and four troops sitting on the cabin floor.
The primary role for the new helicopter is air assault by small teams of Special Forces troops.