• The Tiger replacement program will be managed under Land 4503
    The Tiger replacement program will be managed under Land 4503 Defence

Airbus Helicopters is offering a 'cost-effective' approach for taking the Tiger platform beyond 2040, in response to the Commonwealth's Request for Information (RFI) for the Project Land 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Capability.

The RFI seeks solutions for the Army’s future armed reconnaissance helicopter needs.

Airbus is the manufacturer of the tandem seat Tiger helicopters introduced to the Army in 2004. Eighteen of the 22 units were assembled at the Airbus site in Brisbane. The fleet has been supported in Australia for more than 15 years.

According to Airbus Helicopters, the proposal will offer the Army more than $3 billion in savings against the expected budget for Land 4503.

“Tiger is an extremely agile, effective, and digitally connected armed reconnaissance helicopter,” Andrew Mathewson, Airbus Australia Pacific Managing Director, said.

“Since delivery, the Australian Tiger has matured into a fully operational army capability, and is integrated into the combined arms team. It continues to prove itself as an adaptable platform, and is now a key element of Australia’s amphibious capabilities on-board the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Docks.”

Cost per flight hour of the Australian Tiger has reduced by more than 30 per cent, and the sortie success rate is currently sitting at above 95 per cent.

“Airbus proudly delivers a strong Australian industry capability, including more than 260 local staff supporting Tiger,” Mathewson added.

The Tiger fleet has 120,000 flights hours logged by international operators, including more than 30,000 in Australia. It has provided support to counter insurgency operations in Mali, security operations in Afghanistan, and amphibious strike in Libya.

Globally, 181 Tigers have been delivered to Australia, France, Germany and Spain.

ADM's Deputy Editor Nigel Pittaway will have more on this story in the next edition of Defence Week.

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