• A Bell 429 operated by Navy on lease from Raytheon at Avalon 2019.
Nigel Pittaway
    A Bell 429 operated by Navy on lease from Raytheon at Avalon 2019. Nigel Pittaway

Babcock has outlined its Australian Industry Capability (AIC) plan for the Special Forces helicopter requirement under Land 2097 Phase 4, should the company secure the contract.

The company is bidding the Bell 429 Global Ranger. Bell is also partnered with Hawker Pacific in a separate bid, and the third bidder is Airbus with the H145M helicopter.

The company says that 95 per cent of the helicopters’ maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) will be undertaken in Australia, which it expects to generate $326.6 million in economic benefits and 178 new jobs.

The AIC plan comprises 12 Australian SMEs in addition to educational institutions and community organisations. The SMEs include Airspeed Composites, Bend-Tech, Craig International Ballistics, Eagle Copters Australasia, FlightSafety International, HeliMods, L3Harris Technologies, Logistic Engineering Services, MMC Learning and Development (MMCLD), Omni Executive, Praxis Aerospace and Virtual Simulation Systems.

Chief Executive Officer David Ruff said the AIC commitment was integral to Babcock Australasia’s strategic focus of building Australia’s defence capability and capacity.

“Supporting AIC is embedded in our approach to current and future business and fully aligns with the Australian Department of Defence’s AIC program,” he said. “We recognise the importance of supporting Australian innovation and developing and enhancing local skills, knowledge, systems, technology and infrastructure to meet Australia’s defence capability goals, create jobs and support economic growth.

“The plan for acquisition is supported by an integrated capability model, Babcock’s Australian Industry Development Office (AIDO), which enables major suppliers and SMEs alike to maximise their current capability and grow that capability for future resilience.”

Under the AIC plan, Eagle Copters Australasia will receive the aircraft, re-assemble, and provide ongoing maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) on the helicopter and communications system in Australia.

L3Harris Technologies will transfer training technologies to Babcock Australasia and Cobham Aviation Services in Australia to enable support during acquisition and ongoing training for installation and line maintenance of the EO/IR (Electro-Optical/Infra-Red) turrets.

In addition, Craig International Ballistics will design the armour concept for the Bell 429 helicopter, including 2D and 3D renders; Virtual Simulation Systems will develop the crew training device; Praxis Aerospace will provide the required certification for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) systems safety, human factors and airworthiness; MMC Learning and Development will provide training products and services; and HeliMods will be the Approved Defence Organisation under Civil Aviation Safety Regulations and will carry out modifications in Australia.

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