Airbus Australia Pacific Managing Director Andrew Mathewson confirmed that Airbus has recently responded to the Commonwealth of Australia’s request for information for a four-tonne class, rapidly deployable, multi-role helicopter for Australian Special Forces under the Land 2097 Phase 4 project.
“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-theshelf platform with military-specific modifications and is an operationally proven, affordable and low-risk option for Australia,” said Andrew Mathewson.
“The H145M programme and systems are based on around five million hours of flying experience with the H145 family of aircraft which has over 1,300 units in service today.
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, and export this knowledge back into the wider H145M community,” he added.
Mathewson said that other strengths of the Airbus H145M included:
+ Excellent access and cabin space
+ Compact footprint for maximum agility
+ Excellent hot and high flight performance
Airbus Helionix cockpit which reduces pilot workload and allows greater situational awareness
+ Full multi-role capability allowing support to missions including aerial assault, aerial fire support, attack, + ISTAR, CASEVAC and general utility tasks
+ High availability; reliable and robust systems; a small logistic footprint; proven by operations in similar configuration, roles and environment
+ High rotor clearance and shrouded Fenestron for operations close to obstacles
“Airbus stands ready to respond to the next stage in the tender process,” Mathewson added.
Australian Land 2097 Phase 4 project
Last year, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) released a Request for Information (RFI) to acquire new special operations helicopter under the Land 2097 Phase 4 project.
The RFI stated that the DoD is planning to acquire a fleet of light helicopters to enhance the Special Operations Aviation Capability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as advised in the 2016 Defence White Paper.
According to the RFI released, the helicopters are to be proven (already in service) Commercial or Military off the shelf, optimised for operating in dense urban environments, and capable of being rapidly deployed by air transport in ADF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft.
The helicopter should be also capable of being fitted with simple, proven, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) equipment and weapons systems.
The new helicopters are scheduled to enter service around 2023