Babcock has down-selected the Bell 429 helicopter in its bid for the LAND 2097 Phase 4 Project to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF)’s Special Operations helicopter capability.
The company said in a statement that it completed a comprehensive assessment of the platforms available in order to provide the most capable, low-risk solution. The Bell 429 Global Ranger will be customised to meet the specific requirements of Australian Special Forces, using Babcock’s proven low risk approach to systems integration.
Babcock Australasia’s Managing Director – Land, Graeme Nayler, said the Bell 429 Global Ranger was assessed to be the most suitable helicopter in response to the evolving needs of the ADF.
“The Bell 429 has a relatively new paramilitary design, with high levels of safety, role flexibility and performance that will meet the demands of Australian Special Forces,” he said. “Working together, Babcock and Bell draw on a global track record of successful helicopter operations to deliver a trusted solution.”
“Babcock has put the customer first in selecting a reliable, adaptable solution that will remain responsive to the needs of our Special Forces. The Australian Defence Force requires absolute confidence in its Special Operations helicopters capability together with cost-effective customisation and ongoing sustainment. Our solution is trusted to deliver.”
Bell is an iconic American helicopter manufacturer with over 80 years’ experience supporting the U.S. military and other Defence forces throughout the world.
Bell’s Managing Director, Asia Pacific, David Sale, said Bell has a well-earned reputation for ruggedness and reliability.
“As one of the world’s leading helicopter manufacturers, Bell is in a strong position to offer reliable, cost-effective global support for the ongoing maintenance and sustainment of the ADF’s Special Operations helicopter fleet,” he said. “The Bell 429 is rugged and reliable. It is operationally robust and favoured by pilots and crew throughout the world with more than 330 aircraft exceeding 330,000 hours of operation. With an open architecture system and global support in place, the Bell 429 Global Ranger has the capacity to perform consistently and adapt rapidly to new technologies and evolving requirements.”
“Babcock’s success as a Defence Prime is attributed to its ability to offer capability-focussed solutions that select the best products and services tailored to the specific needs of the customer,” said Graeme Nayler. “Babcock operates helicopters from all of the major manufacturers and understands the relative advantages of each system and provider. Babcock’s selection of Bell and the Global Ranger also offers closer ties to US Defence industry, and an opportunity to improve interoperability with US and other contemporary military capabilities.”
LAND 2097 Phase 4
The LAND 2097 Phase 4 project seeks to procure 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.