Companies are readying bids for Australia’s Project LAND 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Capability programme for 29 attack helicopters.
Three contenders have made themselves known including Airbus Helicopters, Textron subsidiary Bell and Boeing.
Airbus Helicopters is marketing its Tiger Mk3 as the ‘Tiger platform beyond 2020’. Boeing is pitching local industrial workshare as it promotes its AH-64E Apache. Bell is offering up the AH-1Z Viper, a marinised platform designed for amphibious operations and used by the U.S. Marine Corps and a few other nations.
Initial Operational Capability is set for 2026 with 12 airframes delivered and Final Operational Capability for the entire 29-unit fleet targeted for 2028. The Australian defence department reportedly plans for 24 of these new helicopters to be based at a single location while the remaining five will serve as trainers.
Bell with the AH-1Z Viper and Boeing with the AH-64E Apache confirmed that they’re pitching for Australia’s LAND4503 attack helicopter program, while Airbus says A$3b will be saved by persisting with the Tiger in upgraded form pic.twitter.com/SAVpHu64F6
— Mike Yeo 杨启铭 (@TheBaseLeg) August 30, 2019
Each offering represents a mature platform which is something sought under the RFI.
“The acquisition strategy aims to reduce operational and in-service risk, and to allow the Australian Army to rapidly achieve operational milestones for the replacement armed reconnaissance capability, whilst achieving value for money,” the RFI states.