Bell and Boeing are placing their respective attack helicopter bids for Australia, which has unexpectedly kicked off an acquisition process to switch its Eurocopter Tiger helicopters.
Bell is offering its AH-1Z Viper strike helicopter, noting in a media statement that “the Bell AH-1Z is the only marinized assault helicopter on the earth that is planned and built for maritime activities and is confirmed in operations with the USA Marines Corps.”, noting that in addition to safety against saltwater the type is designed and developed from the outset to evolve with shipboard operations.
In the meantime, Boeing Australia has said it’ll put forward the AH-64E Apache for the Australian program, noting in a press release that the AH-64E “is a reasonably priced, confirmed and low-risk platform that fulfills or exceeds the Commonwealth of Australia’s capability requirements under the LAND-4503 plan.”
Australia’s Capacity, Acquisition and Sustainment Group or CASG had issued a Request for Data, or RFI, on July 1 for a “confirmed and mature, crewed, off-the-shelf equipped helicopter” to exchange its line of 22 Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance aircraft.
This system seeks a sum of 29 helicopters for the Australian Military, with 24 helicopters for operational taskings and the remainder as a training plane. The first position of the chosen type would be to carry out “reconnaissance, strikes and security operations” that include the ability to share the tactical image of the battlespace with friendly parts and force commanders.
Other necessities that respondents to the RFI will need to reply for are the ability of the helicopter’s to be carried by the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III air-lifter and other transport planes, interoperability with uncrewed aircraft systems to STANAG 4586 standards, in addition to its onboard communication programs such as datalinks.