Helicopters key to Australian business proposition

Selex ES Australia executive chairman Michael Lenton has flagged some key areas of the firm’s Defence business focus, with a special emphasis on its involvement with Leonardo helicopters Australia.

“The first thing that comes to mind is Leonardo's helicopters, that's very present here in Australia,” Lenton told Defence Connect.

“We’re supporting about 90 helicopters between Australia and New Zealand. Most of those helicopters are the AW139, which you may have seen operating in the civil context of emergency service, emergency medical transport and surveillance. Then there is our contribution to the NH90, or the MRH90 program, and that's a significant medium transport helicopter used by the Australian Defence Force.

“Then there's of course the executive helicopters of the 139-169 and the 109 models of the Leonardo helicopter.”

He emphasised that the company was firmly ensconced in the Australian market.

“We're quite present here, we've got a well-established in country installed base,” he said, adding that the real challenge lay in continuing to satisfy the company’s customers in terms of through-life support of the hardware.

Indeed, Lenton went on to say that going forward, this would be an increasingly important focus for the firm.

“We now have a large base out of Essendon airport in Melbourne, and we're supporting them through that base and through the supply chain that we've also established here in Australia,” he said.

“So it's certainly building nicely, and now that gives us the credibility to also start moving where possible into the defence helicopter market as well. We're promoting unmanned rotary wing helicopters … for naval applications and ground-based operations as well.”

Lenton also touched on the company’s involvement with the land arm of the Defence sector in Australia.

“On the land front we've been supplying a lot of equipment into the land forces for a long time, mainly in the form of personal role radios, or the hand-helds that most Australian land soldiers use,” he said.

[There’s also] the counter IED device called Guardian that we supplied into the Australian forces, which have saved many, many lives in operations. Then of course the electro-optics capability that we're offering into LAND 400, for the commanders, control station and also the gunner station.”

The executive chairman said land formed a major part of the firm’s capabilities; also as a core element of an integrated network force.

“So the communications is a big part for us, communications in fact is where we're really pushing in the naval sector,” said Lenton.

Helicopters key to Australian business proposition
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