Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced that a request for proposals to improve aviation support for Australia’s new Special Forces helicopters is now open to Australian defence industry.
Minister Reynolds welcomed the opening of the invitation to Australian industry, which will help ensure Australia’s helicopters remain at the cutting edge of special operations aviation.
Industry options will be explored by Defence for an agile upgrade pathway for the new fleet of light helicopters sought under LAND 2097 Phase 4.
"Australian industry have unique capabilities to offer the ADF and the broader global military light helicopter market in the design and manufacture of aviation systems. Small Australian companies are already competing on the world stage, providing innovative solutions to special mission aircraft," Minister Reynolds said.
This follows a request for tender for a new fleet of helicopters and an initial support contract released earlier this year. The request for proposals has been released to market and will remain open for one month, with proposals to be evaluated by the end of 2020.
Minister Reynolds added, "The opportunity to harness these skills and grow them through collaboration on the special operations helicopter will benefit the ADF and local defence industry."
In response to advances in technology and adaptation to the regional security environment, minor modifications and the development of new capabilities are expected to be required on an annual basis.
The Defence request for tender established that the helicopter should be a proven design (already in service either in commercial or military capacities), optimised for operating in dense urban environments and capable of rapid deployment by air transport in the Royal Australian Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster strategic airlifters.
The successful helicopters are intended for use by the Australian Army’s 6th Aviation Regiment, based at Holsworthy, south of Sydney, and will complement a squadron of larger MRH-90 Taipan helicopters.