Airbus is showcasing a number of the capabilities the company has delivered to the Australian Defence Force, particularly the KC-30A MRTT, the ARH Tiger and MRH-90 Taipan helicopters, and to expose the Australian market to the Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS).
Recently, the Royal Australian Air Force and Airbus’ A330-based KC-30A MRTT achieved a major milestone of more than 100,000,000 pounds of fuel delivered via air-to-air refuels as part of Australia’s missions on Operation OKRA in the Middle East. As part of a coalition including Australia, France, Britain and the US, Australia’s MRTT has refuelled a variety of aircraft including Eurofighters, Rafales, Harriers and Globemasters.
Tony Fraser, Airbus head of country for Australia and New Zealand, said that since 2005, the business had assembled 18 of the 22 ARH Tiger helicopters for the Australian Army and 43 of the 47 MRH-90 Taipan helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.
Airbus this year selected Wyndham airfield in Western Australia as the first flight base for its pioneering Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aircraft, or drone. Airbus will begin flights of the Zephyr, which is extremely lightweight and makes virtually zero noise as it leaves and returns to its base.
Zephyr typically flies for days or weeks at a time without landing and operates at very high altitudes, far above even commercial airliners. It weighs less than 75 kilograms and flies by charging its batteries from sunlight during the day and maintaining its high altitude at night, all under control from the ground. It is uniquely capable of providing persistent surveillance over land or sea, and hosting communications links for civil or military purposes.
Fraser said the stand also featured a virtual reality simulation of the Airbus MRH9-0 Taipan helicopter, allowing participants to explore and interact in a realistic MRH90 cabin,.
"The simulation showcases the multi-role cabin configurations and Australian unique enhancements for troops, weapons and equipment for aeromedical evacuation, special forces, troop transport and more," he said.
Also on the stand is an interactive augmented reality display of the H145M deployable light helicopter, MRH90 Taipan and ARH Tiger, showcasing the capabilities of these aircraft.
Visitors will interact with a physical model of the MRH-90 to see proposed capability upgrades and special forces equipment, including: fast roping; rear window and other gun mounts; MRH cap upgrades; and electro-optical sensor equipment.
Airbus has a strong industrial presence in Australia and the Pacific, with local operations overseeing the sale of its defence and space products in the region. Additionally, the company provides support to civil and military fixed wing and rotary aircraft in the region.