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Australian Viper team kicks off industry roadshow for LAND 4503

Australian Viper team kicks off industry roadshow for LAND 4503

The joint Bell and BAE Systems Australia team offering the AH-1Z Viper to replace Australia’s ARH Tiger as part of LAND 4503 program has launched a series of industry engagement roadshows. 

The joint Bell and BAE Systems Australia team offering the AH-1Z Viper to replace Australia’s ARH Tiger as part of LAND 4503 program has launched a series of industry engagement roadshows. 

The Australian Army is planning to replace the current fleet of EC665 Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters (ARH) from the mid-2020s as identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper: “The government will replace the 22 Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters with a new armed reconnaissance capability from the

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, while achieving value for money.


LAND 4503’s program of delivery aims to support the Australian Army and is designed to contribute to the creation of the modernisation and development of a “networked and hardened” Army, the acquisition is broken down into three delivery stages beginning with projected IOC in 2026 and FOC in 2028, including: 

  1. Up to 24 aircraft would be based at one primary location and another five are intended at a training location. The aircraft fleet may also be co-located in one primary location; however, this is yet to be determined.
  2. IOC for LAND 4503 is based on a squadron of up to 12 aircraft. This organisation would be capable of generating a deployable troop of four aircraft, continued force generation of four aircraft, and an initial build-up training element of four aircraft. IOC will be supported by trained personnel and support systems.
  3. FOC for LAND 4503 is based on a regiment of up to 24 aircraft. This organisation would be capable of generating multiple concurrent deployed forces of up to squadron size. FOC will also be supported by a mature training system of up to five aircraft, with trained personnel and support systems.

Bell, a subsidiary of Textron, is presenting the AH-1Z Viper, currently in service with the US Marine Corps, which has been designed and built to support the expeditionary and maritime-centric focus of operations conducted by the US Marines.

BAE Systems is an established national industry participant and Bell’s dedicated partner for the AH-1Z Viper solution and sustainment proposal in Australia.

While Bell offers the AH-1Z under a Foreign Military Sales framework, BAE Systems would draw upon 65 years of experience and reputational rapport with Australian industry to introduce the aircraft into service by delivering Through Life, In-Service and Training support services.

The Bell AH-1Z Viper is the only truly marinised ARH currently in service in the world. Mature, proven and off-the-shelf ready, the Bell Viper delivers the broadest mission sets across the harshest environments.

Javier Ball, global military sales and strategy manager for Bell Helicopter, explained, “The Viper is a clear choice as the world’s only truly marinised attack helicopter in the world, with benefits that include an unequalled capability to support Army and wider ADF expeditionary and amphibious operations."

Marinisation also includes all new advanced composite rotor blades and yoke style main rotor hubs that significantly outperform legacy “strap-pack” type systems, which are prone to corrosion and failure.

It also includes semi-automatic blade folding for quick stowage either on board ship or for rapid C-17 deployment, rotor brakes, ease of maintenance, electromagnetic environmental effects (E3) hardening, which provides safety against the ship’s powerful radars and other sensors from interfering with aircraft on board weapons and systems.  

Bell’s AH-1Z Viper brings together unrivalled speed, range and capacity to deliver all-encompassing combat helicopter reconnaissance, security and attack effects anywhere and anytime.

“The combat-proven Bell AH-1Z Viper is the only marinised attack helicopter in the world that is specifically designed and built for expeditionary and maritime operations. Marinisation is more than just corrosion protection against saltwater. Unlike unproven and costly add-ons, Bell’s marinisation begins at aircraft design and is built into the aircraft at point of manufacture to ensure conformity to shipboard operations,” explained Javier “Nerf” Ball, international campaign manager, Asia, global military sales and strategy.

The Viper prioritises safety with semi-autonomous blade folds and comprehensive maritime safety features.

“Its performance in all climatic conditions whether over land or sea is unmatched. Viper can combat the broadest array of threats at an unmatched range and it has unequalled speed and payload,” Ball added. 

Low sustainment and life cycle costs, combined with superior interoperability with Army, Navy, Air Force and US Marine Corps platforms, make the Viper the ideal replacement of the Australian Army’s ARH fleet.

Bell and BAE Systems represent an integrated consortium that can deliver a trusted in-service support solution. Other AH-1Z Viper benefits include its comprehensive interoperability with the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the US Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force – the only rotary wing combat aircraft in the world with this capability.

Rowan Tink, senior business development manager for land systems at BAE Systems Australia, explained, “Service personnel would be trained to fly and maintain the AH-1Z Viper in support of operations. To help ensure capability outcomes, we envisage that BAE Systems Australia will support embedded service personnel within our maintenance, repair and overhaul team. 

Viper’s design philosophy focuses on maximising capability, providing high availability, consolidating support requirements and lowering total cost of ownership.

“Underpinning this effort will be Australian industry organisations capable of delivering services and a range of Through Life support activities,” Tink added. 








Friday, 25 October 2019

Development House, Territory Conference Room, 76 The Esplanade, Darwin

7:30am - 9:00am



Monday, 28 October 2019

Lecture Theatre, Lot Fourteen, Frome Rd, Adelaide

10:00am - 12:00am



Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Community Space, Level 12, 570 Bourke St, Melbourne

9:00am - 11:00am



Wednesday, 30 October 2019

TasmanianTechnopark, Main Conference Room, 38 Innovation Drive, Dowsing Point,
TAS 7010, Australia

9:00am - 11:00am



Monday, 2 December 2019

Kedron Wavell Services Club, 21 Kittyhawk Drive, Chermside Queensland 4032

10:00am - 12:00am



Tuesday, 3 December 2019

The Portside Centre,  207 Kent Street, Sydney New South Wales 2000

9:00am - 11:00am



Thursday, 5 December 2019

Airflite, Perth Airport
26 Newton Road, Perth Airport, WA

12:30pm - 3:00pm

Henderson Alliance & AIDN-WA

The government has brought the LAND 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Replacement program forward and aims to acquire a proven and mature, off-the-shelf manned armed helicopter to deliver armed reconnaissance effects in the close and deep contested battlespace in support of the Australian Defence Force.

Register your interest for the industry roadshow hosted by Bell and BAE Systems Australia here

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