The Army has taken delivery of the first of 22 state of the art Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters at a ceremony at Oakey in Queensland, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.
"The delivery of the first two Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARH) to the Australian Army represents a significant milestone in the development of the Army Aviation capability and to the Australian Defence Force," Senator Hill said.
"The Tiger ARH is equipped with leading edge technology in its sensors, data links and communications and provide a major new capability for Army. Fitted with Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets and cannons, the heavily armed Tiger ARH will significantly enhance the reconnaissance and firepower capabilities of the Army combined arms team, which will also be augmented soon by the Abrams Main Battle Tank.
"The Tigers’ flexibility, ability to deploy at short notice and to operate in diverse circumstances represents a revolution in the Australian Army's operational versatility. The Army will be able to conduct tactical reconnaissance and escort and protect our Black Hawk helicopters as they transport troops and supplies."
Today’s ceremony was attended by the Industry Minister and Member for Groom, Ian Macfarlane, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Teresa Gambaro.
Senator Hill praised the work of the Defence Materiel Organisation and Australian Aerospace for their outstanding work in delivering the helicopters to the Army.
"The contract schedule was very demanding, culminating in the successful delivery of the first two Tigers today, on schedule and on budget," Senator Hill said.
"Australian Aerospace and the Commonwealth have worked cooperatively to meet this demanding schedule, in a manner that establishes the benchmark for successful Defence Materiel business standards in the future.
"The new Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation, Dr Stephen Gumley, and his counterpart at Australian Aerospace, Mr Joseph Saporito, should be congratulated.
"Project success would not have been possible without the assistance of the French and German Governments. The ARH is following after the Tiger variants of both nations. French and German armament and certification agencies extended considerable resources and effort to Australia in order for the project to succeed by today."
The first four ARH are being assembled at Eurocopter in France. Additionally, Thales in France is assembling the ARH Aircrew simulators. The remaining 18 ARH are being assembled at the Australian Aerospace production facility at Brisbane.