$3 billion saving by combining Tiger upgrade with H145M purchase – Airbus
Airbus Helicopter plays a major role in Australia, supplying the Army both with 22 armed reconnaissance Tigers and 46 MRH utility and transport machines. The company hopes to increase their presence through the sale of up to 16 H145Ms to meet the requirement for a Special Forces helicopter in the 4-tonne class.
Speaking with visiting media, Matthieu Louvot, head of Airbus Helicopters Defence Programs, said that Australia would save an eye-watering $3 billion if Defence upgraded rather than replaced the Tigers for LAND 4503 and selected the H145M for LAND 2097 Phase 4.
The options for replacing Tiger look to be the Boeing Apache; Bell Viper; and a new offering from Leonardo currently being developed for the Italian Army. The cost of upgrading and extending the life of the Tiger fleet is logically considerably less than purchasing an entirely different aircraft. Similarly, the H145M is the militarised version of a commercial helicopter, again making it less expensive to acquire than a purpose-designed aircraft.
More details will be provided in the coming days.