The Australian Army’s armed reconnaissance capability will be strengthened following the selection of Boeing Apache Guardian to replace Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) from 2025. Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the AH-64E Apache Guardian is equipped with improved sensors, communications suites, attack capabilities and improved survivability.

“This new ARH capability will strengthen Australia’s armed reconnaissance force to better shape our strategic environment and deter actions against our national interest,” Reynolds said. “Defence considered a number of helicopters against key criteria of proven ability, maturity and an off-the-shelf operating system. The Apache Guardian is the most lethal, most survivable and lowest risk option, meeting all of Defence’s capability, through-life support, security, and certification requirements. By pursuing a proven and low-risk system offered by the Apache, Defence will avoid the ongoing cost and schedule risk typically associated with developmental platforms.”

An Australian Army Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter at Russell Offices, Canberra.

Lessons learned from issues with the ARH Tiger and other rotary wing projects had informed the strategy to seek a proven, mature ARH replacement capability. “The project will deliver on the Government’s vision to maximise Australian industry involvement in defence capability,” Reynolds said. “There are potential opportunities for Australian industry in logistic support, warehousing services, training development, engineering services, and maintenance, repair and overhaul. Maximising these opportunities for Australian businesses will enable the future growth of our local rotary wing industry and will present opportunities for Australian industry involvement in the aircraft’s global supply chain.”

Detailed transition planning will be conducted to ensure effective management of the skilled workforce, across Defence and industry, as Defence transitions the Tiger to the Apache.


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  1. Well it looks like a decision has being made and the future is no longer the Tiger, but rather the Apache.
    What ever should and shouldn’t have been done for Army’s ARH capability it was certainly the subject of much debate. I trust this decision is a way forward and provides a solid capability in the years ahead.
    What lesson have we learnt for AIR 87 I don’t know.

    Just looking forward to Army having a ARH that is fit for purpose in the decades ahead


  2. So do we sell the Tigers to France/Germany/Spain for spares or do we persist with them in a pure reconnaissance role?

  3. I expect the Army will buy double the initial order. Its a workhorse which will best be deployed in as a principal asset in the Army’s lead combat groups, directed by field commanders. One question, how proven is the Apache when deployed from naval vessels?

    • Brits are very happy with their AH64s operating in a maritime environment. BTW where do you think Army will double the Apache buy? or is it just your thoughts?

  4. ALL I have to say is just PURCHASE the helicopter as soon as possible WHY 2025 so slow PS ALL of AUSTRALIAS defence force is VERY SMALL and NEEDS ALL THE HELP THEY CAN GET GEEZ.

  5. They should have bought Apache in the first place, but it was Political. “create Australian Jobs” in Brisbane.

  6. NZ bought 10 of the 11 SH-2G(A)s rejected by the Royal Australian Navy. Maybe there is interest in the RNZAF resuming its air combat duties by reforming 75 Squadron and 2 Squadron flying the Eurocopter Tiger. There may have never been a Battle of Baghak or the NZDF troops having suffered eight combat death, if the NZPRT had over watch or a QRF in the shape of a pair of ARH.
    With the life left in the airframes and the offer of Eurocopter to update the aircraft plus spares and simulators it could be a mechanism to increase the availability of assets to the region.


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