Defence Stops Payment on Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Acquisition Contract
(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued July 5, 2007)
An Australian Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) firing a Hellfire missile during weapon integration trials. (Australian DoD file photo)
The Defence Materiel Organisation has exercised its rights under the Air 87 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) acquisition contract and stopped payment to Australian Aerospace on 1 June 2007 as the contracted milestone for ARH Initial Operational Capability has not been achieved.

Initial Operational Capability for the Tiger ARH Project is defined as the ability to conduct collective training. Delays in the Franco/German Tiger program have negatively impacted the development of the simulators and establishment of the Australian based training needed to achieve this milestone.

Defence and Australian Aerospace are working cooperatively to limit the effects of the delay. Seven of the 22 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters have been accepted and these aircraft have now flown over 1500 hours in training and testing which will contribute to this outcome. Defence is confident that the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Project will deliver the contracted capability.

The Tiger Through-Life Support contract is unaffected and flying operations are continuing. Although payment has ceased Australian Aerospace will continue delivery of aircraft and support systems. (ends)



Backgrounder: Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter
(Source: Australian Defence Materiel Organisation; dated June 2007)
Prime Contractor: Australian Aerospace

Project Air 87 will provide Defence with 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, a training system including simulation devices for aircrew and maintenance personnel, a software support facility and a ground mission management system.

The Commonwealth signed a 15-year support contract that commenced at in-service date when the first two Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters were delivered, on time, on 15 December 2004.

As at March 2007, 69 percent of the project milestones were achieved, including Commonwealth acceptance of six Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters. By mid-2007, nine aircraft and four of the six ground training devices were to have been accepted. A total of 14 aircraft are planned to have been accepted by the end of 2007-08 and all of the aircraft by mid-2009. The full flight and mission simulator is expected to be accepted in stages no earlier than December 2007 as it achieves increasing levels of capability.

Delivery of the operational capability to the Australian Army is delayed 24 months, primarily because of a delay in the Franco-German program on which the Australia Tiger relies for certification and qualification. This delay has caused slippage in the aircraft system certification, simulator development and aircrew training.

The contractor and Australian Government have provided additional resources but the project remains within budget.

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