Airbus Australia Pacific managing director Andrew Mathewson last week called for an open competition to fulfil Defence’s requirement for 29 replacement armed reconnaissance helicopters, to be acquired under Land 4503.
Mathewson’s comments follow recent reports in some sections of the media that Defence is negotiating a sole-source acquisition of 29 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters, via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.
Companies vying for the $4-5 billion project to replace the Australian Army’s current Airbus Helicopters Tiger ARH, with a proven, mature and off the shelf armed reconnaissance helicopter platform, include Boeing (AH-64E) and a Bell/BAE Systems Australia teaming arrangement (offering the Bell AH-1Z Viper). Airbus in turn is proposing an upgrade to the incumbent Tiger platform.
Late last year it presented an unsolicited bid to Government, leveraging the ‘Smart Buyer’ methodology, to upgrade the 22 existing Tigers and supply seven new H145M light helicopters. It claimed that under a deal, Defence would save around $3 billion out to 2040.
Mathewson confirmed last week that Defence has rejected the Airbus proposal and the company is now offering a more comprehensive Tiger upgrade, including seven additional airframes (for a total of 29), which he says can still realise a saving of up to $3 billion, in a bid based on “capability, jobs and savings”. (end of excerpt)
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