October 1, 2009 -- Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science today announced the achievement of a major milestone in project AIR 87, the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter project.
The Initial Operational Test and Evaluation Readiness milestone marks the point where the project transitions focus from individual flying, maintenance and support qualifications to collective training and development of Army Aviation warfighting skills.
“This is a critical milestone in the development of this important capability which will provide Army and the Australian Defence Force with one of the most technologically advanced combat helicopters in the world,” Mr Combet said.
“The crews of the 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin will now focus on team training with multiple aircraft, and utilising the sensors and outstanding weapon systems of the Tiger in the combined arms environment of the landforce battlespace.
“The Tiger is made of high strength lightweight composite materials and it incorporates a number of cutting edge technological and digital systems that required extensive certification and integration efforts by both the Commonwealth and the prime contractor, Australian Aerospace.
“The integration of the US Hellfire missile system to the Tiger has been very successful, providing the aircraft with exceptionally accurate firepower out to eight kilometres by day and night.
“Based on the Australian success integrating the Hellfire missile, France has announced their intention to fit this weapon system to their next version of the Tiger helicopter.
“One of the key features of the Tiger is that weapons targeting information is displayed directly onto the pilot’s visor. The cannon can also be controlled through the helmet which points it in the same direction that the pilot is looking. This reduces the time needed to engage a hostile threat during low level reconnaissance missions.
“I congratulate Australian Aerospace, the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Army personnel who worked many long hours to introduce this highly complex but most capable level of military equipment,” said Mr Combet.
Australian flight test and operational crews have now flown over 4300 hours and fired 16 hellfire missiles, 475 rockets and 4000 rounds of the 30 millimetre canon. The Australian Tiger is closely related to the helicopters being provided by Eurocopter to France, Germany and Spain.
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