CANBERRA: The Australian government announced the selection of Boeing Apache Guardian for the Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) replacement programme from 2025.
Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds said in a statement that 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,” Minister 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.”
Reynolds also said the project aligns with the government’s vision to maximise Australian industry involvement in beefing-up the country’s defence capability.
She said that there are opportunities for the defence industry in areas of 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.”
Australian Army is currently using Airbus Helicopters’ EC665 Tiger which was inducted into service in December 2004. The first four Tigers were manufactured by (then) Eurocopter at the company’s Marignane factory in southern France, while the remaining 18 were assembled at the company’s Pinkenba facility at Brisbane Airport. –shp/adj/aaa (PHOTO: Boeing)