The Australian government has issued a Request For Information (RFI) for 29 new gunships, seeking to replace the army’s fleet of Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters.
Under the Land 4503 program, the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) is seeking information to acquire 29 gunships.
The first 12 new gunships (one squadron) must achieve initial operating capability (IOC) by 2026, with full operational capability (FOC) from 2028. Five new helicopters will be used for training, The Aviation Geek Club reported Wednesday.
Australia selected the current fleet of 22 Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopter Tigers in 2001 and the final Tiger was delivered (18 were built with Eurocopter Australian at Brisbane) to army, a decade later. The helicopters became fully operational only by 2016 and first sea-borne ops by April 2019, the report said.
Specifications for the new helicopters include: size just enough to fit in a C-17A Globemaster III for easy transportation to a deployment location, and operability from the Australian Navy’s landing helicopter dock vessels. In addition, the new army chopper should work together US-made General AtomicsMQ-9 Reaper drone it is acquiring.