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Helicopter to Australia: Apache is coming, Tiger must go

Attack helicopter for Australia
If the Apaches come, the Tigers must go

Australia’s government has confirmed a deal with Boeing to release billions to buy 29 AH-64E Apaches. This finally put an end to the unpopular Tiger helicopters in the Australian Army. 2025 Her departure begins.

The relationship between Airbus helicopters and the Australian Armed Forces has rarely been free of conflict. It all started well: with the MRH90 Taipan, a derivative of the NH90, and the Tiger attack helicopter, Australia bought two helicopter types “made in Europe” and put them into service from 2004 (Tiger) and 2006 (Taipan).


However, the high expectations Australia had of the new acquisitions were not met. On the contrary: both Tiger and Taipan suffered from constant problems and low operational readiness. When the government sought a successor to both models last year, American competition rejoiced: the new Black Hawks from Sikorsky. As MRH90 Instead – and Boeing’s new Apache helicopters chase away the Tigers.


Australian Ministry of Defence

Eurocopter’s (Airbus Helicopters) Tiger ARH never met Australian expectations. Now it’s up to Apache to fix that.

The first Apache is coming in 2025

Australia paid US$5.5 billion, equivalent to €5.3 billion, to buy the Apaches. The Government in Canberra has now officially finalized the investment. On 9 May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the purchase of the Apache version after the AH-64E. Already a year ago The Bell AH-1Z Viper and the upgraded Tiger variant were successful from the trials. The Australian Army is to receive a total of 29 AH-64Es, which will arrive from 2025. Canberra said Australia would invest up to $500 million to upgrade facilities to support the new Apache helicopters.

Boeing

Australia gets the Apache version AH-64E (photo), but with a longbow radar on the main rotor.

Proven and reliable

In addition to the Apache, Australia is also purchasing twelve new MH-60R Romeo naval helicopters from Sikorsky for the Australian Navy. These cost a further US$2.5 billion (€2.41 billion). Defense Secretary Peter Dutton sees it as, above all, the Apache mandate, a massive strengthening of domestic armed forces. “We are increasing the size and capabilities of our helicopters to meet Australia’s threats,” Dutton said. The Apache is a “proven and reliable attack helicopter already in service with the US and United Kingdom governments” and has “advanced sensors, communications and network systems, attack capabilities and survivability”.