Boeing Defence Australia and Thales will offer the Eurocopter EC135 as a training platform to the ADF for the Air 9000 Phase 7 – Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) project.
The Boeing/Thales offering will compete with several other platforms, including a variant of the AgustaWestland AW109, offered by BAE, CAE and AgustaWestland, and the Bell 429, offered by Raytheon and Bell Helicopter.
Air 9000 Phase 7, with an expected value approaching $1 billion, is intended to procure a training system for all Army and RAN helicopter pilot. A request for tender for the project is expected to be released this month.
In a statement, Boeing said the EC135 was a “proven, low-risk solution” that was already used in training systems in Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Japan, as well as in Australia with the Victorian and New South Wales police forces.
“Thorough flight and ground assessments of the EC135 and its suitability for both ab initio training and as a lead-in trainer to more complex and larger helicopters made it clear the EC135 was the optimum platform to meet the ADF’s requirements,” said Boeing Defence Australia managing director Kim Gillis. “The aircraft’s support base, both locally and internationally, presents a significantly lower cost of operation than other aircraft in its class, reducing project-establishment and through-life-support risk.”