Three tenderers have been down-selected to move to the second phase of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) competition.
Teams led by Australian Aerospace (EC135), Boeing Defence Australia (EC135) and Raytheon Australia (Bell 429) will now go forward to submit final proposals under AIR 9000 Phase 7 to meet the future rotary-wing training needs of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Most notable from the shortlist is AgustaWestland, which had teamed with CAE and BAE Systems.
Army and Navy students are set to be trained from 2016-17 in Nowra, New South Wales under the framework of the HATS project, which is valued at up to $1 billion. The new system will include light twin-engine helicopters, plus synthetic training devices.
According to a statement from Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly released on May 30, the introduction of the AIR 9000 Phase 7 training system will see the retirement of 40 Kiowa helicopters operated by Army and 13 Squirrel helicopters operated by Navy.
“This new joint training system will overcome the broadening gap in training systems required for the advanced operational helicopters to be operated by the future ADF, including 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, 47 MRH 90 Multi Role Helicopters, 24 Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopters and seven CH-47F Chinook medium-lift helicopters,” the ministers stated.
The government is expected to select the successful HATS contractor team by mid-2014.