Defence confirms Boeing as preferred HATS tenderer

Navy Squirrels and Army Kiowas will be replaced under the HATS program. (Paul Sadler)
Navy Squirrels and Army Kiowas will be replaced under the HATS program. (Paul Sadler)

Following on from our story of January 13, Defence has confirmed that a Boeing Defence Australia led team has been selected as the preferred tenderer for the ADF’s AIR 9000 Phase 7 Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) project.

In a written statement to Australian Aviation’s sister publication, DIAR by ADBR, a Defence spokesman said “This work involves Defence engaging with Boeing Defence Australia in a series of contract negotiations over the coming months, which will inform Defence prior to seeking second pass approval from government in mid-2014.”

AIR 9000 Phase 7 will deliver a rotary-wing training system for Army and Navy at HMAS Albatross at Nowra, NSW. Boeing has teamed with Thales Australia, and intends to use the Eurocopter EC135 as the HATS training platform. Other bids by teams led by Australian Aerospace and Raytheon Australia were shortlisted to progress with the second phase of the HATS evaluation in May 2013.


  1. says

    It was based on much more than just the platform Adam. A large emphasis was placed on syllabus, simulators and other synthetic trainers, facilities, training experience etc. Will be interesting to see the second pass results.

  2. Dan says

    How many choppers are they looking at getting here and will there be additional units to cover the utility\recon element that the 407’s have covered for 40+ years or will this function fall by the wayside?

  3. says

    I think the contract asks the provider to supply an appropriate number of machines to be able to meet an agreed rate of effort, so the number probably isn’t a factor.

    What 407s are you talking about? Do you mean the 206 Kiowas? If so, I’m sure this requirement will be factored in.


  4. Dan says

    Thanks Andrew,

    Yes, sorry 206 Kiowa’s – would they be considering something in the vacinity of 30-40 units in total?

  5. says

    I would imagine 30-40 would be roughly correct, but like I said the final numbers will likely form part of the negotiations leading up to 2nd pass.


  6. Eric says

    The choice to have the whole HATS project in Nowra makes no sense.
    The cost of maintenance will be higher due to the corrosive nature of the environment
    Oakey compared to Nowra has more available flying days
    Minimal jobs will be created in Nowra as most of the skilled workforce will come from else where
    Army trainees will have to endure an extra posting
    The better solution would be to have one campus in Norwa for the Navy trainees and another campus in Oakey for the Army trainees.

    Why was Nowra picked as the sole location for the HATS project?

  7. says

    The choice of Nowra was believed to have been part of the compromise between Army and Navy in order to have a joint solution. There’s no doubt a combined training system with one helo type will save money, so someone had to compromise.

    It’s likely Oakey does have better weather and a much bigger flying area, but Nowra is close to Jervis Bay so both Navy and Army pilots can train for shipboard landings. Nowra is also closer to Sydney and Canberra where the bulk of any ‘extra-curricular’ work by the helos will be performed.


  8. Wayne says

    Yet another simplistic view of the “one cap fits all” scenario. An ex-Army pilot friend of mine is familiar with the UK/German and US Army training systems and has doubts about the EC135 ops in Australia vs. the B419 option. Again a political decision because Army flies Euro these days…

  9. says

    Wayne, assume you mean B429? Just to remind you, the project was less about the platform and more about the whole training package. The platform had to meet a certain set of criteria, as did the sims and other synthetic devices, the courseware, the experience of the training provider, the facilities etc etc.

    That said, while it is unlikely the selection was made on the specific merits of the EC135, I’m sure the similarities of systems and concept between the EC135 and the ARH/MRH carried some weight, as it probably should have.