Eurocopter says delays in integrating new formation lighting on the Army’s fleet of ARH Tiger helicopters have been caused by the ADF wanting a type of lighting not specified in the original contract and not used by any other Tiger operator, but that the issue should be resolved by early 2011.
Following on from reports in Australian media earlier this month which quoted defence sources as saying the Tiger was not suitable for deployment to Afghanistan because it could not fly at night, Eurocopter’s head of government programs, Dominique Maudet, said the type of external lighting specified on the ARH machines at contract signature was the same as that used on French machines in Afghanistan, but that the Army has since upgraded its specification to include green ‘slime light’ strips for use in formation work at night with night vision goggles.
Maudet added that there appeared to be “very high sensitivity about this issue” within the ADF which has led “to very specific demands compared to the French,” perhaps in reference to the crash of two Black Hawks and the loss of 18 soldiers in a night time mid air accident near Townsville in 1996.
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