AgustaWestland, CAE and BAE Systems demonstrated the AW109 GrandNew helicopter, their platform contender for the Air 9000 Phase 7 Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) program, to ADF pilots at Nowra yesterday.
The machine demonstrated yesterday was privately owned by Linfox, operated by chief pilot Brett Quarrell and instructor pilot Michael Tavcar.
Within the GrandNew teaming arrangement, AgustaWestland would provide the GrandNew airframe, CAE would develop a synthetic training program for the helicopter, and BAE Systems would run all maintenance and support services.
Australian Aviation understands a formal Request for Tender (RFT) for Phase 7 is expected to be released in the September/October timeframe, with a final decision on the winning bidder to be made by next year.
Other teaming arrangements for the project include Raytheon/Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin/Bristow Helicopters and Boeing Defence Australia/Thales Australia, while local Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace is also expected to contend for the contract, either as a prime or as the helicopter provider as part of a teaming arrangement.