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Tiger flight trials from LHD amphibious assault ships planned for Q1 2017

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 23, 2016
An Army Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH), 'Tiger 017' lands on HMAS KANIMBLA. This is the first time that a Tiger helicopter from Robertson Barracks in Darwin, 161 Reconnaissance Squadron Regiment is embarked in an Royal Australian Navy ship. The Tiger will conduct first of flight and deck-handling trials from the Navy amphibious transport vessel HMAS KANIMBLA.
A Tiger aboard the now-retired HMAS Kanimbla in 2010. (Defence)

First of class flight trials of the Army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter from the Navy’s LHD amphibious assault ships is planned for the first quarter of 2017, the Department of Defence has confirmed.

“First of class flight trials is planned to be conducted in the first quarter of 2017. Results from this activity and the deck handling trials will provide a basis for establishing the applicable ship-helicopter operating limit for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter/Landing Helicopter Dock combination,” a Defence spokesperson told Australian Aviation via email on Monday.

Flight trials will follow deck handling trials planned for June, the spokesperson said, when HMAS Adelaide is alongside in Brisbane.

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This aims to confirm that LHD flightdeck markings and aircraft securing fittings are suitable for Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter operations. Additionally, aircraft lifts, mechanical handlers, hangar arrangements and procedures will be assessed for suitability in moving, storing, securing and controlling the aircraft – including associated aerospace ground equipment, weapons, explosive ordnance and role equipment,” the spokesperson said.

“The deck handling phase will also include assessment of aircraft jacking and engine/blade removal procedures. The deck handling trial will also provide an opportunity for training and familiarisation of LHD Air Department personnel with ARH explosive ordnance and deck handling procedures.”

Further, the spokesperson noted: “The trials schedule aims to identify potential ship/helicopter interface issues and seek to establish safe operating procedures and limitations for the combination.”

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9 Comments

  • Keef

    says:

    You have got to be kidding…….first quarter 2017 for trials! What is going on in defense? The aircraft will be retired before it can be deployed…..if this was private enterprise heads would be rolling! Maybe it should be the same in defense. People should be held accountable for such poor performance.

  • TimC69

    says:

    Keef,

    couldn’t agree more, why spend valuable defence dollars for an asset that will be disposed of within 5 years -give or take -of reaching FOC?

    Dispose of the Tigers immediately, acquire 40 odd Apache E’s and have them do the trials instead, the amount of wastage astounds me….with the budget we have (top 12 soon to be top 8) we should be higher up the military capability ratings!

  • adammudhen

    says:

    Keef, you may find some of that date is due to ship availability; there are other things to test, people to train, missions to qualify etc that are higher up the list than the ARH. Plus, even if the Tiger does get replaced, the work done during the trials can be used as a baseline/experience for trials of the replacement.

  • John N

    says:

    Adam,

    Agree.

    Keef & Tim,

    It is now 2016, the Tiger ARH capability won’t likely be replaced (and lets talk about FOC, not IOC), till probably the mid 2020’s, that a good decade away, ok?

    In the interim, lets use them to their best advantage, rather than parking them and forgetting that capability, regardless of the limitations, does currently exist until their replacement reaches FOC.

    Don’t think specifically of the ‘airframe’ itself, think of the capability, think of how that capability can be tested and tested with other assets such as the MRH-90’s and CH-47F too.

    As Adam pointed out, there is a whole range of things that can be done with the existing Tiger airframes, a whole lot of information to be gathered and used, especially when their replacement is available too.

    And lets not forget that ‘if’ the ‘brown runny stuff hits the fan’ prior to their replacement being introduced to service, well then maybe the Tiger ARH can be found to be ‘useful’, despite the current limitations.

    Bottom line is, use what we have, and use it as best we can, until a replacement is found.

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Harry

    says:

    Does this mean that the Tiger’s problems have been fixed and it will remain viable in the ranks?

  • B. Harrison

    says:

    The experiment with acquiring European helicopters has been a dismal failure. The reality is that if Australia had chosen the Apache over the Tiger they would have been flying (with FOC) for at least 5 years. Get rid of the Tiger, give the NH90’s to Navy (as they are marinised) and allow Army to purchase the Apache, additional CH-47’s and new model Blackhawks.
    If anything illustrated that buying “off the shelf” current aircraft was the way to go it has been the purchase of the C-17 and P-8. The JSF is still a work in progress and in the next few years, we will see if the purchase of these has been a success or not.

  • Tim

    says:

    I don’t really get it….I may be wrong, but many countries are using the Tiger Helicopter and the French have used them alot in combat in Afghanistan and Mali……what’s wrong with the Aussie ones and why are they not up to standard?

  • Ken

    says:

    “give the NH90’s to Navy (as they are marinised)”.

    What would the Navy do with 47 (partially marinised) NH90s?

  • ULISES VELEZ

    says:

    TIGER IN ACTION AT LAST. NOW BECOME THE AUSTRALIAN VERSION OF THE “FLYING-TIGERS”.

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