Airbus Group Australia Pacific says that thanks to the efforts of a dedicated task force, support arrangements for the Australian Army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) no longer significantly impede aircraft availability and serviceability rates.
In its response to an extract of the Australian National Audit Office’s latest audit into the Tiger program, which was released on Thursday, Airbus Group Australia Pacific says that it “generally agrees” that program milestone delays were caused by the “immaturity of the Tiger during the acquisition phase”, but says support arrangements have been “extensively remediated”.
“Airbus Helicopters and all of the industry partners that support the Tiger have been strongly engaged over the last two years in a dedicated program to resolve all known issues with the support and operation of the aircraft,” wrote Airbus Group Australia Pacific’s vice president government helicopters, Jock Crocombe.
“Under a dedicated task force the support arrangements have been extensively remediated with the result that support issues do not significantly contribute to lack of available aircraft.”
The ANAO report noted that the Tiger has “consistently underperformed” against availability and rate of effort targets, that “on average”, only 3.5 aircraft, of the operational fleet of 16 in service with 1 Aviation Regiment in Darwin were considered serviceable at 10am on any given day in 2015, and that the “Tiger fleet is unlikely to exceed 74 per cent of its original target for rate of effort”.
Wrote Crocombe in the July 4 dated letter: “Multiple statements throughout the extract state that on average during 2015 only 3.5 aircraft were considered serviceable. The recorded data on the Defence Restricted Network states 5.4 aircraft [were available] for 2015 and 6.8 aircraft so far in 2016.”
Further, the “determination of serviceability where a measure is taken at 10am on any given day is not a good metric as it is not adjusted if no aircraft were required on the day, or if the aircraft became serviceable and flew later in the day.”
The letter also notes that Tiger serviceability at the Army Aviation Training Centre, Oakey, which is not mentioned in the report “was 72.92 per cent in 2015 and so far in 2016 it is 73.87 per cent.
“The requirements are different between the operational unit and the Training Centre, but Airbus Group Australia Pacific considers it important to provide the full picture of serviceability.”
Crocombe also wrote that the “ARH Tiger is well on the way to achieving the $20k per flight hour target in FY17/18 in accordance with the CEO DMO requirement”.