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Support issues no longer a significant contributor to Tiger ARH availability – Airbus

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 5, 2016

Australian Army A38 Eurocoptor Tigers on a flight task during Exercise Northern Shield 2015.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”.

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Comments (13)

  • Hayden Roberts


    maybe the tiger was a bad choice!
    Why didn’t the government buy AH-1Zs and enough for darwin, brisbane and a third regiment down south.

  • Raymond


    Always interesting hearing the other side of the story!

  • Dave Thomas


    British Cobra’s were backing up their troops in Afgahnistan shortly after the type was introduced, while our troops had to rely on “friendly” cover as the Tigers sat on the ground in Australia.
    Great purchasing Army!

  • Keef


    I wonder if they have any trade in value? Then again we could sell them to the Kiwis at a bargain price (mates rates)…..they always manage to make an Australian fiasco come good……just look at the Seasprites!

  • Fabian


    An off the shelf helicopter is always the best choice now. Back in 2001. The goverment should of chosen the Ah-1z or the Apache. If one of them was chosen, a couple of them would of been transported to Iraq by c-17 in 2014. And they would be operating CAS missions every day.

  • Gary


    Have I missed something with the British Army Aviation? British have Cobra’s? I though they had Apaches!

  • BH


    There’s always two sides to the story.
    One thing to think about, what did the tiger have over the Apache & the Zulu..? Also look at the age of the design of the three of them. A lot of new designs these days take a lot more work to get them off the ground with their associated complexity. But, that is still something Army should’ve taken into account.
    What’s done is done…
    The important thing now is how to manage it and get the most out of what we’ve got.
    Looking forward, if we’re looking at a mid 2020’s intro of another platform (or two), add 10 yrs to the age of the Apache and Zulu…
    Are we likely to get one of them and find out a few years later that a new modern vastly more capable platform is about to enter service and we’re left with a $6 billion out paced legacy platform…?
    Before anyone writes off Tiger mk3, Airbus need to show that it’s solved all the issues with mk1 and have proven it… they’ve got about 5yrs to do it…

  • Stephen White


    Guys in 2001 when AIR87 was decided the AH-1Z just starting to have all sort of development issues that were not fixed until 2011 – a delay of 6-7 years on the anticipated date. If we had ordered AH-1Z ANAO report would be just as brutal.
    Remember were buying a Kiowa Armed Reconnaissance replacement – we had no requirement for an antitank helicopter of the Apache type!

  • chuck


    Even if Tiger is achieving high serviceability it doesn’t remove the fact that the aircraft FOC declaration has significant caveats. No advantage in having serviceable aircraft that are still short on capability.
    Many governmental procurement decisions (that aren’t FMS) are still not focussed enough on equipment that is deliverable on time, in budget, with full operational capability.

  • Jason


    So many experts with 20:20 hindsight! Why don’t you all work for CASG?

  • chuck


    I’m not sure working for the Defence purchasing system makes any difference if a governmental decision has determined what you’re going to buy. At that point it would seem to be that everyone below government is left to make the best of the decision, even if it’s not a good one.

  • Jason


    Chuck, I agree.

    I was merely pointing out that those above who continually advocate for equipment that we don’t have should go and work in CASG, as clearly the government is not getting the advice it deserves!

  • Chuck


    That assumes that government always acts on the advice, and doesn’t go with its own agenda (such as trying to get local build, satisfying marginal electorate considerations, or satisfying diplomatic considerations). No doubt these are important but they should come after “on time in budget and full capability” considerations, rather than giving them all equal weighting.

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