Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR_MAY_2011_HighRes.pdf Contents AIR 9000 PHASE 7
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South Wales, which will train all Army pilots and
loadmasters and Navy pilots, maritime aviation
warfare officers, air crew and sensor operators.
Pilot trainees will initially graduate from the new
fixed wing pilot training system under Project
5428. HATS will involve a new fleet of civil-or
military-off-the-shelf helicopters, replacing the
existing Eurocopter Squirrel, used by the Navy,
and the Army’s Bell OH-58 Kiowa training fleet.
It will rely far more than previously on synthetic
training devices, with a requirement for full-
motion simulators, fixed base simulators, part-
task trainers and computer-based training. It
could also include an aviation training vessel.
System life is anticipated to be 25 years from full
Air 9000 Phase 7 has a long history, with two
separate projects for Army and Navy originally
planned in the 2004 DCP. First pass approval for
the joint project was granted in early 2007, with
second pass approval initially anticipated in
2009. The programme hasn’t quite gone to plan,
however, with numerous delays along the way.
The Department of Defence says it now plans
to release a RFT by the middle of this year,
although some industry sources are expecting a
draft RFT first, to be followed by the final version
some time later. “The progress of this project
from first to second pass has been required
to be synchronised with the positioning of its
funding envelope with the DCP to coordinate
with other major Defence projects; its linkages
with project Air 5428 for a new Defence fixed-
wing pilot training system; and a detailed
examination of public private partnerships as an
alternate acquisition strategy,” says Defence. An
acquisition strategy has still yet to be decided,
with this matter still under consideration by the
government, according to Defence.
Despite the delays, the timeframe outlined in
the 2009 DCP remains the same, with a decision
scheduled for financial year 2011-12 to FY2012-
13, with initial operational capability in FY2014-
15 to FY2016-17.
The delays have apparently allowed Defence to
get a clear idea of exactly what it wants. Industry
sources are optimistic that Defence is now
ready to take the leap. As one insider says: “The
customer is very motivated to moving forward...
They are quite clear on where they want to go
now.” The complexity of the programme has
required Defence to take its time, according to
industry. “They are taking six different training
courses and joining them together and then
there’s also the interaction with Project 5428
[fixed wing pilot training system]. And if you
look at what’s happened to the rotary wing fleet
over the last three or four years, it has completely
changed the landscape. There’s been a lot of
change and a lot of complexity,” he says.
As soon as Defence is ready to move forward,
industry will also be ready. A number of teaming
arrangements have already been announced,
with the groups waiting in anticipation for the
release of the RFT - or even a draft document - to
finalise their offerings.
Raytheon Australia was the first to reveal its
partnership, announcing last August that it has
teamed with Bell Helicopter. Further teams were
revealed at Avalon, with AgustaWestland, CAE
and BAE Systems confirming their partnership;
as well as Lockheed Martin and Bristow
Helicopters; and Boeing Defence Australia
joined with Thales Australia.
Raytheon and Bell’s bid will be based around
the Bell 429 – “the most modern and cost-
effective light twin helicopter on the market today
offering a substantial capability enhancement
for rotary wing flying training and light utility
support”, according to the partners. The Bell 429
is well-suited to Air 9000 Phase 7 requirements as
it is the only light twin helicopter fully certified
to the latest crashworthiness standards and with
a large cockpit capable of handling the full range
of ADF pilot candidates, says the partners.
The Bell 429 has numerous class-leading
An acquisition strategy has still yet to be decided, with
this matter still under consideration by the government,
according to Defence.
Credit: CoA / Helen Frank
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