Australian Army’s SORW Light Helicopter Requirement: The Babcock-Bell Option

By Australian Defence and Business Review

Babcock Australia has released statements outlining its Australian industry capabilities (AIC) and industry team for the Australian Army’s Project LAND 2097 Phase 4 special operations rotary wing (SORW) light helicopter requirement.

The company says it is bringing Australian small to medium enterprises specialising in engineering, training, and simulation to the “front and centre” as part of its proposal which is based on the Bell 429 Global Ranger helicopter.

To date, Babcock has announced 12 teaming partners for the project. These include Airspeed Composites, Bend-Tech, Craig International Ballistics, Eagle Copters Australasia, Flight Safety International (FSI), HeliMods, L3Harris Technologies, Logistic Engineering Services, MMC Learning and Development (MMCLD), Omni Executive, Praxis Aerospace, and Virtual Simulation Systems.

“We recognise the importance of supporting Australian innovation and developing and enhancing local skills, knowledge, systems, technology and infrastructure to meet Australia’s defence capability goals, create jobs and support economic growth,” Babcock CEO David Ruff said in a statement.

“This approach is central to our current and future business and fully aligns with the Australian Department of Defence’s Australian Industry Capability (AIC) program.

“The global footprint of Babcock International Group means we can bring world-leading technology, expertise and IP to Australia and New Zealand to build local defence capacity and capability,” he added.

“Babcock Australasia has an established reputation for treating its suppliers as partners, not vendors. We work collaboratively with our partner network to generate solutions for our customers that are cost-effective, collaborative and trusted to deliver.”

The company says 95 per cent of all maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) work on the project will be performed in Australia, generating 178 jobs and $326.6 million, supporting local research & development, and providing knowledge transfer.

Babcock announced in May 2020 that it would be offering the Bell 429 for the SORW requirement.

It will be up against Airbus Helicopters which said it would offer its H145M helicopter in March 2019 and then announced its industry team in July 2020.

Separate to the RFT for the project, the Commonwealth issued an RFP to industry on August 4 to provide capability enhancements and explore technology options on an annual basis for the capability.

This article was published by ADBR on August 13, 2020.