As the Australian Defence Force shapes its future, one focused significantly on its neighborhood, and expeditionary operations, a key decision will be about its next armed reconnaissance helicopter. The Department of Defence has indicated in a number of reports over the past few years, that they would like to replace the current Tiger helicopter and have generated an RFI last year to examine options for so doing.
The choices being discussion are the Tiger replacing itself; or the American options, either the US Army’s Apache or the USMC’s Viper attack helicopters. And there have been suggestions as well by some analysts, that the Australian Army should forgo replacing its current ARH and add an unmanned capability and to prepare for the coming of the US Army’s next generation attack helicopter which is at least a decade or more away.
But as is often the case, a platform choice is not simply about side by side comparisons as if picking different styles of bananas but are choices that have tactical and strategic consequences. Or put another way, tactical options and strategic consequences flow from platform choices.
The Australian Army is at a key inflection point in terms of its future; a choice in the ARH domain will be part of determination of which alternative futures are prioritized.
For the report in PDF format, see the following:Australian ARH Decision
For the report in e-book format, see the following: