The Australian Defence Force plans to issue a request for proposals to replace the Army and Royal Australian Navy’s fleets of helicopter trainers with a new, common, comprehensive, and commerciallybased program.
Rotor & Wing Pacific Rim Correspondent Barney O’Shea reports that Australian officials said the new version of their project Air 9000’s training segment would replace the Army’s Bell 206 Kiowas and the Navy’s Eurocopter AS350 Squirrels starting in 2010 or 2011.
A full fleet of 28 twin-engine, glass-cockpit helicopters would be in service as early as 2012, if the military’s plans hold. Those aircraft also could play a utility role and be fitted with hoists, radar, night-flying capability and other essentials. The new training regime would rely on a commercial vendor to develop and maintain the syllabus, simulators, and training devices.