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Airbus announces industry team for Australian special forces helicopter bid

Photo: Airbus

Airbus Helicopters announced it has teamed up with over 20 Australian partners to form Team Nightjar, a consortium that will try to clinch a contract for the construction of up to 16 helicopters for Australian special operations forces.

Australia is looking to acquire the aircraft as part of Project LAND 2097 Phase 4 which has issued requests for proposals for a four-ton class, rapidly deployable, multi-role helicopter.

Team Nightjar, whose members include: Cablex, Cyborg Dynamics, Deakin University, DEWC, ECLIPS, Ferra Engineering, Helicopter Logistics, Helimods, Kinetic Fighting, Kratos Australia, Microflite, PREDICT Australia, QinetiQ Australia, Safran Helicopter Engines Australia, Seeing Machines, Sigma Bravo, Rusada, TAFE NSW, Tagai Management Consultants, Toll Helicopters, University of Technology Sydney, Varley Group and Varley Rafael Australia, will be offering Airbus H145M for the bid.

“We recognize the importance of working with Australian companies on this program, with each partner offering niche capabilities to the commonwealth. Building on our established commitment to Australian industry, Team Nightjar will have a strong focus on Australian industrial support and innovation,” said Andrew Mathewson, managing director of Airbus Australia Pacific.

“The Commonwealth is seeking a proven, mature and highly reliable off-the-shelf platform and robust support systems. The H145M that we are proposing is the latest member of the H145 family, which has flown over 5.9 million hours with more than 1,400 aircraft in service globally across civil, parapublic and military domains.”

Airbus said the light twin-engine aircraft would complement the MRH90 Taipan with improved mobility and situational awareness for special operations. The company noted that small size of the H145M would allow for operations within dense urban terrain in addition to being rapidly deployable via a C-17A Globemaster.

Another contender in Project LAND 2097 is Babcock, who has teamed with Bell to offer a modified Bell 429 Global Ranger for the bid.