The Australian government and Australian Aerospace have resolved their dispute over the army's delayed introduction of 22 Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters, with the former also having resumed programme payments.

Canberra ceased payments last June after the Eurocopter subsidiary failed to meet a contractual milestone relating to aircraft deliveries and the programme's training schedule, with the latter caused by delays to the Franco/German Tiger programme. A number of issues with the through-life support contract had already been highlighted by a National Audit Office report in 2006.

Under a newly signed deed of agreement, a contract change proposal will transition the current support framework to a performance-based structure and reduce the cost of ownership over time. Australian Aerospace will also supply two Eurocopter EC135s to be based in Darwin for two years to deliver lead-in skills training for pilots before converting to the Tiger.

Twenty aircrew have so far qualified to fly Australia's current 11 Tigers, which have logged 2,400 flight hours.

Source: Flight International