Eurocopter Pacific has finalised a A$1.3 billion ($700 million) contract with the Australian government to supply Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters for the Australian army.

The deal, signed on 21 December, follows a fast-track contract negotiation process after a threat of project deferral if no deal was struck before the New Year. Australian defence projects not yet at contract are to undergo a review over the next three months as part of a new strategic review ordered by the Australian government.

The contract comes three and half years after the Australian defence department launched a competition for reconnaissance helicopters. It also comes amid department claims that the fast-track negotiations have resulted in slack contract arrangements.

The first operational aircraft are to enter service at the end of 2004.


Source: Flight International