Australia has shortlisted three contenders for a contract to provide its military with rotary wing training.

The three parties selected to contest Canberra's Air 9000 Phase 7 requirement are Eurocopter's local unit, Australian Aerospace; Boeing/Thales; and Raytheon/Bell, says the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) in a statement.

Those eliminated from the tender include a team compromising BAE Systems, CAE and AgustaWestland, and another comprising Lockheed Martin and Bristow Helicopters.

"The new training system will comprise a combination of light twin-engined helicopters, with options for basic and advanced avionics systems; a mix of synthetic training devices (simulators and part-task trainers); new training, administration and warehousing facilities; and integrated through life support," says the DMO. "An aviation training vessel will also be supplied as a component of the new training system through existing Defence Maritime Support arrangements."

A final decision is likely by the middle of 2014, and the DMO calculates the project value at A$1 billion ($960 million).

 AS350 - Commonwealth of Australia

Commonwealth of Australia

The winner of the tender will train pilots for a range of types operated by Australia's armed forces, including the Eurocopter Tiger, Sikorsky/Lockheed MH-60R, Boeing CH-47F Chinook and NH Industries MRH90. It will see a single type replace the navy's Eurocopter AS350 Squirrels (above) and the army's Bell OH-58 Kiowas.

Source: Flight International