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Australian Aerospace announces Air 9000 Phase 7 bid

Eurocopter unit Australian Aerospace will bid as a prime contractor in Australia's Air 9000 Phase 7 tender, offering the EC135 helicopter as its training platform.

"Australian Aerospace will bid as prime contractor on the Australian Defence Force's Project Air 9000 Phase 7 Helicopter Aircrew Training System tender," the company said.

"Australian Aerospace's proposal will build on the company's training systems design capability, its extensive Australian civil and military aircraft support infrastructure, and the superiority of the EC135, the industry's reference twin-engine training and light utility helicopter," said company chief exectuive Jens Goennemann. It is in discussions with potential bid subcontractors.


© Eurocopter

Other teams bidding for the tender include BAE Systems/CAE/AgustaWestland, Bell Helicopter/Raytheon, Boeing/Thales - also offering the EC135 - and Lockheed Martin/Bristow Helicopter.

Air 9000 Phase 7 aims to provide a comprehensive training package that includes facilities and aircraft for the joint training of Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army helicopter pilots. It will see the replacement of the navy's Eurocopter AS350 Squirrels and the army's Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters with a single type.

A request for tender was issued last month.

Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation has not specified the number of helicopters to be operated, leaving it up to bidders to submit their suggestions. It estimates the cost of the programme to be between A$500 million ($530 million) and A$1 billion.

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