Skip to comments.Helicopters can be deployed to war zone, experts declare (Australia)
Posted on 07/22/2011 8:22:39 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Helicopters can be deployed to war zone, experts declare
Defence Writer Ian McPhedran
July 22, 201112:00AM
THE Federal Government and military chiefs are under pressure to send new attack choppers to Afghanistan.
High-level war games proved the army's Tiger attack helicopters were ready to fight.
The Tigers are not fully accepted into operational service, but they have performed so well at the huge biennial military exercise with US forces at Shoalwater Bay that one senior officer has pronounced them "ready for war".
The key sticking point remains the controversial issue of night-vision equipment - the choppers are more than ready for daytime operations in Afghanistan.
Senior officers have refused to consider deploying them until the delayed night-vision capability is fully operational.
"This exercise shows that the capability is mature and can integrate seamlessly into the army's battlefield systems," the officer in command of the Darwin-based 1st Aviation Regiment's 162 Reconnaissance Squadron, Major Hayden Archibald, told The Advertiser.
Built in Brisbane by Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace, the Aussie Tiger is one of the most advanced attack helicopters in the world.
Eight Tigers from the regiment's force of 12 have been deployed to Rockhampton with Battle Group Cavalier, that includes 10 Black Hawks from the Sydney- and Townsville-based 6 and 5 Aviation Regiments, and seven Kiowa helicopters.
Major Archibald rates the chopper above the much heavier US-built Apache.
The sleek machine is designed for attack, reconnaissance and security roles, and flies with a pilot up front and a gunner behind and above. Both are qualified pilots but the front seat is the pilot's station.
The pilot also operates the "self-protection" 30mm canon that is hooked up to his helmet-mounted sight display, so whatever the pilot sees is what the gun hits with high precision.
The Talisman Sabre war games have thrown up some spare-parts challenges for the Tigers; but that is unlikely to be a problem for machines deployed to a war zone.
"I would love to go to Afghanistan tomorrow with the Tigers," Major Archibald said.
"This machine is good to go. It is a wonderful aircraft to fly and is so well built for the attack role."
The Australian Army's Tiger helicopters, from 162 Reconnaissance Squadron, are taking part in the joint military exercise in Shoalwater Bay just outside of Rockhampton
Picture: Gary Ramage . Source: The Advertiser
Looks like a Mangusta knockoff.
Bigger. Midway between Mangusta and Apache in size. And like Apache, a 30mm gun.