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Australia Ditches Plan to Procure 16 Special Forces Light Helicopters

Australia will no longer proceed with its plan to procure 16 light helicopters to support its special forces operations.

The announcement was made by Major General Stephen Jobson, commander of the Australian Army’s Aviation Command, during the Avalon international airshow 2023.

He disclosed that the plan, which is part of project Land 2097 Phase 4, had been canceled to avoid overlapping capabilities in the near future.

Canberra reportedly has existing programs to procure the AH-64E Apache Guardian from Boeing, UH-60M Black Hawk from Sikorsky, and additional CH-47F Chinook helicopters.

The first batch of Black Hawks set to replace the country’s MRH90 Taipan multi-role helicopters are expected to arrive later this year.

“The UH-60M will come into service as an aircraft system that will provide dedicated support to Australia’s special forces,” Jobson said, as reported by Janes.

Project Land 2097

In 2020, Australia issued a request for proposals for 16 commercial off-the-shelf light helicopters to support counter-terrorism operations.

Airbus was among the companies that responded to the request, offering its H145M light attack helicopter.

Babcock and Jet Australia also pitched different solutions based on the Bell 429 GlobalRanger twin-engine helicopter.

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