The federal government has ordered more training helicopters, speeded the delivery of Black Hawk helicopters and has beefed up the related maintenance effort in a move to boost the mobility of the Australian Army.
The United States is expediting delivery of three extra Black Hawk helicopters in 2024, seeing a total of 12 aircraft on our shores by the end of this year.
At the same time Australia will procure five Airbus Helicopters’ H135 ‘Juno’ training craft (pictured) from the United Kingdom, with the new craft expected to commence in Oakey, Queensland, by mid-year.
Meanwhile hundreds of Australian jobs will be created to sustain and support the army’s future helicopter fleet, as part of a $830 million investment in local industry.
The Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy said: “Through these contracts with Boeing Defence Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia, we are helping deliver certainty for local defence industry.
“These contracts will support hundreds of well-paid jobs, providing financial security for hard working Australians.”
Lockheed Martin Australia has been awarded a $340 million integrated support contract for Australia’s Black Hawk helicopters in a five-year contract that will generate hundreds of jobs in Queensland and New South Wales, including through the establishment of a central warehouse in Western Sydney.
Queensland will receive an additional jobs boost through two Boeing Defence Australia contracts now in place for the AH-64E Apache platform and CH-47F Chinook fleet.
More than 230 new jobs across Queensland will be supported by a seven-year initial support contract for the Apache helicopter worth $306 million, delivering maintenance, engineering, training and logistics services.
The Apache helicopter fleet will be based in Townsville from 2025 where it is estimated more than 150 jobs will be created, with a further 50 jobs in Brisbane and 30 jobs in Oakey.
The Chinook integrated support services contract with Boeing Defence Australia has also been extended for an additional 12-months until August 2028, increasing the total contract value from $146 million to $184 million.
Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand’s Chief Executive Warren McDonald said the company was delighted to partner with the Australian Army to sustain the UH-60M.
“Lockheed Martin Australia is highly committed to growing our sovereign rotary-wing workforce and supply chains to maximise Australian industry participation in the sustainment of Army’s Black Hawks,”
Picture: Royal Air Force/Juno HT1 from Airbus Helicopters