Babcock Announced Joint Venture With Bell Helicopters for the Requirement of Australian SAS Helicopter

Babcock announces that it had selected the Bell 429 Global Ranger helicopter in its bid for the LAND 2097 Phase 4 Project to support the Australian Special Air Service (SAS) helicopter capability.

As part of its selection process, Babcock completed a comprehensive assessment of the platforms available in order to provide the most capable, low-risk solution for Australia’s special operations community.

“The Bell 429 has a relatively new paramilitary design, with high levels of safety, role flexibility and performance that will meet the demands of Australian Special Forces. Working together, Babcock and Bell draw on a global track record of successful helicopter operations to deliver a trusted solution,” Graeme Nayler, Managing Director of Babcock explained.

The ADF has a history of operating the Bell 429, with the Royal Australian Navy having operated a small fleet of the 429 platform beginning in 2012.

The Navy’s Bell 429 helicopters were commissioned in 2012 and would go on to fly more than 10,000 hours, training more than 100 aircrew.

In its almost 10 years of service, the Navy’s Bell 429 helicopters travelled the length and breadth of Australia, supporting everything from naval small boat work-ups off the coast of Darwin to providing a fly-past for an Aviation Warfare Office Course graduation at East Sale, Victoria.

Bell’s managing director, Asia Pacific, David Sale, said Bell has a well-earned reputation for ruggedness and reliability.

“The Bell 429 is rugged and reliable. It is operationally robust and favoured by pilots and crew throughout the world, with more than 330 aircraft exceeding 330,000 hours of operation.

“With an open architecture system and global support in place, the Bell 429 Global Ranger has the capacity to perform consistently and adapt rapidly to new technologies and evolving requirements.”

“Babcock and Bell’s offering is designed to be a pivot from OEM to service providers, which ultimately works better for the end user and CASG, minimising risk and cost, while providing confidence in delivery time frame.”

Defence is planning to acquire a fleet of up to 18 light helicopters to enhance the aviation capability of Australian Special Operations Forces through increased mobility, direct air support and ISR as part of LAND 2097 Phase 4.

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