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Tiger ARH to resume flying ‘within weeks’

Australian Army soldiers from 1st Aviation Regiment prepare a Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter for flight at the Forward Arming and Refuelling Point in Robertson Barracks, Darwin.Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell says the Army’s fleet of 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters could resume flying within weeks.

Responding to questions from the Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee on Wednesday evening, LTGEN Campbell said the Tiger’s ‘operational pause’, put in place following the fatal crash of a German Army Tiger helicopter in August, should soon be lifted.

“With regard to when [flying will resume], we believe it might be in a matter of weeks,” Chief of Army told the committee.

“But I’m awaiting advice from the Forces Commander, Major General McLaughlin, on that issue.”

LTGEN Campbell said an Australian Army test pilot was sent to Germany to help with investigations into the accident.

“We have sent a qualified Tiger test pilot to Germany, greatly and very positively received by the Germans, to assist in their work in investigation of the accident,” he said.

“We’re liaising very closely with other Tiger user partners as well as the manufacturer on the issue. There are a couple of issues still at play, and the investigation remains open, but we think we’re coming to the end of the pause.”

While the Tiger is not flying, LTGEN Campbell noted aircrews are continuing to train in the Tiger simulators and “also work on some other helicopter types to maintain general aviation skills”.