ARH ‘Tigers’ on the Prowl, after long OT&E
The road to operational readiness has been a long and painful one for Army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) capability and even today, some nine years after the first two were accepted by Army, there is still some work ahead before all the boxes are ticked.
It is fair to say that Tiger represents a capability that Army has never had before and so the learning curve has been steep. The delays to service introduction have also not been helped by a supply and sustainment system which was not sufficiently mature to sustain the flying Rate of Effort (RoE) required and to some extent this latter problem is still having an impact on operations today. However Army is enthusiastic about Tiger’s capabilities and it has performed extremely well in several major exercises in recent times. There is a feeling within Army that it is now earning the respect it deserves and it continues to win over its critics. In the recent Talisman Saber exercise for example, the rules reportedly had to be adjusted to accommodate the ARH capability.
Although Final Operating Capability is still some way into the future and there is still some work to be done, notably the completion of shipboard trials in order to realise the Australian Defence Force’s amphibious warfare goals, Tiger is now a permanent and valued member of Army’s combined arms team.