Airbus Australia Pacific has won a contract extension to continue providing support for the Australian Army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH).

The company is under contract to deliver through-life support (TLS) for the helicopter, which entered service in 2004.

Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “With an anticipated value of up to $790m, this contract will see the continued employment of 60 staff in Darwin who provide maintenance and logistics support services at Army’s 1st Aviation Regiment.”

The extension will also help retain 70 staff at the Army Aviation Training Centre in Oakey, Queensland.

Furthermore, a workforce of 130 at Brisbane Airport will continue employment to provide commercial, engineering and logistics services.

The Tiger ARH is a two-seat attack helicopter that currently serves as a critical asset for the Australian Defence Force.

“Approximately 21 Tiger helicopters were approved to undergo upgrades under the LAND 2089 Phase 3B programme in 2014.”

The Australian Army deploys the helicopter to perform precise day and night surveillance, as well as fire-support missions.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds said: “As part of this arrangement there is a provision for Airbus to provide long-term labour to support the continued capability of army aviation platforms across Australia.

“It allows the defence to exercise flexibility to continue its work with existing industry partners to support and improve the fleet whilst also meeting the capability requirements of the army.”

In 2011, Airbus completed the delivery of 22 ARH Tiger helicopters to the Australian Army.

Approximately 21 Tiger helicopters were approved to undergo upgrades under the LAND 2089 Phase 3B programme in 2014.

A modified version of the Tiger HAP helicopter, the ARH is armed with an M299 launcher for firing Hellfire II anti-tank missiles and 70mm free-flight Hydra rockets, the Nexter 30mm cannon and four Stinger air-to-air missiles.