BLUF

In the likely high-intensity world of future conflict; the ADF might find it more cost-effective to keep the Tiger helicopter but to operate it alongside autonomous drones.

Summary

Malcolm Davis—a senior analyst for  ASPI which is partially supported by the Australian government—notes that the government is preparing to replace its ‘Aussie Tiger’ helicopter just as the Tiger is beginning to work well. However, the main problem with the Tiger is that it is not able to fully network with the rest of the ADF. Further, the recent Nagorno-Karabakh War demonstrates the effectiveness of cheap, lethal drones. Recent technological advances mean inhabited helicopters may become increasingly vulnerable to a drone attack. Relatively cheap suicide drones can be launched from the back of a ute and, if launched in large enough numbers, could possibly take out an expensive military helicopter. Investing in swarms of autonomous weapons to work alongside inhabited platforms and complemented by a battlespace command and control system might be a better way to prepare for a future war in our region.