Yep, I too understand that it was a political D by the Liberals. Then again, RAAF got F-18A/F/G, F-35, MC-55A, P-8, Triton, E-7A, KC-30A ... because of good Staff Work and resisting political Ds; some MOTS and some not. They also got C-27J b/c 'it's better than nothing' as a purely political D by ALP during a dry procurement period (ah, Mr Smith; prosecutor-general v ADFA); my point is that when it was a critical procurement, which presumably ARH/MRH was and Spartan is not, then Air had the with-all to fight for it.
Most of those have matured to become good platforms. But there is some rose-coloured looking back there for some. The F-35 is not a smooth acquisition, no matter how good it is. Sure, most issues can be laid at the feet of Lockheed Martin, but the RAAF has caused a few issues with their own internal decisions. The P-8 discussions/tactical changes were quite messy, many words were written comparing to the P-3, especially the lack of MAD boom. Furthermore, some of the decisions made were questionable, for many sub-systems no spares were purchased (including no spare engines) that had to be rectified latter at more cost. The KC-30 is arguably the best AAR today, but its initial development work was over cost and overtime, and for a while there it looked like the remote boom would not work.
Then look at some of the other projects. The C-27J is a debacle, it was Army officers who saved MQ-28 after a dedicated (and very senior) effort by AFHQ to turn it off, the air defence projects are very questionable, plus some other issues among some of the other AIR projects not suitable for here. I can assure you, AFHQ brought as many gaps for their projects to ADFHQ as the other services and groups do....
You forgot to mention that it was purely bloody-minded Army politics and ignorance that caused this. Bugger the fact that it took decades to regain lost capability and that Air Power is best utilised via centralisation.
Msn's besides local civil spt and direct Army: Air Mobility; SAR; VLR insert; AAR receiver; JPR/CSAR; EW; Communications/Relay; ISR; SEAD/DEAD; Interdiction; CT; Counter-Drone; Counter-helo
A lot; noting that only the simple M1A2 is currently in service
Operating costs of UH-60M are "1/3" of MRH-90; that 'helicopter' is also unable to do the mission after decades of trying, is what I read.
The MAJGEN displays the ability to crisis-manage, after much wasted effort, but he did not provide evidence that LAND can manage complex machinery.
Plus the small mater of taxpayers AUD going down the gurgla.
@Gooey Withdraw and apologise. This comment of yours is unbecoming and unwarranted.
Noting up front my subaltern time was spent in 16 Brigade, and I've given a significant amount of sleep and blood to the helo fleet, I have no problems questioning if rotary wing aviation should be provided by the RAAF or the Army. I mean, lets look at the key underpinning fact to a aviation fleet that can fight: airworthiness. CAF owns operational and technical; half my officer courses were at RAAF Wagga, Orchard Hills and RAAF Laverton as I was taught the latter. In fact, I have about a year of courses over and above a normal RAEME officer thanks to that. I'd say I've done a dozen audits where the team were mostly, if not all, RAAF; I've done over a dozen Weapons System Review Committees and the like where I helped justify actions to a RAAF 2-star. I've been investigated by a RAAF accident team twice (both times were an Aero and a fighter pilot). Fundamentally speaking, I am as trained, as experienced and as knowledgeable as any RAAF Aero or Armo. So.... there are no issues there. Every year the Army operators and maintainers prove to CAF that they are operationally and technically airworthy.
So, what would a move to the RAAF offer? If Black Hawk, Huey, Kiowa and Tiger were always RAAF assets, what would have changed in my career? I would have spent less time on logistics courses (which would have negatively impacted my engineering skills), I'd have less knowledge of Army supply chains (which would have negatively impacted my ability to work with the Bde's when I deployed), and I'd be a helicopter individual in a service that worships pointy grey fast things. Yes, ACM Houston was a helo pilot initially, but do we honestly think that there would have been many opportunities for the helicopter peeps above SQNLDR?
That's a list of negatives; what positive would there be? You mention aviation is best managed centrally - we already do that with airworthiness (I've had two bosses since day one of being a LT; the CA and the CAF). If you are talking operationally via the AOC....well, that's a separate debate that I am happy to have - but straight up I think the almost dictatorial control of airpower via the AOC will become one of the wrong lessons learnt from Iraq/Afghanistan. Either way, helicopters were never part of that, regardless of nation. That tends to argue that no-one (including the US Army, USMC, USAF or RAF) thinks that central control of fast air and helicopters is needed.
But what about complexity? I have worked in and beside the Army Aviation and Land Army Programs, and DACM is streets ahead of Land. The way that Army Aviation (and this includes the loggies) manages its fleets is indistinguishable to how the RAAF manages its fleets, and should be the exemplar for the rest of Army. I have spent many hours talking to the AFV and Arty Programs at all ranks about how DACM works as they try and step their staff up to that level. I would argue if you cut the AAvn/RAEME staff from any fleet across to, say, the M1 fleet (and allowing for contract differences) than tank would be in a better spot. But, if you remove the helo's from Army, where would Army find the knowledge that there is a better way of managing their fleets? Because last time I checked, there were about 8 Aero's at the O4/O5 level across LCD, all of whom can help bring the fleet management skills of other Land materiel up.
And on complexity, don't get me wrong. Helicopters are pretty easy. I mean, a Kiowa is less complex than an MX-5 for the most part! But Tiger (and prob Taipan)? That's as complex as any RAAF platform. It is slower, and uses less fuel, but it's a digital aircraft with a variety of weapons, comms and a flight envelope that stretches it's physical limit. It may not pull 8G at M1.2; but neither does a KC-30. Now, compare to our current fleet and it's clear that the majority are no-where near a helo. A Unimog? A M113AS4? Bahahahahaha..... An ASLAV though, that's about a Black Hawk. But, an M1? A Boxer? An IFV or SPH? There are going to be equal to any helicopter. Again, I've spent a number of hours with the AFV fleet peeps, operators and maintainers and once you get past one flies and one doesn't, there is no difference between a Tiger and a M1A2. Where do you think Army is going to draw lessons from on managing these fleets? I'll tell you right now, it won't be RAAF or RAN because of Service rivalry....
For all that negativity, there is an excellent question to be asked about the senior management of Army Aviation. At the end of the day, AAvn is pretty much a single FEG. Comparing a FEG HQ to the new Aviation Comd HQ would throw up some interesting questions - straight up, a 1 star v a 2 star? And I am aware that AFHQ had some questions about that. I think that right there is where you would be better off placing your thoughts. I think the above points highlight that there is no real advantage bringing them back under the RAAF at the unit, SPO or DACM levels; but above that? II think there is significant room for discussion.