AAF Has 46 Multi-Role Helos On Order
The Australian Armed Forces took
formal delivery Tuesday of the first two of 46 new, large and fast
troop-carrying helicopters in Brisbane at Australian Aerospace, a
subisidary of Eurocopter. The hand-over ceremony, which was
preceded by a fly-past of the two MRH90s, was attended by an
impressive grouping of the nation’s leaders, Federal, State
and Local government officials, senior officers of the Australian
Defence Force, and senior executives of Eurocopter, including CEO
Lutz Bertling, Australian Aerospace, EADS and industry
The MRH90 helicopters are the Australian variant of the NH90.
They are capable of carrying two pilots and 20 fully-equipped
combat troops up to 900km at speeds of up to 300km/h. They will
replace existing Army Black Hawk and Navy Sea King helicopters.
The first two aircraft arrived in Brisbane last month aboard an
Antonov heavy lift air transport from Eurocopter’s main plant
in France. Another two MRH90s being manufactured in France will be
delivered around the middle of next year.
"This ceremony marks the beginning of a new era for the
Australian Army and Navy, as the MRH90 will strongly contribute to
the modernization of their operational capabilities. It also marks
a significant milestone in the successful cooperation between
Eurocopter, its industrial partners and the Australian Authorities,
being an on schedule delivery, to the Australian Defence Force,"
Australia chose the MRH90 over competing types as part of a
program to modernize and rationalize its military helicopter fleet
with the aim of developing a hardened and networked defence force.
The all-composite, fly-by-wire MRH90 was chosen ahead of its US
rival, the UH-M60 Black Hawk.
Following completion of the first four MRH90s and their delivery
to Australia, the remaining 42 aircraft will be produced at
Australian Aerospace’s Brisbane plant. The MRH90 assembly
line was inaugurated in May this year and already work is
proceeding on the first four of the locally assembled aircraft.
Australia initially ordered 12 MRH90s in 2004 but subsequently
increased this to 46. These aircraft will be delivered to the ADF
over the next seven years.
Altogether, the MRH-90 program will generate 400 new jobs in
Australia and inject A$ 1.34 billion into the national economy. A
10-year, through-life support program will also be carried out in
Australia, according to Eurocopter.