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Australian MoD, Eurocopter Reach Agreement On Helicopter Fix

Will Re-Set The Delivery Schedule, Correct Technical Problems With The Aircraft

The Australian Ministry of Defense and Eurocopter are working to resolve issues with the MRH-90 transport helicopter that has seen a raft of problems during its development.

In an agreement worked out between the government and the manufacturer, Eurocopter will provide one additional aircraft at no cost to the government, as well as re-setting the six-year-old program's delivery schedule.

Reuters reports that the $2 billion program has seen its share of issues, including an engine failure, windscreen cracks, and problems with an inertial navigation system, all of which have pushed the delivery date back three years. But Defence Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement that "With continued good progress, the MRH-90 program will be considered for removal from the Projects of Concern list by the end of 2013."

Some of the problems arose from operations in Australia's sometimes-harsh climate, as well as difficulties landing on uneven ground, or navigation onto the deck of a ship at sea.

The aircraft are principally manufactured by Australian Aerospace, a subsidiary of Eurocopter. The country is one of only a few outside Europe to have taken delivery of the twin-engine, fly-by-wire aircraft that is produced jointly by Eurocopter and AgustaWestland. Australia has taken delivery of 16 of the aircraft with an additional three expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

(Pictured: MRH-90 delivery in 2008)

FMI: www.defence.gov.au

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