Thu, Mar 29, 2007
46 Troop Transports Destined For MoD
Australia's Ministry of Defense told ANN the first of
Australia's 46 MRH-90 transport helicopters conducted its maiden
flight in Marignane, France on Thursday morning. The aircraft flew
for 1.5 hours, and the MoD states the Eurocopter test crew was
"delighted" with its performance.
The first four MRH-90s -- a variant of the EADS/NH Industries
NH-90 twin-engine, troop-lift helicopter (shown above) -- are
scheduled for delivery to Australia by the end of 2007. The first
fuselage of the 42 aircraft to be assembled in Australia arrived in
Brisbane on March 27.
The Australian government announced the acquisition of 12
MRH-90s helicopters for Army in August 2004, to bolster Australia's
counter terrorism capabilities. The original intent behind the
purchase was to allow the redeployment of a Blackhawk squadron to
provide dedicated support for Australian Special Forces on the east
In June 2006, the Government announced the acquisition of an
additional 34 MRH-90s -- to replace Army's Blackhawks and Navy's
Sea Kings, both based on Sikorsky's UH-60 helo. The project value
for the total acquisition of 46 aircraft is around $4.2
The project includes a $1.2 billion Australian Industry
Capability package, that focuses on state of the art composite
construction, avionics, turbine engine assembly and maintenance,
and ongoing software support.
The project also includes the construction of new or upgraded
facilities in Townsville, Oakey, Nowra and Holsworthy.
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