New Air Force helicopters arrive despite concerns
Tue, 06 Dec 2011 1:44p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
The Air Force has taken delivery of two new helicopters this morning as part of the replacement and modernisation of their fleet – despite damning criticisms of the aircraft from other customers.
The first two of eight NH90 helicopters, which cost $771 million and will slowly replace the 40-year-old Iroquois fleet, arrived at Ohakea airbase this morning.
Both helicopters were transported to Ohakea from France aboard
an Antonov An-124 Ruslan transporter aircraft.
Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says the Iroquois helicopters are workhorses but are overdue for replacement and the new NH90s will be a “quantum leap” for the Air Force’s capability.
However, the aircraft has received mixed reviews overseas, with the German Army – the biggest customer for the helicopter with 122 orders – highlighting a number of shortcomings in a report leaked last year.
The United Press International reported that the leaked document revealed the helicopter had a number of issues including:
Despite the criticisms, Dr Mapp said at the time that he had every confidence in the aircraft, telling the New Zealand Herald that “they would perform all the required functions well”.
Dr Mapp still remains confident with the aircraft, citing they have “over three times the power of the current Iroquois and can carry more than twice the payload further and faster”.
He says they give the Defence Force “better capability to conduct military, counter-terrorism, disaster relief, search and rescue, and other operations.”
“They have twin engines for better safety over water. They will also be able to operate from the HMNZS Canterbury which will add tremendously to her versatility,” he says.
The six remaining aircraft will start to arrive next year.
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25/01/2012 9:03:42 a.m.
Grant Kilby wrote:
Don't know why they didn't buy Merlin helicopters ?????
12/12/2011 1:16:44 p.m.
Robert M wrote:
The NH90's might ultimately find their role mainly with the Navy rather than in overseas army deployments like Afghanistan. THe NH90 is intended to operate from the HMNZS Canterbury and may later operate from a new generation of OPVs and Corvettes like the Dutch Holland and Zeeland. Posssibly they could be adapted to anti submarine and anti ship work, which was the original reason for the NH 90 design. Also without fighter's surely it would be better to merge the RNZAF into the Navy and Army.
9/12/2011 7:21:43 p.m.
Actually the german report which complained about issues was relating to a prototype model, and the information was used to remedy the issues. And to everyone who complains about lack of interoperability with australia, the aussies are replace their blackhawks with NH90s, so both nations will be using the same equipment.
7/12/2011 11:10:02 p.m.
Just like the Pinzgauer, i give it 5 years before we have massive problems with these choppers and start paying millions of dollars just to keep them airworthy.
7/12/2011 2:48:56 a.m.
We live in good ol NZ which is at the bottom of the world right! and they will be based here right! so its good to see that they won't be used in warfare and will only serve in the training of our soldiers, airlifting victims, supplies and maybe the odd photographer. oh and we pretty used to making mods to weapons and such, so a couple of seats and a ramp wont take long.
6/12/2011 11:43:44 p.m.
@Ed because Aunty Helen and her anti yank brigade weren't going to buy US equipment. The Seasprite helicopters they bought were only a token purchase, and the are rebuilt frames that are already rusting and will need replacing soon as its impossible to get spares. Kind like the Skyhawks I guess..
6/12/2011 8:19:44 p.m.
@John. That includes extended warranty! $96.3M each! Bargain! good job our early childhood care/education/health system is in good order and we've got all this money ay?
6/12/2011 7:02:15 p.m.
The main reason was troop carrier capability and most of the issues outlined above has alot to do with that. Why was not the Blackhawk considered. Our ANZAC brothers are using them so supply and support training is already down this end of the globe. Just like the Pinzgauer, another white elephant.
6/12/2011 6:05:36 p.m.
Typical NZ, likes to buy non proven designs and continues with the contract even after reports suggest otherwise.
Most of the big $$$ items, have all had big ? above them, yet NZDF/NZ Govt continues to look the other way.
Wouldn't be surprised if personal gain, has been the drive behind such items.
6/12/2011 2:48:02 p.m.
No this seems about right for the defence force. SNAFU.They did the same thing with the LAV and the LOV, paying through the teeth for the product and not planning properly for its sustainment within the forces, nor for is continued maintenance and replacements. Absoluetley typical of the incompetence of the higher commanders and decision makers of the defence force and shows just how totally out of touch they are. They have been in so long that they have over-inflated senses of self-worth. They are big fish in small ponds and this is the result.
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