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MRH 90 to Replace Sea King and Black Hawk Helicopters
(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued June 19, 2006)
I am pleased to announce that Government has approved a $ 2 billion acquisition of thirty-four MRH 90 helicopters to replace Navy's Sea King and Army's Black Hawk helicopters.
The selection of the MRH 90 complements the Government's decision in 2004 to acquire an initial twelve MRH 90 helicopters as Army's additional troop lift helicopter. Delivery of the first twelve is scheduled from December 2007 through to December 2009.
The 34 additional MRH 90s will be assembled in Brisbane. When delivered, the MRH 90s will be based at RAAF base Townsville, Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney and HMAS Albatross in Nowra. A contingent will also be based at a joint training facility at Oakey in Queensland.
The new twin-engine troop lift helicopters will provide opportunities for joint fleet management. These benefits include greater operational flexibility and efficiency through common operational, training and logistic systems and a capability to rotate personnel, aircraft, spare parts and role-specific equipment between troop lift, special operations and maritime support commitments.
The MRH 90 is an extremely capable helicopter featuring a modern damage-tolerant design, a large cabin volume with ramp and enhanced levels of marinisation.
The Sea Kings will be retired in 2010, followed by the Black Hawks which will be progressively replaced between 2011 and 2015.
As these MRH 90 aircraft will be assembled in Australia this acquisition of at least 34 aircraft will provide significant opportunities for Australian industry and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will gain an operating capability within a relatively short time-frame.
The emphasis of the Australian industry package, worth A$1.2 billion , is on the development and sustainment of critical aircraft mission system capability. The long term viability of the Australian MRH 90 assembly line will be maximized, ensuring greater development of the skill base required to support the MRH 90 into the future through a strategy aimed at promoting Australian industry as part of the Eurocopter global supply chain.
New Major Order for Eurocopter in Australia: The Federal Government Signs for 34 MRH-90s
(Source: Eurocopter; issued June 19, 2006)(Edited to add correction)
Eurocopter is once again selected by the Australian government to fulfill the Army helicopter needs. An agreement was concluded today in Canberra between the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation and Australian Aerospace, a Eurocopter subsidiary, for 34 MRH-90s to the benefit of the Australian Defence Force.
The contract, which has not yet been signed, is worth 1.17 billion euros.
This decision comes less than two years after the Federal Government ordered the first 12 MRH-90s as additional troop lift helicopters. Already in December 2001, Eurocopter was selected to provide 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARH) to the Australian Army.
Eurocopter warmly welcomes this decision, which confirms the leadership of its products in the military sector and the trustworthy relationship it has built with the Australian government.
The MRH-90s, the world's most advanced medium-lift helicopter, was chosen ahead of the Black Hawk. It will now be stepped up at Australian Aerospace's Brisbane plant. Through-life support services also will take place in Australia.
Expanding local production and support for the MRH-90s will make Australia one of the cornerstones of the global supply chain of the Eurocopter network, which includes Australian Aerospace.
Together, the two MRH-90 contracts will generate 400 highly skilled jobs in Australia and will inject A.1 billion into the Australian economy.
Eurocopter CEO, Fabrice Bregier, said: "this additional order confirms not only the superiority of the NH-90 in its class but also the strong links developed between Eurocopter and its Australian partners. It will be a major step ahead for the Australian industry and is fully in line with the worldwide expansion strategy of Eurocopter, which consists in developing long term industrial partnerships with major customer countries."
The Australian version of the NH-90, called MRH-90, is a truly multi-role helicopter which carries more troops and more equipment, further and faster than other helicopters of the same weight. It can be configured in more ways and is fully interoperable with NATO and Coalition forces. The MRH-90 is ideal to operate from land and sea. Its composite construction means there is no corrosion. It is easy and quick to maintain and spends a greater percentage of its operational life in the air than other helicopters in this class.
The NH90 is the biggest helicopter programme ever launched in Europe, with firm orders for 357 units and options for a further 187. Customer countries which have placed firm orders are France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman and Australia. The latest countries to have officially selected the NH90 are New Zealand, Spain and Belgium. Due to its inherent multi-role capability, the NH90 is able to fulfil a large variety of missions and has been selected for Army, Air Force, Navy and SAR services by the respective customer nations.
In Australia, Eurocopter, through Australian Aerospace and its Regional Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, assembles, tests, supplies, maintains, modifies and enhances civil and military aircraft for the Australian and export markets. Currently, it is assembling and delivering 18 of the 22 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters to the Australian Army, to be followed by 42 of the 46 MRH-90s for the troop and utility lift role. At the same time, Australian Aerospace assembles and delivers the EC120 Colibri light civil helicopter for customers throughout the Asia Pacific region, as well as supporting the more than 350 Eurocopter helicopters currently active in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Australian Aerospace recently announced plans to invest a further A million in a state-of-the-art composite fibre manufacturing plant in Queensland
Created in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, one of the top three aerospace companies in the world. The group employs 13,000 people. Its strong worldwide presence is insured by its 16 subsidiaries located on the five continents, along with a network of distributors and certified agents. 9,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently operating in 139 countries on behalf of some 2,500 customers. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military range in the world. The group now accounts for 30% of the world market. In 2005, Eurocopter secured its position as the world's No. 1, with a turnover of 3.2 billion euros up by 15% over the 2004 turnover – with orders for 401 new helicopters, once again leading the way in the civil and parapublic sectors with a 52% market share.