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Australia Aerospace delivers first locally-assembled MRH-90 helicopter to Defence

Australia's Project AIR 9000 achieved another significant milestone today when the Australian Defence Force (ADF) formally accepted from leading regional defence contractor, Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace Limited, the first locally- assembled MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopter.

The MRH-90 is the Australian variant of the NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH), the other version being the NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) developed by NH Industries. A total of 46 MRH-90s are being acquired under Project AIR 9000 Phases 2, 4 and 6.

The first four aircraft fully-assembled in Eurocopter's facilities in Europe have been delivered to the ADF over the past year, paving the way for today's acceptance of the first locally- assembled MRH-90, aircraft #005. The remaining 42 MRH-90s are being assembled by Australian Aerospace in Brisbane and will progressively be delivered until the end of 2014.

The MRH-90 fleet will ultimately replace Australian Navy Sea King and Army Black Hawk helicopter fleets. The Commonwealth of Australia selected the MRH-90 not only to modernize but also to rationalize its military helicopter fleets with the aim of reducing the cost to Defence and generating leading-edge combat capabilities.

The formal acceptance ceremony in Brisbane was witnessed by distinguished Australian and overseas guests, comprising of representatives from the industry (NHI, Eurocopter, EADS, local aviation/aerospace companies), the Australian Defence Force, the diplomatic corps, the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) and other NH90 customers.

Speaking during the ceremony, Mr. Dominique Maudet, Eurocopter's Executive Vice- President Governmental Helicopters, declared: "This acceptance of the first Australian-made MRH90 to the Australian authorities is indeed an important accomplishment. It shows once again the successful cooperation between NHI, Eurocopter, Australian Aerospace and the Commonwealth. The MRH-90 program, through a comprehensive Australian Industry Capability program, will generate 400 highly skilled new jobs in Australia and inject A$1.34 billion into the national economy. A 10-year though-life support program will also be carried out in Australia".

Australian Aerospace Chief Executive Dr. Jens Goennemann added: "The acceptance on schedule of the first Australian-assembled MRH-90 marks another major milestone for rotary- wing manufacturing technology in the Australia-Pacific region. By the end of this week Australian Aerospace will also have delivered 15 of the new Tiger ARH Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters to the Australian Army, the majority of which are also being assembled in Brisbane, and acceptance of the first locally-assembled MRH-90 is evidence that this program is also gaining momentum."

Said Major-General Tony Fraser, Head of Helicopter Systems Division, Defence Materiel Organisation: "The acceptance of the first MRH90 to be assembled in Australia is the culmination of years of work by the Australian Aerospace, Eurocopter and Defence teams. Adding to the four Europe-manufactured aircraft already accepted, it will increase the project flying rate, critical to developing the Navy and Army operational capabilities of MRH90 for our sailors, soldiers and airmen".

The MRH-90, the most advanced tactical troop transport helicopter of the 21st century, is a fly- by-wire, all-composite construction, medium-lift helicopter with the highest crash-worthiness- standards, which was chosen ahead of its U.S. rival, the UH-60M Black Hawk. With a larger cabin than Australia's current troop lift helicopters, a rear ramp, weather radar and forward looking infra red, the MRH-90 can transport greater loads and carry more troops in adverse conditions. This multi-role helicopter in the ten-tonne class is capable of carrying two pilots, two loadmasters and 18 combat troops up to 900km at speeds of up to 300km/h. To date, 507 NH90 helicopters have been ordered by the armed forces of 14 nations.

Press release issued by Airbus Helicopters on December 18, 2008


 Contact details from our directory:
Airbus Group Australia Pacific Final Assembly, Composite Manufacturing Services
Airbus Helicopters Airframer


 Related aircraft programs:
NHIndustries NH90


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