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Australian Aerospace Says MRH90s On Track, On Time

Leading defence contractor, Australian Aerospace Limited, says it is on track to meet its 2010 schedule for deliveries of NH90 MRH multi-role helicopters to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Australian Aerospace, which produces the MRH90s at its final assembly facility on Brisbane Airport, delivered its 13th MRH90 on 3 September 2010. Another three helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year.

A total of 46 MRH90s have been ordered by the Army and Navy to replace existing Black Hawk and Sea King helicopters.

Dr Jens Goennemann, Chief Executive Officer Australian Aerospace said he was pleased to report that the delivery program is progressing well despite a temporary cessation of flying operations earlier this year when an MRH90 experienced a shutdown of one of its two engines. Australian Aerospace is on track to deliver all MRH90s during 2010 as contracted in the schedule.

“The engine manufacturer, Rolls Royce -Turbomeca, is currently working with the ADF on the root cause, and, in the meantime, the MRH90s have resumed flying operations,” Dr Goennemann said. “Two helicopters have been accepted since the resumption of flying and the MRH90 delivery, testing and training program is now building momentum.”

These first 13 deliveries comprise aircraft assembled to Product Base Line (PBL) 01 and 02 standard. The remaining 33 aircraft will be assembled to PBL 03 standard incorporating enhanced avionics and other systems designed to ease and lighten crew workload. Eventually, the initial 13 MRH90s will be returned to Australian Aerospace and upgraded to PBL 03 standard.

Dr Goennemann said he was also pleased to report that work on a strengthened floor being developed for the Australian MRHs was progressing smoothly and on track for serialised production in 2011.

The new floor, which was not part of the original Defence specification, also provides additional equipment tie-down points. It will be incorporated in the yet-to-be assembled PBL 03 MRHs and, later, retrofitted to the PBL 01 and PBL 02 aircraft.

“In a huge program such as this one, involving complex and advanced technologies, one is often confronted with unexpected engineering challenges”, Dr Goennemann said, “and while we have had our share of them we have never doubted our ability to resolve them together with our customer.”

Capable of carrying 2 pilots, 2 loadmasters and 18 combat troops up to 900km at speeds in excess of 300km/hr, the MRH90 is a fly-by-wire, all-composite construction, medium-lift helicopter with the highest crash-worthiness standards. Chosen by Australia over competing types as part of a program to modernise and rationalise its military helicopter fleet, the MRH90 is the world’s most advanced helicopter in the ten-tonne class.

Australian Aerospace Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurocopter - a part of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Group (EADS). Created in 2003 through the merger of Eurocopter International Pacific Limited and Australian Aerospace Pty Ltd, the company has evolved into a major defence supplier to the Australian Government. With more than 1000 staff in Australia and New Zealand and access to the financial strength and expertise of Eurocopter and the EADS Group, the company is well-positioned to manufacture and support civil and military helicopters in the Australia-Pacific region. In addition to its helicopter capabilities, Australian Aerospace has a long history of support to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Currently it is assembling and delivering 22 Tiger ARH armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 multi-role helicopters to the Army and Navy. It also provides support for the RAAF AP3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft and, until recently, the now retired Caribou transport fleet. Last year it commenced a through-life-support role for C-130J Hercules transports. The company is also involved in supporting the RAAF’s new Airbus A330-based Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) aircraft.


Australian Aerospace MRH90 Helicopters On Track, On Time