Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Media Mail List
Tuesday, 18 December 2007 001/2007
AIR 9000 PROGRAM – AUSTRALIAN MULTI-ROLE HELICOPTERS ACHIEVE IN-SERVICE DATE MILESTONE
The Hon Greg Combet MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement has announced the acceptance into service of the first two Australian Defence Force MRH-90 Multi Role helicopters (MRH) during a ceremony at Australian Aerospace facilities in Brisbane today.
Representing the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Minister for Defence, Mr Combet welcomed the arrival of the aircraft on behalf of the Government, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and industry representatives.
Acquired under Project AIR 9000, a total of 46 MRH 90s will ultimately replace the Navy’s Sea King and Army’s Black Hawk fleets in the coming years.
Minister Fitzgibbon offered his congratulations to all involved in the project.
‘The successful achievement of the aircraft’s scheduled in-service date represents a major accomplishment for the project team and Australian defence industry.
‘Australian Aerospace, Defence Materiel Organisation, contractors and all those associated with the project should be proud of their work. On behalf of the Government I congratulate you all on a job well-done.’ Mr Fitzgibbon said.
During the ceremony, attended by senior Defence and industry representatives, Mr Combet commented on the valuable capability offered by the new helicopter.
‘The MRH 90 will provide our sailors and soldiers with a new troop lift helicopter designed to meet the demands of modern combat operations over land and from ships at sea. The fleet will also provide valuable additional air mobile support for the wider Australian Defence Force.’ Mr Combet said. Mr Combet noted that 42 of the helicopters will be assembled in Australia. Project AIR 9000 will create over 150 new jobs, mostly in South East Queensland. The project also assures the continuation of over 250 more jobs that were coming to an end with the completion of other Defence projects.
The MRH 90, the first true fly-by-wire helicopter in the world, is equipped with a Forward Looking Infra Red system for flight in low light and has the same pilot Helmet Mounted Sight and Display as used in the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. It has a larger cabin than the current troop lift aircraft and can lift greater loads and carry more troops than the helicopters it is replacing.
A period of test and evaluation, training and aircraft development will now be conducted leading to Initial Operational Capability for Navy in 2010 and Army in 2011.