Australian Defence Force Signs Contract for New Army Helicopter
(Source: Eurocopter; issued June 2, 2005)
MARIGNANE, France --- Eurocopter welcomes the signature today in Canberra of a contract for 12 MRH90 to the benefit of the Australian Defence Force. The contract was signed between the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation and Australian Aerospace, a Eurocopter subsidiary.
The Multi-Role MRH90 Helicopter was selected by the Australian Ministry of Defence after an intensive international competition. The first helicopter will be delivered in 2007, with all aircraft expected by 2009.
Plans are underway to assemble 8 MRH90s at the Australian Aerospace facility in Brisbane, where the company is already assembling 18 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters for the Australian Army.
Australian Aerospace Chief Executive, Joseph Saporito, said that this MRH90 contract will allow AA to inject more than 300 million AUD into Australian industry, including SMEs, making full use of the expertise and local capabilities developed in the frame of the ARH Tiger program.
“This translates into 150 highly-skilled Australian jobs.”
Mr. Saporito said local engineers will receive extensive training in Eurocopter’s center of excellence in Marignane, France. These engineers will provide a helicopter engineering base for export to the Pacific region.
The signing of the contract is another successful example of Defence and Australian Aerospace working together to provide new assets for the Australian Defence Force.
“Both teams have worked very hard and should be congratulated on their achievement,” said Mr. Saporito.
The MRH90s will form a new squadron based in Townsville.
The twin-engine, medium-lift MRH90 is the Australian version of the NH90 Helicopter provided by the consortium NH Industries (the company owned by Eurocopter (62.5 %), Agusta (32 %) and Stork Fokker (5.5 %).
The MRH90 is equipped with full glass cockpit, Flight-by-Wire control system and advanced Automatic Flight Control System together with state-of-the-art Communication, Navigation and Mission Equipment, including also a fully composite crashworthy fuselage fitted with a rear ramp for higher flexibility. It results in increased capability and much lower operating and maintenance costs compared to its competitors.
Australia is the 11th Nation (France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sultanate of Oman, Sweden and The Netherlands) ordering the NH90. This brings the total number of firm orders to 357, plus 86 options.
In addition, two other Nations (New-Zealand and Spain) officially selected the NH90 helicopter.
Eurocopter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EADS. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2004, EADS generated revenues of EUR 31.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 110,000.
The EADS Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and the joint venture MBDA, the international leader in missile systems. EADS is the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium, is the prime contractor for the Ariane launcher, develops the A400M military transport aircraft and is the largest industrial partner for the European satellite navigation system Galileo.