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Our $771m NH90 helicopters can't operate at sea - NZ First

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A written parliamentary answer to New Zealand First confirms the $771 million NH90 helicopters were one of our worst military procurement decisions as they are almost undeployable on Royal New Zealand Navy ships.

"The Labour government bought the wrong variant of the NH90 in a hugely expensive botch-up," says New Zealand First Defence spokesperson Ron Mark.

"They are next to useless in the Defence Force’s new Joint Amphibious Task Force. One Official Information Act answer we received confirmed our NH90s can only ‘operate from ships in harbour or in protected anchorages’. Unbelievable.

"We bought the variant designed to fly around central Europe so it lacks the automated tail and rotor folding system of the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter variant. Being a maritime nation with an EEZ and continental shelf 21 times our land mass how dumb was that?

"Our NH90s are like beached whales and take an unbelievable one hour and fifteen minutes to be made ready for flight and the same time to get them ready for storage aboard ship.

"At two hours and thirty minutes from woe to go, that is only two hours and twenty-eight minutes longer than the Frigate Helicopter variant of the NH90. Worse, it means we cannot deploy them easily aboard Australia’s flagships of the Canberra class.

"Since we might well acquire amphibious ships, either Landing Helicopter Docks or Landing Platform Docks, we will need helicopters capable of taking off outside a harbour or protected anchorage," says Mr Mark.

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