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Goff Welcomes Progress on Air Force Helicopters

Goff Welcomes Progress on Air Force Helicopters

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Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

6 June 2008 Media Statement

Goff Welcomes Progress on Air Force Helicopters

Defence Minister Phil Goff has welcomed the completion of the initial stage of the construction of New Zealand’s first NH90 helicopter being built in France.

Mr Goff visited the plant while in France to attend the annual meeting of the OECD Ministerial Council.

“The ‘mating’ of the NH-90 helicopter fuselage represents the first stage of assembly of the helicopter which should be completed by October this year,” Mr Goff said.

“The helicopter, which is the first of eight being built for the Royal New Zealand Air Force, will be ready for its test flight in about five months. It will then take a year for it to receive formal qualification.

“At that point, New Zealand crews will commence training in France. New Zealand will also cooperate closely with Germany’s Air Force which was the first to receive the NH-90.

“The NH-90 helicopters will form the backbone of the New Zealand Defence Force’s capability over the next 30 years,” Phil Goff said.

“Technologically, it is several generations ahead of the Air Force’s existing Iroquois helicopters. It can carry up to 20 passengers, has greater range, speed and load capacity than the current helicopters, and can work off our naval vessels.

“It is interoperable with other countries with which we cooperate including Australia.

“It will massively increase our capability for deployment, disaster relief, search and rescue and counter-terrorism work.

“While it represents a big investment for New Zealand, the NH-90 will be a major asset for New Zealand for years to come and gives the Air Force a state of the art capability,” Phil Goff said.


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