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Agreement marks next stage in helicopters roll-out

Agreement marks next stage in roll-out of new helicopters for the Air Force



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Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


4 November 2008
Media statement

Agreement marks next stage in roll-out of new helicopters for the Air Force

An Agreement signed today by New Zealand and Germany will promote closer cooperation between our countries and paves the way for the next stage of training New Zealand pilots and crew in the roll-out of the Air Force’s new NH90 helicopters, Defence Minister Phil Goff said.

Mr Goff and the German Ambassador, H.E. Mr Jörg Zimmermann, today signed a Status of Forces Agreement, which sets out the conditions for the temporary stay of NZDF personnel in Germany for the purposes of training, exercises and exchanges.

“Today is a significant milestone for the armed forces of both our countries,” Phil Goff said.

‘It follows the participation by 173 personnel in a month-long training programme in Germany together with troops from Australia, Canada, the US and the UK.

“Under the agreement, early next year a RNZAF pilot and crew member will train in Germany in preparation for the introduction into service of our state of the art NH90 helicopters.

“Assembly of the first of the New Zealand NH90 helicopters has been completed in France and it is scheduled to conduct its first flight early next year.

“Germany, as the first country to receive a similar NH90 helicopter variant to New Zealand’s and the first to introduce it into service, possesses the necessary expertise to assist our Air Force.

“This Agreement will provide an opportunity for New Zealand crew to be part of an operating German NH90 team. It will also see a New Zealand pilot instructor flying the aircraft currently being used by the German Army to introduce their pilots to the NH90,” Phil Goff said.

“In return, Germany is to send two helicopter pilots to New Zealand to learn how the NZDF operates its aircraft and trains its personnel.

“The NH90s are a vital investment in the future of the Defence Force, replacing our Vietnam-era Iroquois helicopters. The new aircraft will be able to support military ground operations, and take part in counter terrorism, disaster relief, search and rescue and counter drug operations.

“The Government purchased eight NH90 helicopters in 2006 for $771 million, including logistics and support, spare parts project costs, training and extra equipment,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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