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New Troop Lift Helicopters for Australian Army

Friday, 16 June 2005

New Troop Lift Helicopters for Australian Army

A $1 billion project to provide the Australian Army with 12 new troop lift helicopters and associated equipment has taken a significant step forward with the signing of a contract with Australian Aerospace, a subsidiary of Eurocopter.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said in total more than $500 million worth of Australian Industry participation will arise from the project.

"After intensive contract negotiations I am happy to announce that Defence has delivered an excellent outcome for the Army and for Australian Industry," Senator Hill said.

"The new squadron will increase Army's troop lift capability by more than half and give the Army the ability to move more soldiers further and faster from our amphibious lift ships.

"In addition to providing the 12 helicopters and associated equipment, Australian Aerospace will also provide a significant element of through-life-support under a performance-based contract."

Eight of the 12 helicopters will be assembled in Brisbane and a number of other significant industry activities will be completed in Australia, including training, the manufacture of composite panels, engine assembly and testing, and development of some sub-systems and ground support systems.

Senator Hill said this was another example of Defence and Australian industry working together to provide new capabilities to the Australian Defence Force.

"This new generation multi-role helicopter is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, a rear ramp to load small vehicles, a flexible cabin configuration, a full fly-by-wire flight control system and digital cockpit," Senator Hill said.

"This project will also boost Australia's counter-terrorism capabilities by releasing a Black Hawk squadron from Townsville to provide dedicated support to our Special Forces on the east coast at Holsworthy.

"Each helicopter can carry up to 18 troops plus four crew or 4000kg of cargo, it can cruise at up to 300kph and has a maximum range of over 900km.

"It is purpose-built for amphibious operations and includes extra corrosion protection, folding rotor blades and other enhancements to allow shipboard operations."

Senator Hill said the first helicopter for the new squadron at Townsville will be delivered in 2007, with all 12 aircraft expected to be delivered by 2008.


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