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Navy Takes Delivery Of New Helicopters

18 August 2001 Media Statement


A formal ceremony and flight display have been held at Whenuapai Airbase in Auckland this morning to mark the official acceptance by the New Zealand Defence Force of two new navy helicopters.

"The new SH-2G (NZ) Super Seasprite helicopters are a significant addition to New Zealand's military capability," the Minister of Defence Mark Burton said.

"For example, in surface surveillance operations, the area searched by a radar fitted helicopter is approximately 10 times as great as that of an ANZAC ship alone.

"Looking for a survivor in the water as part of a search and rescue mission, the helicopter increases the effective search area by a factor of 100.

"This project has also brought considerable benefit to the New Zealand defence industry," Mark Burton said.

"When the Seasprite contract was signed with Kaman Aerospace Corporation, it was anticipated that over a ten year period, around 100 million dollars of work would flow to New Zealand industry.

"It is now clear that that figure will be exceeded. The Seasprite industry programme has already exceeded $15 million of work in New Zealand.

"One of the outstanding benefits flowing from this project has been the association of the Seasprite's manufacturer with Safe Air Ltd, of Blenheim.

"Safe Air is the key Australasian partner for Kaman. The relationship has developed to the benefit of both Kaman and Safe Air, and to the benefit of the New Zealand Defence Force and the Royal Australian Navy.

"The New Zealand purchase of five Super Seasprites was made in parallel with an Australian purchase for eleven helicopters with similar specifications. Safe Air has worked extensively on both the New Zealand and Australian projects.

"Whilst Safe Air is undoubtedly the key contributor, a number of other New Zealand companies are involved, such as Winston and Gordon Davies of Auckland, A E Tilley Ltd of Wellington and Bronze Age Casting from Motueka.

"The government will be looking for similar local industry involvement with the other major capital acquisition projects that have been signalled," Mark Burton said.

"The government has a stated commitment to building a modern, professional and well-equipped Defence Force. The acquisition of the new Super Seasprite Helicopters fits in well with that policy," Mark Burton said.


The SH-G (NZ) Super Seasprites will operate from the Navy's two ANZAC frigates, Te Mana and Te Kaha and HMNZS Canterbury and will have the capability to operate from other Naval vessels.

The two Seasprites taken into service today are the first of five ordered from Kaman Aerospace Corporation. A further two are being prepared in the USA for interim acceptance and the fifth helicopter, an option exercised July 1999, won't be ready for acceptance until around 2003.


Ends

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