Defence Security Asia
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Australia Starts “Chopping and Burying” Its Troubled MRH-90 “Taipan” Helicopters

Media reports indicate that Australia has discreetly opted to disassemble and bury components of its helicopters. Each helicopter is estimated to have a market value of US$20 million (RM90 million) in the used helicopter market.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Australia has reportedly commenced the disassembling of its troubled MRH-90 (NH-90) “Taipan”  helicopters and burying them on military-owned land.

Media reports suggest that technical personnel within the military have quietly undertaken this process.

The decision to quietly disassemble and bury helicopter components was made despite proposals to sell the helicopters, developed by NH Industries (NHI).

The Australian government, valuing each helicopter at an estimated US$20 million (RM90 million) in the used helicopter market, opted against selling them to other parties.

The MRH-90 “Taipan” has faced challenges prompting the Australian government to suspend its service since July.

This decision followed an incident during a military exercise where one helicopter crashed into the sea, resulting in the tragic death of four Australian military personnel.

MRH-90

Notably, this July incident marked the second MRH-90 helicopter accident in the same year.

In a separate incident in March, an MRH-90 helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing on the east coast of Australia.

In September, Australia officially declared that all MRH-90 helicopters in its possession would not fly again until December 2024 when their service would be terminated.

Since entering service with the Australian military, the MRH-90 helicopters have faced a troubled history, particularly concerning maintenance and flight safety issues.

The Australian Department of Defence estimates the overall cost of the MRH-90 helicopter program to reach US$15 billion (RM67.5 billion) before its scheduled service termination in 2037.

Australia

This cost includes the acquisition of all helicopters amounting to US$3.7 billion (RM16.65 billion) and US$11.3 billion (RM50.85 billion) for maintenance.

The operational challenges of the MRH-90 are not unique to Australia but are shared by other user countries, including Norway, Sweden, and Germany.

Following the decision to terminate the MRH-90 helicopter service, Australia has also agreed to procure 40 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the United States to replace the problematic Taipan helicopters. — DSA

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