MRH90 To Resume Flying

Australian Aerospace Limited, which assembles the Army’s and Navy’s MRH90 helicopters in Brisbane, has welcomed the imminent return to flying operations by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) of what it describes as a world leading and most advanced multi-role helicopter.

1st Aug 2010


Australian Aerospace Limited, which assembles the Army’s and Navy’s MRH90 helicopters in Brisbane, has welcomed the imminent return to flying operations by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) of what it describes as a world leading and most advanced multi-role helicopter.

The ADF announced on July 22 that the MRH90s will recommence flying operations within days.

The ADF ceased flying their MRH90 fleet in late April due to a failure of one of the two engines on an MRH90, which returned safely to its operational base.

During the MRH90’s suspended flight operations, Australian Aerospace continued assembling and testing, to support the aircraft’s introduction to the Australian Defence Force, and further deliveries of MRH90s are imminent.

“The MRH90 is a superb aircraft and will continue to be a success story for the Australian Defence Force, local jobs and local industry. It is delivering an advanced platform that Australia has never before had”, Australian Aerospace’s CEO Dr. Jens Goennemann said.

Meanwhile, the Defence Materiel Organisation's (DMO) Head Helicopter Systems Division, Rear Admiral Mark Campbell, stated that media reports alleging pilot error being a factor in the engine failure were incorrect.

"There is no suggestion of pilot error as alleged in one UK report," Rear Admiral Campbell said.
Eurocopter CEO, Dr Lutz Bertling, has also written to the Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, Greg Combet to directly refute any suggestion that engine damage was caused by improper handling of the aircraft by ADF pilots.

Rear Admiral Campbell also said an inspection regime and preventative measures have been developed to lift the current flying suspension.

"Extensive work has been conducted by Rolls Royce Turbomeca and our Industry partners with support from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation to identify the cause of the engine failure.

"We are advised the failure resulted from compressor blade fracture due to contact with the engine casing."

The impact of the engine failure combined with the workload to address some technical issues with this very capable but highly complex digital aircraft will delay the first flight at sea for Navy, which is now expected to occur in mid 2011.

The first Army capability objective of one deployable MRH90 troop will also be delayed.
 

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