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Army May 9, 2013
Cpl Max Bree
THE new MRH-90 is ready for major
Army exercises after the aircraft
received its official type certification
and service release from the ADF’s
Airworthiness Authority, the Chief of
Air Force, on April 17.
The aircraft has so far flown more
than 4000 hours, but Lt-Col James
Allen, Project Manager of the MRH-
90, said the helicopter had until
recently been operating under a special
“We have to be able to fly the air-
craft and understand the system to get
the program to a point that we can say
the aircraft meets the airworthiness
requirements we need to be able to
safely operate,” he said.
MRH-90s from 5 Avn Regt’s A
Sqn are due to take part in 3 Bde’s
Combined Arms Training Activity and
Exercise Talisman Sabre later this year.
The helicopter flew about 60
hours while embarked with HMAS
Tobruk last year, conducting passenger
transfers, live hoisting, maritime
search and rescue and aeromedical
MRH-90 is currently on board
HMAS Choules for more test and
This year the aircraft will undergo
test and evaluation on door gunnery,
electronic warfare countermeasures,
and troop insertions and extractions.
“It’s an opportunity for soldiers
and sailors to see it and really start to
MRH-90s are approved
Helicopters receive official service release and are ready to take part in major exercises
Photo by LS
understand what the MRH-90 is all
about,” Lt-Col Allen said.
An MRH-90 simulator at AAVNTC
in Oakey recently reached “level D”
accreditation – the highest available.
To qualify, the motion platform
needs all six degrees of freedom and
the visual system must have a horizon-
tal field of view of at least 150 degrees,
with a distant focus display. Realistic
cockpit sounds are required, along with
a number of special motion and visual
Lt-Col Allen said the other coun-
tries flying the NH90, the European
version, “haven’t put in place the level
of simulator capability that we have”.
“New Zealand has also expressed
interest in coming across and making
use of our simulator,” he said.
The Navy is expected to be certified
for initial operational capability in June
while Army is on track to be ready by
Of 46 aircraft ordered, 19 have
so far been delivered and accepted.
Five more helicopters are due off the
production line this year, while four
from an early production run are being
retrofitted with software and hardware
upgrades, including a hardened floor,
to bring them up to the standards
required under the contract.
Australia is now a world leader in
operating the European-designed air-
craft, according to Lt-Col Allen.
“We’re on the leading edge and
breaking new ground in terms of the
activities and evaluations that we are
doing,” he said.
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