Australian Multi Role Helicopter Gets More Time to Sort out Availability problems

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MRH 90 'Cobra 08' prepares to take off during the First of Class Flight Trials onboard HMAS Manoora in November 2009. The month long testing regime gauged the MRH-90’s capabilities at sea through takeoffs, landings, munitions transfers and weight load carries. The Royal Australian Navy was scheduled to field Forty six MRH90 by mid 2010. However, by April 2011

The Australian Defence Department completed a two-month diagnostic review of the MRH-90 Multi Role Helicopter Program, addressing delays to the project. The review has recommended that at present the project should not be listed under the ‘Project of Concern’ list, but recommended the ministry to work with the contractor, Australian Aerospace, to improve the availability of the helicopters by addressing engineering and reliability issues. Progress on the project will be evaluated by a follow-on diagnostic review. The Australian MRH-90 project experienced a series of reliability issues, including engine failure, transmission oil cooler fan failures and the poor availability of spares.

An MRH 90 lands on the aft flight deck of HMAS MANOORA in lead up to the MRH 90 acceptance trials. Photo: Australian Navy

To date, 13 MRH-90 helicopters have been accepted by Defence and are currently being used for testing and initial crew training. The project has suffered delays of 12 months for the Navy’s helicopters and 18 months for the Army’s helicopters.

MRH 90 'Cobra 08' prepares to take off during the First of Class Flight Trials onboard HMAS Manoora in November 2009. The month long testing regime gauged the MRH-90’s capabilities at sea through takeoffs, landings, munitions transfers and weight load carries. The Royal Australian Navy was scheduled to field Forty six MRH90 by mid 2010. However, by April 2011 the initial 13 aircraft delivered are still undergoing testing. Photo: LAC Christopher Dickson, Royal Australian Navy.