The first two of 12 MRH90 helicopters equipped for special operations have been delivered to the Australian Army’s 6th Aviation Regiment.
The remaining MRH90 helicopters are expected to be progressively upgraded and redelivered to Army to replace the S-70A/9 Black Hawk by the second quarter of next year under a program that is a high priority for the company, said MAJGEN (ret) Andrew Mathewson, the new managing director of Airbus Australia Pacific.
The multi-role MRH90 can undertake troop transport, search and rescue, special operations and counter-terrorism missions. Airbus says it is capable of carrying two pilots, two loadmasters and 18 combat troops up to 900km at speeds of up to 300km/h (160kts).
Meanwhile, Airbus is offering the H145M battlefield support helicopter for the LAND 2097 Phase 4 Special Operations Rotary Wing Capability project that will deliver a light deployable helicopter capability.
The requirement will see a smaller helo than the MRH90 acquired for operations in urban areas, and so multiple helos can be rapidly deployed along with special operations personnel aboard a single C-17.
Mr Mathewson replaced Tony Fraser in the role of managing director in early January after his 2018 retirement from the ADF. “It’s a great honour to be selected by the company to continue with my passion, which is delivering capability for the Defence Force,” he said, speaking to the media at the 2019 Avalon Airshow on February 27.
“I’m incredibly impressed with the company, and also the opportunities that sit outside the helicopter realm, particularly in the areas of space and commercial aircraft.”