The Australian Army will dispose of its fleet of European-made MRH-90 Taipan helicopters early, as the Labor Party confirms that a multi-billion dollar purchase of US-made Black Hawks will replace them.
The Government will announce on Wednesday the acquisition of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Australian Army for an estimated amount of 2.8 billion dollars.
Australia first applied to purchase the helicopters in mid-2022 to “replace Australia’s current fleet of multirole helicopters” with “a more reliable and proven system,” according to a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency of Australia. August 2022.
The Army’s head of ground capability, Maj. Gen. Jeremy King, CSM, stated that the UH-60M Black Hawks would meet the country’s strategic needs.
“The Black Hawk capability will be critical to protecting Australia’s sovereignty and meeting foreign policy objectives, including the provision of humanitarian aid and disaster relief,” he said.
“Black Hawk will help get our troops and their gear to places where they are needed during emergencies.” The Black Hawk is a reliable, well-tested, and well-developed platform. A strong global supply chain also backs it.
“This acquisition will mean that we will be able to continue to defend Australia and respond in times of need safely and effectively for years to come.”
The Black Hawks will operate from Oakey, Queensland, and Holsworthy, New South Wales, with delivery scheduled for 2023.
In December 2021, then-Defense Minister Peter Dutton announced that the Army would dispose of its fleet of European-designated Taipan helicopters a decade ahead of schedule.
At the time, the Army ran 41 Taipans out of Townsville and Oakey and had spent more than $37 million hiring civilian helicopters to keep up with demand and solve long-standing problems.
The MRH-90 Taipan is an advanced medium-lift twin-engine multirole helicopter manufactured by Australian Aerospace, a unit of Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). The Australian Navy and Army operate the helicopter.