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Australia completes helicopter review

April 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, April 29 (UPI) -- The acquisition of MRH-90 multi-role helicopters has escaped being placed on the Australian Defense Ministry's Projects of Concern list.

The decision on the helicopter program follows a government review to address delays to the project due to a series of key issues -- including engine failure, transmission oil cooler fan failures and the poor availability of spares.

The helicopters, which undergo final assembly in Queensland by Australian Aerospace, are produced by NHIndustries of France, of which Eurocopter is a major shareholder.

Thirteen MRH-90 helicopters have been accepted by the Australian Defense Department and are being used for testing and initial crew training

As reported in both the Defense Annual Report and the Australian National Audit Office Major Project Report released last year, the helicopter project has suffered delays of 12 months for the Australian navy's helicopters and 18 months for the army's helicopters.

The government review recommended that the Defense Department work with the contractor, Australian Aerospace, to implement a remediation plan to improve the availability of the helicopters by addressing engineering and reliability issues.

The project will be the subject of a further diagnostic review later this year to examine the effectiveness of the action taken and whether further action is necessary.

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