WELLINGTON, New Zealand, April 19 (UPI) -- New Zealand's Ministry of Defense plans to buy 10 SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite helicopters from Kaman Aerospace Corp. of the United States.
Authorization for purchase of the maritime aircraft, which would be worth about $120 million, was given by the New Zealand Cabinet and signing of the contract is expected soon.
"We are very pleased to have reached this milestone with the government of New Zealand," Neal J. Keating, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Kaman said.
"Kaman has had a longstanding relationship with the New Zealand Defense Force based on the success they have experienced flying the Kaman Super Seasprite since 2001. This success led to their interest in our SH-2G(I), the latest variant of the aircraft and one of the most technologically advanced helicopters in the world today.
"We expect to transition the aircraft into their fleet over the next three years and to continue to support them for many years to come."
The SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite is an advanced, integrated maritime aircraft for missions such as anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, surveillance, troop and cargo transport and search and rescue.
Kaman describes it as the largest, most powerful small-ship helicopter in use.
The helicopters that would be supplied to New Zealand were built for Australia's military but Australia canceled the contract.