Australia has grounded its fleet of 47 NH Industries MRH90 Taipan helicopters due to maintenance and safety issues with the aircraft’s support system.
The multi-role aircraft has reportedly not flown since May.
“The fleet was suspended as a safety precaution. The issue relates to the application of the helicopter’s maintenance policy in the helicopter’s IT support system,” Australia’s Department of Defence said.
“Defence and Airbus Australia Pacific are currently working collaboratively to remediate this issue.”
Replacement for Black Hawk, Sea King
The Australian armed forces will continue to utilize Tiger, Chinook, Black Hawk, and Sea King helicopters in the interim.
Canberra acquired the fleet from European helicopter manufacturer NH Industries to complement and then replace the Australian Army’s Black Hawks and Royal Australian Navy’s Sea King helicopters at a cost of $3 billion.
Plagued With Problems
The aircraft has been plagued with maintenance issues since it first entered service in 2007, according to Australian Defence Business Review. It has twice been grounded, “the last time in 2019 following a serious tail rotor vibration and delamination that required remediation of the tail rotors on all of the ADF’s fleet.”
The publication revealed that many issues stemmed from the fact that the European certification standards are different from those of the US “from which the Australian Defence Force sources most of its equipment.”