Saturday, July 20, 2024

Australian Govt grounds Taipan crash helicopters

The Australian Defence Force’s MRH-90 Taipan helicopters will not return to flying operations before their planned withdrawal date of December 2024, the Government has announced today.

Deputy Australian Prime Minister, Richard Marles said the Government remains focused on the introduction into service of the new fleet of UH‑60M Black Hawk helicopters.

The MRH-90 has been an important capability for our country and Defence Force, and I recognise the hard work of the hundreds of people who dedicated themselves to acquiring, operating and sustaining the aircraft,” said Mr Marles.

“The first of the 40 Black Hawks that will replace the MRH-90 have arrived and are already flying in Australia. We are focused on seeing their introduction to service as quickly as possible.

“The Government’s highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of our people.

“We continue to support the families of the four soldiers who lost their lives earlier this year, and the broader Defence community,” he said.

The Australian Defence Force will continue to operate its CH-47F Chinooks, Tigers and MH‑60R Seahawks. Together, these helicopters will continue to provide a robust and ready aviation capability to the Australian people, the Deputy PM said.

From 2025, the new AH-64E Apache helicopters will also be introduced into service for the Australian Army.

To help mitigate further impacts on Army’s operations and training, the Government has explored options to accelerate the delivery of Black Hawks to Australia and for aircrew training with international partners.

The Minister said today’s announcement does not presuppose or any way suggest the outcome of the investigations into the tragic incident on 28 July, where an MRH-90 Taipan impacted waters near Lindeman Island, Queensland during Exercise Talisman Sabre.

The crash claimed the lives of Captain Danniel Lyon, Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent, Warrant Officer Class 2 Joseph ‘Philip’ Laycock, and Corporal Alexander Naggs.

“As the Government made clear at the time, Defence would not fly this platform until investigations into that incident were complete,” said Mr MArles.

“The advice provided to Government has outlined these ongoing investigations are likely to continue well into 2024.”

On Wednesday, the 6th Aviation Regiment, family and friends were joined by representatives from the Government, Opposition, and senior Defence leadership to pay tribute to the fallen MRH90 aircrew lost in the Lindeman Island incident on 28 July.

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