The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has welcomed the delivery of its last NH90 helicopter at Base Ohakea. The arrival brings the total number of NH90 helicopters in the fleet to eight.
The NH90 is an advanced medium utility helicopter capable of undertaking a variety of roles including: search and rescue, disaster relief, transporting soldiers and aerial lifting of cargo and supplies.
Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Mike Yardley says the NH90 helicopter is a significant step-up from the Iroquois helicopters the Air Force has used for many years.
“The NH90 are highly capable helicopters and we’ve been flying them on sorties for the past year. Most notably, the NH90 assisted with the Pike River re-entry in October 2013 by removing 35 tonnes of debris from the mine’s ventilation shaft.
“NH90s have a significantly long range and endurance, and they can lift up to 3,200kgs of cargo. They are also versatile and can be deployed in many environments such as landing in snow or being embarked on a Royal New Zealand Navy vessel.
“The Air Force undertakes a lot of work with NZ Police, Customs, MPI and MFAT. NH90 helicopters provide us with an excellent asset capable of assisting in keeping New Zealanders safe,” said Air Vice-Marshal Yardley.
The NH90s were recently in Nelson and Marlborough as part of annual alpine flying training and they will be involved in Exercise Kiwi Koru in the Taranaki region in November.
Source: New Zealand Defence Force; issued October 31, 2014