7 Januari 2010
Kaman Sea Sprite : An Australian Navy plan to quickly replace its cancelled fleet of Sea Sprite helicopters has been blocked. (photo : ABC)
A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) plan to quickly replace its cancelled fleet of Kaman Sea Sprite anti-submarine helicopters has been blocked by the government, which wants to see another competition to choose its successor, reports the Australian Daily Telegraph.
In 1997, the Australian government signed a A$667 million contract with Kaman to purchase eleven SH-2G(A) Super Sea Sprites, but the type’s inability to meet Australian airworthiness certification standards meant it never entered full operational service with the RAN, with the programme being cancelled on March 5, 2008.
The RAN wanted the government to approve a A$4 billion ‘rapid acquisition’ of 24 Sikorsky S-70 Sea Hawks, but this has been scuppered with the Australian cabinet insisting the NHIndustries NH90 should be considered – 40 are being delivered to the Australian Army for service entry by 2014 and the RAN is to have six to replace the maritime support Westland Sea Kings of 817 Squadron, based at Nowra in New South Wales.
The Australian government’s National Security Committee is expected to decide on a winner before the end of March, says the report.
(Air Force Monthly)