14 Juni 2010

$700 Million Defence Force Order Gets Green Flag

14 Juni 2010

The nine NH-90 helicopters cost more than $60 million each (photo : NZDoD)

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says he won't be cancelling the Air Force's $700 million helicopter order, despite a damning report from Germany.

It is the single largest purchase for the Kiwi Defence Force in almost 20 years, but a German Army trial has found engine, access and weight issues with the new NH-90 helicopters - the successor to our outdated Iroquois.

But despite being initially critical of Labour's decision to buy the aircraft, Dr Mapp says he won't reverse it.

"I was quite critical of the way this purchase was conducted because there is no doubt about it; it is a very expensive purchase. It is in fact the single most expensive defence purchase for 20 years," he says.

The nine helicopters, costing more than $60 million each are currently being constructed in France and are expected to be in New Zealand hands sometime next year.

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