In 2005, NH Industries’ NH90 helicopter was selected to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s aging UH-1 Iroquois, which would remain in service until 2009. A firm deal was finalized in July 2006, and New Zealand will buy 9 TTH variant helicopters; Australia’s initial 12-aircraft NH90 buy may offer some points of comparison.
Delays would eventually push New Zealand’s NH90 project back, but making the decision also allowed New Zealand’s Labour Party government to move ahead with a 2nd helicopter replacement: A109E Training and Light Utility helicopters, to replace New Zealand’s ancient M.A.S.H. era Bell 47Gs. That buy happened in 2008, but its helicopters have entered service years before the NH90s. Why is that, and what drove New Zealand to make the choices it did?