New Zealand Buys 9 NH90 Helicopters
In July 2006, New Zealand’s Labour Party government signed a NZ$ 771 million (then about $475 million) contract with AgustaWestland & EADS’ joint venture NH Industries for 8 NH90 helicopters, to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s fleet of ageing UH-1 Iroquois. This Ministry of Defence page explains the project, while The government release cited the specific capability improvements the NH90s bring in a number of dimensions. It also noted their commonality with Australia’s recently-expanded NH90 force.
More than 33% of the contract’s cost includes logistics and support, which includes spare parts, project costs, training, software and equipment, as well as currency hedging. NH Industries’ release corrects the total to 9 helicopters, in order to ensure 8 operational machines.
The helicopter purchase is the last piece of New Zealand’s NZ$ 3.3 billion Long Term Development Plan [PDF format], which aims to make sure that its military can meet minimum required capability levels. The NH90s will be deployed along with Pinzgauer trucks and LAVs in the new 9,000t multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury. The Canterbury is being built under Project Protector as part of the RNZN’s future force plans, and replaces the F-421 HMNZS Canterbury frigate which was retired in 2005.
For ongoing coverage, see “New Zealand Selects NH90, A109 Helicopters as its new Fleet.”