17:43 15 Jan 2024

Australia to dispose of Taipan helicopters requested by Ukraine

Illustrative picture: army.gov.au

Australia has decided to dismantle and dispose of retired Taipan helicopters instead of sending them to Ukraine.

ABC reported that.

Last September, the Australian Army's MRH-90 helicopters were decommissioned 14 months ahead of schedule after four servicemen crashed during training in Queensland two months earlier.

They were planned to be decommissioned in 2037, but this European-developed helicopter had problems that led to the "landing" of the entire fleet for many years.

Ukraine submitted a formal request for the supply of the MRH-90 on December 19, 2023, even though the aircraft has documented safety and operational issues.

The publication notes that the Australian government intends to dispose of 45 helicopters.

Ukraine's ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Miroshnychenko, said he "hopes that there is still a possibility (handover of helicopters, – ed.)… because we have not received any response yet."

On the secondary market, each helicopter costs about 20 million dollars.

For reference:

The NH90 Taipan is a medium-sized twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter.

The NH90 is the first production helicopter fully equipped with electronic flight controls.

There are two main options:

  • Tactical transport helicopter (TTH) for use in the army,
  • NATO naval frigate helicopter (NFH).

It should be noted that the commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine's armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said that the partners could strengthen Ukraine's aviation by transferring, for example, A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft.

Syrskyi believes that the A-10 fighter will provide critical support to ground forces as they try to seize the initiative on the front. As the commander explained, attack aircraft will help destroy ground targets.

In turn, the Air Force also noted that Ukraine really needs to strengthen the army's aviation, but it is not only about attack aircraft. It can also be attack helicopters.

Mykola Oleshchuk also supported Syrskyi regarding the strengthening of aviation. He noted that the F-16 fighter jets are a priority at the moment, but Ukraine does not rule out any help from partners regarding multi-purpose aircraft, attack aircraft, and helicopters.

The general clarified that, at the moment, the Air Force has four main types of combat aircraft.

"They will gradually be replaced by Western equipment. Ukraine does not rule out any help from partners regarding multi-purpose aircraft, attack aircraft, or helicopters. However, mastering new aircraft types is a difficult and slow process," Oleshchuk noted.

As the commander explained, it will not be possible to abandon the operation of Soviet aircraft immediately. Because of this, along with the F-16, the MiG-29 will also operate in the sky.


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