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Australia disassembling MRH90 fleet

The potential market for parts and systems harvested from the MRH90 Taipan is large as 13 operators continue to operate more than 450 NH90 variants worldwide. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian government has started the process of disassembling its fleet of NHIndustries MRH90 ‘Taipan' helicopters.

Janes understands that the decision to dismantle and scrap the 45-strong fleet was made after no other countries or parties expressed interest in acquiring the helicopters as a whole.

Speaking to Janes, an Australian Department of Defence (DoD) spokesperson said the department is working with the original equipment manufacturers to salvage components from the fleet. “Defence is working with Airbus Australia Pacific and NATO Helicopter Industries to harvest key spares from the MRH90 fleet for the use of other NH90 operators,” the spokesperson said.

Janes assesses that vital systems such as the fleet's Rolls-Royce Turbomeca 1,662 kW (2,230 shp) RTM322-01/9 turboshaft engines, avionics (including navigation systems, instrument, and display panels), plus subsystems common to the NH90 will likely be harvested for other global users.

The Australian MRH90 also has some custom equipment tailored for the country's needs, including tactical and navigation systems, secure intercom, and TopOwl night-vision helmet integration.

It is also possible that components and parts in the second- and third-tier levels could be sold to markets in the other parts of the world. Janes has reached out to Airbus and NHIndustries for comment.

According to the DoD, the MRH90 airframes and those systems that will not be harvested will be “disposed of ... in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner”.

The airframes and unwanted components are slated for burial on a defence site, Australian media has reported. Disassembly is being conducted by industry partners using standard mechanisms.

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