SingaporeThe Australian Army will reportedly scrap 45 MRH 90 Taipan helicopters that were retired last year instead of selling them off or donating them to Ukraine.

The MRH 90 fleet was permanently grounded last year following a fatal 28 July crash in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, which resulted in the deaths of four Army aircrew members. The grounding followed years of difficulties with the helicopter, including a shortage of spare parts, configuration management issues and operational limitations in the special operations support role.

Australia has operated 47 MRH 90s since 2012. Despite offering superior range, speed, carrying capacity and poor weather performance to its rivals, the aircraft had been temporarily grounded several times previously due to serviceability and safety concerns.

This is an excerpt used with permission from Riotact.
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  1. Bloody redicuous use them for rescue and fire fighting. Of course take all weapons and Army Intel off them first.

  2. I trained on these choppers and they really are pretty useless as an attack helicopter. They are however brilliant at disaster relief because of their range and capacity. It has been ruled that pilot error was the cause of recent crash, not mechanical failure, so if one were cynical, one would think that the government just wanted to retire them early as a cost savings exercise. Wisdom would deduct that keeping perhaps 3 of the best of these at Oakey army base in reserve could really come in handy in the near future

  3. This is ridiculous.It beggars belief that perfectly capable Helicopters are being disposed of in this way. The question is Why… If it was just a case of Army don’t want them the obvious thing is to Sell them or Donate them to someone who dose want them or at least strip them and sell the parts. Or is it someone doesn’t want MH90s available when they want to sell their Helicopters or is just Political “the other mob bought them “or “we can’t have them doing well after we’ve dumped them”mentality. Or has some other Political trade off been made .What ever the reason Someone is determined not to have the Taipans leave Australia. Some one is hiding something.

  4. This implies NHI refused to repurchase, or allow third party sale, most likely no one is buying… what does that say? …

    • What it says is that Defence are lying. They say the decision was taken to decommission the helicopters at the end of September. So….who would they have asked if anyone was interested in buying the helicopters in the next few weeks? No one. Even putting together a package for sale – all of the helicopters, simulators, support equipment – would take months. If someone had called NHI and said “will you buy them back?” my own answer would have been no, until such time as all of the detail had been provided. It’s typical Defence bs.

  5. They should be given to the Ukraine as they need them and would with the end of the war against Russia

  6. They should be given to the Ukraine as they need them and would help with the end of the war a gainst Russia

  7. Please donate them to zUkraine as troop transports. It will be good to finally give Putin thst kick in the arse we owe him for all the Aussies and other people who he had killed on MH17.

  8. Blaming lack of spare parts, reliability and breakdowns is a weak excuse.

    Breakdowns and poor reliability is always due to maintenance staff and department incompetence.

    • Absolutely correct! Written like you have a good understanding of logistics. In many cases for Taipan – and also Tiger – problems have occurred because CASG simply have not ordered enough spares.

  9. I was the SPO Director when they were purchased. We went to inordinate lengths to select the best option from several offers. I didn’t have a role in the selection but agreed with the team’s decision. While they were a clear winner, a strong resistance existed from an Army group that insisted on always buying American. The SAS insisting on M16s instead of Steyrs comes to mind.
    The first Blackhawk flew in 1972, and Sikorsky were proud of their “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy.
    The Army faction has now won, and will be flying helicopters that were designed about the same time as the Kingswood.

  10. How can Defence Department get away with such waste and misuse of Defence funds. Surely there is a case for reuse of these in a limited capacity in disaster relief and fire fighting roles to name a few or on selling them to private contractors (stripped of sensitive military equipment). 45 military helicopters is a considerable inventory to throw away well before their end of life cycle.

    • It’s staggering. Just the most awful waste of a resource – particularly when Ukraine is begging for them. If anyone in Defence reads these posts, they would be well advised to stop the dismantling process because I suspect there will be a Senate inquiry into this disaster.

    • So some definite offers received but Defence still persisting with their story of “No interest shown”
      Absolutely disgusting.
      Marles should lose his job.

  11. I wonder when The R.A.N.s MH 60 R will be grounded , since one crashed into San Dieago Harbour while on exercise today . I can’t wait to hear for the spin Marles and Co will come up with

  12. It’s obvious that politics is getting in the way of what should be the right thing to do. Even if the federal government said they could send half of them to Ukraine it would show that we are still supporting and standing with Ukraine. At the moment, it looks like the government doesn’t care anymore. The powers that be have not even made a statement for why the decision to send the helicopters to landfill. Shame on you Richard, Penny and Albo!

  13. The Government’s statement on the Taipans. In short NO ONE WANTED THEM! That should tell you how crappy they were.

    JOURNALIST: Minister, why have you decided to bury the Taipans instead of sending them to Ukraine?

    MINISTER CONROY: Well, let’s be very clear what we’re doing. We made the right decision to immediately ground the MRH‑90 fleet after the tragic accident in Queensland, and we made a decision to bring forward the replacement of them with Black Hawk helicopters. We immediately began a disposal strategy for the MRH‑90s. That first step was contacting other users of the helicopter to see if anyone was interested in buying the air frames. There was no interest.

    Secondly, we then worked with Airbus to see if there was any potential new customers interested in buying the air frames. There was no interest in that either. So then ‑

    JOURNALIST: Are you saying Ukraine wasn’t interested?

    MINISTER CONROY: So then we moved to develop a disposal strategy that offered best value for money for taxpayers, which was disassembly and sale of the spare parts.

    Some months after that process began, Ukraine made a formal request for the MRH‑90s. It will require considerable taxpayers’ money and time to get those aircraft back into flying conditions. And I should also make the point that there are multiple crash investigations still going on right now to determine the cause of that tragic accident in Queensland. So, it would be irresponsible for us to move away from the disposal strategy that we’ve locked on in.

    JOURNALIST: Why don’t you ‑‑

    JOURNALIST: Last question, please, last question.

    JOURNALIST: Why don’t you at least freeze the disposal of these until you can work out whether you can actually give them to Ukraine or any other willing buyer?

    MINISTER CONROY: We’ve made it clear, there are no willing buyers, let’s be very clear about that. There is no one through the processes we established who are prepared to buy these helicopters, and that’s why we started this disposal strategy that offers the best value for money for taxpayers.

    Maybe they might go to Ukraine, but it will cost an arm and a leg to take all the Australian restricted content gear off them, restore them to operational condition, ship them to Ukraine with all their spares and then train both air and ground crews to operate them.

    • Does it not occur to you that the Minister was not telling the truth? As I have written, Marles – and now Conroy – are putting their own careers at risk by repeating the nonsense they have been told by the Department. Let’s be clear – there has been no process to try and sell the helicopters to anyone else. We know this because of the timeline. The decision not to return them to service was taken on September 28 – and “decommissioning” started immediately. To put together a package of this size and complexity for sale takes months. Army are absolutely frantic to dismantle and bury the helicopters because they are terrified that another user – such as Ukraine – would immediately show how effective they can be.

      There’s a lot more to come out on this. Everyone in the Department should also take note that their lies are going to be exposed, just like in the Robodebt Royal Commission.

  14. As a retired aircraft engineer, I would have thought that burying the airframes is environmental vandalism. Surely the scrap value alone beats letting them rot in the ground. I guess it’s the same old premise, the taxpayers supply the funds and government AB uses it


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