PICTURES: New Zealand operates SH-2G from patrol vessel

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The Royal New Zealand Navy has conducted flight trials of the Kaman SH-2G Seasprite helicopter from one of its new offshore patrol vessels.

"The trials have been conducted over the past month during which the Seasprite conducted 161 landings and takeoffs from HMNZS Otago's flight deck," says the New Zealand Defence Force in a statement.

Previously, New Zealand has mainly operated the type from its much larger Anzac-class frigates.

"The landings and takeoffs were done by day and by night in varying wind and sea conditions in the Hauraki Gulf and the Bay of Plenty sea areas," says the NZDF.


credit nzdf

©New Zealand Defence Force

The trials demonstrated that the Seasprite can operate surveillance flights of 2.5 hours duration from the deck of the ship.

New Zealand has two offshore patrol vessels, the Otago and Wellington. The ships operate in highly varied conditions, ranging from the Southern Ocean to the tropics.

"The ability to land a helicopter on a ship underway at sea by day and night in different wind and sea conditions requires a rigorous and demanding test programme to determine what the limits of operation might be," says rear admiral Tony Parr, chief of New Zealand's navy.


credit nsdf

©New Zealand Defence Force

"The team on OTAGO, which included a number of RNZAF Seasprite technicians, were often operating in challenging conditions. Nevertheless the trials were completed in a thoroughly professional, safe and timely manner.

New Zealand operates five SH-2Gs.


credit nzdf

©New Zealand Defence Force