VIDEO: NH90 lands aboard HMNZS Canterbury for first time

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A New Zealand air force NH Industries NH90 helicopter has for the first time landed aboard the amphibious assault ship HMNZS Canterbury.

"The interface trial is the first stage of a process intended to integrate helicopter and ship operations - an important step towards the New Zealand Defence Force goal of establishing a joint amphibious task force by 2015," the defence force said in a statement.

The landing occurred while the ship was docked. The helicopter was then manoeuvered around the flight deck to demonstrate its handling characteristics aboard ship, such as its tie-down points and its stowing in the ship's hangar.

The next step of the testing process will see the NH90 operated from the ship while it is underway.

The New Zealand defence ministry said that while the future task force will be optimised for combat operations, its main missions will likely involve disaster relief and naval exercises. The Canterbury hangar can accommodate up to four NH90s.

New Zealand received its first pair of NH90s in December 2011. The remaining six are yet to be delivered, but should arrive before the end of 2012.

 Credits: NZ Defence Force

Credits: NZ Defence Force

Credits: NZ Defence Force

All images: New Zealand Defence Force

On 28 May, New Zealand announced that it had conducted flight trials of the Kaman SH-2G Seasprite from one of its offshore patrol vessels.