Leonardo and the Australian Ministry of Defence are to jointly establish in Melbourne a transmission repair and overhaul operation for the NH Industries NH90 and certain civil helicopter types.

Currently, main gearbox overhauls for the Australian army's fleet of MRH90 Taipan troop transport helicopters are performed at Leonardo's facilities in Italy.

To be located at a current Leonardo Australia site, the new capability will be up and running by mid-2020, the Italian company states.

In addition to Canberra's 47-strong fleet, the centre will also be capable of servicing transmissions on the NH90s of other operators. However, the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the only other customer for the type in the region.

Leonardo says certain civil operators of AW139 intermediate-twins in the region will also be able to take advantage of the new capability. Within the NHI consortium, the Italian company is responsible for the design and manufacture of transmissions in all NH90s.

Australia is investing around $16m in the facility, which it expects will be repaid through lower sustainment costs over the helicopters' lifetime. A similar amount is also being provided by Leonardo.

Source: FlightGlobal.com