New Zealand has confirmed it is in discussions with NH Industries and Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace over Australian manufacturing arrangements for its proposed fleet of NH90 helicopters, although European assembly also remains an option.

Wg Cdr Ron Thacker, commanding officer of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s 3 Sqn, told Shephard’s Heli-Pacific conference on Australia’s Gold Coast last week that “while the New Zealand Defence Force wants to co-operate with the Australian Defence Force, this depends on politics and money”. A contract for between six and 10 NH90s is likely to be signed by mid-July, he says.

New Zealand is now developing a transition plan for the aircraft, which will replace its Bell UH-1 Hueys, including possible collaboration with Australia on training. Final decisions on training arrangements will be made after the NH90 contract is finalised, says Thacker.

Source: Flight International