Leonardo and the Australian Ministry of Defense have agreed to establish a helicopter transmission repair and overhaul facility in Melbourne. It will be capable of servicing MRH Taipan, foreign NH90s as well as certain civil helicopter companies. Planned to be installed in one of Leonardo’s existing facilities and to commence operation in mid-2020, the center will employ at least 12 technician staff for 30 years or more. Defense Industry Minister, the hon Christopher Pyne MP, congratulated Leonardo and their local subsidiary, Leonardo Australia, for committing to establish this strategically important regional center of excellence.
To do this, the Australian federal government is investing approximately 16 million dollars in the new facility. The investment will be repaid through reduced MRH Taipan sustainment costs over the remaining life expectancy of the helicopter fleet. A similar amount is also being provided by Leonardo. “This project is a true win-win situation for both the Defense Industry and the local Defense Industry. It creates more Defense Industry jobs in Victoria and will lead to greater helicopter availability for operations”, said Australian Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne. Acquired in 2006, the fleet of 47 MRH Taipan helicopters, a dedicated variant of the NH90 for the Australian armed forces for both land and maritime operations, will begin next year to replace the Black Hawk in the 6th Aviation Regiment in Sydney, where they will gradually take over the role of aviation support in the fight against terrorism. According to the authorities, the establishment of a local repair and overhaul facility will contribute to increasing the availability of helicopters for this critical National Security mission.