Air force's NH90 helicopters under fire after engine issue

An NH90 sits on a private air strip near Blenheim after an emergency landing on Sunday.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

An NH90 sits on a private air strip near Blenheim after an emergency landing on Sunday.

The air force's much-maligned NH90 helicopters have been all but grounded ahead of Anzac Day.

All eight helicopters flown out of Ohakea Air Force Base have had their flying operations significantly limited after one had to make an emergency landing near Blenheim on Sunday.

In a statement, the air force said they would no longer fly in areas where immediate landings are not possible, such as over built-up areas, mountains or water, until the  problems were sorted.

The air force's NH90s have been criticised for its design flaws and inability to be used in various conditions.
RNZAF

The air force's NH90s have been criticised for its design flaws and inability to be used in various conditions.

A trip to Kaikoura, ferrying Cabinet ministers Gerry Brownlee and Jonathan Coleman, was cancelled, along with a night flying exercise that was to happen over an urban area.

READ MORE:
Air force NH90 helicopter still grounded after emergency landing in Marlborough
Gerry Brownlee: NH90 helicopters purchase 'interesting'
New chopper arrives to replace Iroquois
Reporter's trip on an NH90 helicopter

Training flights were continuing, although they were limited.

The helicopters were not planned to be part of flypasts on Anzac Day, the air force said in a statement.

Chief of the Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies told Radio New Zealand there was an engine problem, but the helicopters were still able to be used over large parts of the country.

He also denied they were not fit for purpose, describing them as "a remarkable aircraft".

The helicopters have been criticised often since they were purchased for $177 million in 2006 to replace the air force's Vietnam War-era Iroquois.

Ad Feedback

A serious flaw revealed in 2012 meant they could not be flown in snowy conditions.

Lyn Provost, the auditor-general at the time, was also critical of the air force being the first military force in the world to use the helicopters.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee  called their purchase "interesting" in 2016 after they were unable to be used during the Pacific aid mission in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam because they were too difficult to transport and would not cope with Pacific winds. 

Brownlee did not provide comment to Stuff about the effective grounding of the NH90s, with a spokeswoman saying he was happy for the air force to comment.

NZ First defence spokesman Ron Mark said the helicopters,  bought when the Labour Party was in power, were a bad buy.

They were also more expensive to fly than Iroquois, he said, pointing to figures sourced under the Official Information Act that show they are 2.5 times more expensive to operate.

Blackhawks, like those used by the Australian Air Force, would have been better, he said.

The Government was "stuck with them". 

He called for governments to do more to get cross-party support for large military purchases, as it could help prevent  problems down the line.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Temperatures set to plummet

Cold frosty temperatures produced stunning winter scenes in Southland during similar conditions earlier this winter.

Much of the country will drop below zero overnight - but don't worry, the days will be crisp and sunny.

Anti-abortion club faces ban video

University of Auckland's pro-abortion club are facing disaffiliation from the students association in a referendum being ...

Students to vote to keep or disaffiliate pro-life group from student union.

Road closed, power pole snapped

The power pole was snapped in the crash.

Busy Auckland intersection closed for eight hours after car hits power pole.

Labour's 'golden triangle' rail plan

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says her party will create a passenger rail service linking Auckland, Hamilton, and ...

Jacinda Ardern reveals $20m plan for commuter rail between Auckland, Hamilton, and Tauranga.

Wellington

They're taking the P

Kapiti Mayor K Gurunathan says there are better ways of raising awareness about methamphetamine abuse than altering ...

Dozens of Kapiti road signs have lost the letter P - and some people are not amused.

TAB robbery arrest

07012016 News Photo: Maarten Holl
file photos - generic police photos - shot in Naenae, Wellington

Police arrest 36-year-old man after two robberies, including one at Petone TAB.

Lights out at Staglands

Staglands, home to this kunekune pig, will have its power cut off for a day on August 24, meaning the park will have to ...

Lines maintenance will see the wildlife reserve close for a day this week.

Stolen avocados sold on Facebook

A spate of avocado thefts down the East Coast have resulted in the stolen fruit appearing on Facebook.

Grand theft avo: Police warn fruit is being pinched from orchards and sold on social media.

Canterbury

Forestry fail: Tree destroys bach

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

It was a miracle no-one was home when a felled tree wrote off a much-loved family bach.

Health cuts possible

Former CDHB acting chairman Mark Solomon has warned the Ministry of Health that unprecedented service cuts will be ...

Canterbury health services could face severe cuts if Govt refuses to approve DHB deficit blowout.

School's project criticised

Year 10 students shared personal information through a photo messaging service, unaware the account was operated and ...

Using fake accounts to teach students about cyber safety "sends the wrong message".

ECan 'heavy-handed'

Most of the 176 properties in the subdivision have been told their land may be contaminated.

Subdivision residents told their land might be contaminated, despite tests indicating it's clear.

Waikato

Rail promise for Hamilton

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern announces her plan to create a commuter railway connection between Auckland, Hamilton and ...

Billions of dollars' worth of roads will not help ease congestion - but rail will, Labour says. 

Paedo priest jailed

Mark Mannix Brown, 74, was jailed when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Monday, on four charges of indecent ...

Devastating effect of former Catholic priest's abuse heard as he's again jailed for molesting boys.

Tuheitia reaffirms Māori Party

Waikato Tainui Kīngi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero Vll at the 11th annual Koroneihana, celebrating his ascension to ...

Māori King Tuheitia also dismissed Māori TV in an address at Tūrangawaewae​ Marae.

BBQ blast burns men

Two people were left with burns when a barbecue exploded at a Coromandel man's birthday party.

Two men in hospital with burns after spit-roast barbecue caught fire at a birthday party.

Taranaki

Mourie humbled by honour  video

Graham Mourie told the 1200 students that life was going to change a lot in the next few years.

One All Black great Graham Mourie remembers Sir Colin Meads as a character, but also a part of the New Zealand psyche.

NZ First choose Chong

He's been hinting at it for weeks. Now New Plymouth district councillor Murray Chong is officially standing for NZ First ...

Finally it's official. Murray Chong is standing for NZ First in New Plymouth.

Vying for votes

Harete Hipango is the National Party candidate  for Whanganui.

A gathering of South Taranaki voters take their first look at their electorate candidate lineup.

Fire investigation

New Plymouth bar Our Place has been shut following a fire at cafe Istanbul in July.

Inquiries into what ignited a New Plymouth restaurant fire are ongoing, police say.

Manawatu

Rare brain condition crippling video

Elijah North has microcephaly, which means his brain does not grow as well as it should.

But parents of 2-year-old aren't giving up hope and have turned to Australia for treatment.

Hospital's care probed

Discharged from hospital, Beth Cross was rushed back there by her husband, Daniel Cross.

The family of a Foxton woman who died soon after being released from hospital want answers.

Parking powers sought

Chief executive Ross McNeil says the council won't employ parking wardens.

The Rangitikei District Council is seeking the power to fine motorists.

Before and after 

Villagers have described the events that unfolded when NZ SAS troopers visited in 2004.

Calls for apology and punishment over firefight at centre of one of NZ's proudest military episodes.

Nelson

Forestry fail: Bach destroyed

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

Miracle no-one home as felled tree writes off Nelson family's much-loved bach.

Sanctuary 'sabotage'

A section of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary fence that was cut out over the weekend ahead of a poison drop.

Holes were cut in a Nelson bird sanctuary fence, locks glued and trees felled ahead of poison drop.

Fiery end to test drive

Emergency services respond to a vehicle fire on Princes Drive in Britannia Heights, Nelson.

A car for sale in Nelson probably won't be bought after it burst into flames during a test drive.

Transport transformed

Press Drive August 9 Briefs

Driverless cars could radically change Nelson in the not-so-distant-future, says IT expert.

Marlborough

Log spears family bach

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

Family demands answers after felled tree destroys Marlborough Sounds bach.

Back in the race

Marlborough Racing Club president Eric Bowers has previously opposed the sale of Waterlea Racecourse land. (File photo)

Hold your horses! All bets back on after ministry U-turn on campus site.

Unfair to 'single out' jet skis

Seamonkeez Jetski Hire owner Mike Stewart supports registration but says it is unfair to single out jet skis.

It's not just Ferraris and Lamborghinis that have to be registered on the road, so why single out jet skis on the water?

Blackwell does it again

Stephen Blackwell steams towards victory in the 2017 Woodbourne Half Marathon.

Methven athlete Stephen Blackwell claimed back-to-back Woodbourne half marathon titles on Sunday.

South Canterbury

Mobility tricycle for school

Celebrating the gift of a mobility tricycle to Highfield School pupils on Monday are, clockwise from left, Henry ...

Geraldine Lions Club gifts mobility tricycle to pupils of Highfield School.

Twizel man missing

Police are looking for Twizel man David Fountain, who was last seen in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police looking for Twizel man last seen out with friends in the early hours of Sunday.

Food processing course launched

The new food processing course would begin at Ara Institute of Canterbury next year.

New qualification to prepare students for life in the food processing sector launched.

Daffodils blooming gorgeous

South Canterbury Vintage Car Club members Grant Mitchell and Marion Foster help deliver some of the more than 32, 0000 ...

More than 32,000 daffodils have been delivered in style around the Timaru District.

Otago

More pooches, less poo in QT

Another 183 dogs have been registered in the Queenstown district this financial year, but there's been fewer fouling ...

The Queenstown district now has 4485 dogs, but there's been fewer poo complaints and attacks.

Southland powerlifter breaks NZ record

Southland's Andy Meek won the masters two category 66kg class at the NZ Powerlifting Championships in Dunedin.

Southland powerlifter Andy Meek broke a national record at the 2017 National Classic Powerlifting Championships recently.

Qtown goes nuts on nuts video

Frank Goes Nuts worker Dan Lythgoe, 22, enjoys selling caramelized nuts on Queenstown streets.

Queenstown is going nuts about new caramelised nuts business in town.

Dunedin's 'Minority Report'

Police arrested a burglar before the crime was reported in Dunedin, much like the 2002 Hollywood movie 'Minority ...

Police have solved a crime before it was even reported. Welcome to Dunedin's Minority Report.

Southland

Are you in?

Celebrate being a Southlander by taking part in Purple Work Shirt Day on Thursday, August 24.

The Southland Times and Rugby Southland are coming together this week to hold a purple work shirt day.  

South's top cop defends officers

Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham says "some things can go wrong sometimes".

Alleged murder, stalking and sexting cases involving police may harm reputation of hard-working officers, top cop says.

Police dog back at work

The scene on Dee St, Invercargill, where a car hit a police officer and dog.

A police dog pulled from under a car after a police pursuit came to an end is back at work.

A win that got away

Southland Stags midfielder Matthew Johnson scores a try in his debut game against Hawke's Bay in Napier on Saturday.

"It was just a couple of errors in the second half and Hawke's Bay punished us."

Ad Feedback