RNZAF’S NH90s Unreliable Money Guzzlers - Official Information

26 April 2017

NZ First says the Air Force’s eight NH90 helicopters, which cost $86m each, are flying a lot less, if at all, and costing a lot more than the Iroquois they replaced.

“Of real concern is the effect that the NH90s’ cost and poor availability is having on the Army,” says Ron Mark, New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson.

“The NH90s are another Labour blunder.  They delivered us far too many LAVs, spent almost as much on the Hercules life extension as new aircraft and built Offshore Patrol Vessels with ice strengthening below the waterline.

“And not forgetting who scrapped the air force’s fighters.

“The NH90 is a warning about being the bleeding edge of technology because it’s bleeding the defence force of capability.  Back in 2008, and just before the NH90 lumbered into service late, the old Iroquois fleet flew 4741.5 flight hours.

“In 2015 the total of hours flown by NH90s, A109s and the Iroquois totalled 3019.4 hours.  Even then the old Iroquois chipped in 471 of these hours.

“The NH90s cost $1,182 an hour to fly and that is 2.5 times more expensive than the Iroquois they replaced.  They’re also unreliable, chewing through $3.3 million worth of spares in just two years.

“We could have bought 16 US Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom or several dozen UH-60M Blackhawks for the price of eight NH90s. And because NH90s are so costly, they can’t be put into harm’s way or fly off ships at sea defeating their purpose.

“No wonder National wanted C17s because that’s about the best way to get them into the air. It’s a huge warning that National’s $20bn defence shopping list can easily become gold-plated trap door for the poor taxpayer. 

“It is why you need people in government who know a LAV from a LAVatory because on defence the answer is black and white and we’ve got a plan,” Mr Mark says.