Australia’s version of the medium-lift NH90, the MRH90, made its maiden flight Mar. 28 month at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France flight test center.
Eurocopter Test Pilot Jean-Pierre Roldan flew Serial No. 1 for 1.5 hr, taking the aircraft to 4,000 ft and reaching maximum speed, Eurocopter said. (The aircraft’s max cruise speed is 165 kt.) "All of the aircraft’s main systems operated in accord with our expectations," he said. Australia is buying 46 MRH90s to replace Army Black Hawks and Royal Australian Navy Sea Kings.
The NHIndustries consortium of Eurocopter, AgustaWestland, and Stork Aerospace produces the fly-by-wire, all-composite NH90. The first four MRH90s will be built by Eurocopter in France. The remaining 42 are to be produced at Australian Aerospace’s plant in Brisbane. The first two are due for delivery to the Australian Defence Force in December. The first MRH90 fuselage was reported to have arrived in Brisbane March 27.