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Defence Minister Richard Marles said the MRH-90 had been an important capability for the 

Australian Defence Force. ADF Photo.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF)’s Airbus MRH-90 Taipan helicopters will not return to flying operations before their planned withdrawal date of December 2024.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said the government was focused on the introduction into service of the new fleet of Sikorsky UH‑60M Black Hawks.

The first three Black Hawks have arrived in Australia and commenced flying in September, with remaining Black Hawks continuing to be delivered.

Marles said the MRH-90 had been an important capability for the ADF.

“I recognize the hard work of the hundreds of people who dedicated themselves to acquiring, operating and sustaining the aircraft,” he said.

“The first of the 40 Black Hawks that will replace the MRH-90 have arrived and are already flying in Australia. We are focused on seeing their introduction to service as quickly as possible.

“The government’s highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of our people.

“We continue to support the families of the four soldiers who lost their lives earlier this year, and the broader Defence community.”

The ADF will continue to operate its Boeing CH-47F Chinooks, Airbus Tigers and Sikorsky MH‑60R Seahawks to provide a ready aviation capability.

From 2025, the new Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters will also be introduced into service for the Army.

Marles said to help mitigate further impacts on Army’s operations and training, the government was exploring options to accelerate the delivery of the Black Hawks and aircrew training.

He said the announcement did not suggest the outcome of the investigations into the tragic incident on July 28, when an MRH-90 Taipan crashed near Lindeman Island, Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Sabre, killing the four aircrew on board.

Marles said the government made clear at the time Defence would not fly the platform until investigations into the incident were complete.

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