Australian Defence Force withdraws MRH-90 Taipan helicopters from service

The Australian Defence Force’s 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 UH‑60M Black Hawks.

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Australian army withdraws MRH 90 Taipan helicopters from service 1 An Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter takes off from Evans Head, New South Wales, during Operation Flood Assist 2022 (Picture source: Australian MoD)

The first three Black Hawks have arrived in Australia and commenced flying in September, with the remaining Black Hawks continuing to be delivered. Richard Marles said the MRH-90 had been an important capability for the ADF: “I recognise the hard work of the hundreds of people who dedicated themselves to acquiring, operating and sustaining the aircraft. 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 ADF will continue to operate its CH-47F Chinooks, Tigers and MH‑60R Seahawks to provide a ready aviation capability. From 2025, the new AH-64E Apache helicopters will also be introduced into service for the Army. Richard Marles said to help mitigate further impacts on the Army’s operations and training, the Government was exploring options to accelerate the delivery of the Black Hawks and aircrew training.

MRH90 Taipan Multi Role Helicopter

The MRH-90 multi-role helicopter replaced the ADF's existing Black Hawk and Sea King helicopter fleets with increased and improved capability, ability and capacity. 46 MRH-90 aircraft were acquired for the Navy and Army. The first two aircraft were accepted into service in Brisbane on 18 December 2007 in a ceremony attended by The Hon Greg Combet MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement.

The MRH-90s have been available for two airmobile squadrons - one special operations support squadron, and one maritime support helicopter squadron (808 Squadron) - able to provide airmobile and maritime support capability to the ADF from land bases as well as the Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships.

Australian army withdraws MRH 90 Taipan helicopters from service 2 A Royal Australian Navy sailor is lowered to the casing of HMAS Collins from an MRH-90 Maritime Support Helicopter while sailing in the Bay of Bengal during AUSINDEX 2019 (Picture source: Australian MoD).