The Government of New Zealand has approved the acquisition of a new simulator for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) NH90 helicopters.
Currently, the NH90 pilots are completing simulator-based training in Germany and Australia, combined with training flights in the NH90 helicopter within New Zealand.
The $42.73m flight training simulator will be delivered to the New Zealand Air Force by Canadian company CAE.
The capital and operating costs of the project will be funded from within existing baselines.
New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark said: “Increased use of New Zealand-based simulators is the best way to train and sustain the number of pilots in the fleet.
“A New Zealand-based simulator offers the benefits of increasing the number of trained pilots while making more pilots and flight instructors available for deployment. This places less strain on RNZAF resources.
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“The availability of in-country simulator-based flight training will also reduce the need to use NH90s for training flights, ensuring the helicopters are available for more operational tasking.
“Bringing flight training back to New Zealand makes operational sense. This announcement follows on from the lease of new King Air aircraft, which enabled us to bring specialist aircrew training back to Ohakea from Australia.”
Over the coming year, the new simulator will be constructed in Montreal, Canada, and will be housed at Ohakea, New Zealand. It is expected to be ready to carry out training activities by July 2020.
Currently, the New Zealand Defence Force operates eight NH90 helicopters that provide support to military operations both in the country and abroad, in addition to delivering air tactical transport, tasks for other government agencies, and search and rescue operations.