The New Zealand Air Force is withdrawing its fleet of aging Iroquois helicopters, to be replaced by French NH90 choppers.

All 14 Iroquois choppers will be substituted by NH90 helicopters which will start arriving in mid 2010 and be fully commissioned by 2013.

The French helicopters were ordered In 2006 under a $771 million deal which included the aircraft, spare parts and training.

Two of the 14 Iroquois choppers will be kept at Ohakea Air Base in case they are needed.

New hangars at Ohakea are being built for the NH90s and for the Augusta 109s, which will replace the air force’s Sioux training helicopters.