Rotorcraft engine manufacturer Safran Helicopter Engines has signed a contract with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to support the engines of the NH90 helicopter fleet.

The helicopter is operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The contract falls under the Safran Helicopter Engines’ support-by-the-hour (SBH) programme for military operators.

This programme is designed to make the engine operating costs predictable and eliminate the cash peaks.

It also allows flexibility for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) coverage.

As part of this newly signed SBH military contract, the company will provide a long-term MRO and associated services support for a total of 21 RTM 322 engines of the helicopter fleet.

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The SBH programme is a flight hour-based support model for RTM322-powered NH90 users.

The latest contract will be managed by Safran Group’s Australian subsidiary Safran Helicopter Engines in Sydney.

The company’s Australian branch is already supporting more than 200 operators across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, including Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia.

Safran Helicopter Engines Australia managing director Cédric Jochum said: “This SBH marks a major milestone in the strong partnership that has been built over the last decade between the RNZAF and Safran Helicopter Engines Australia while supporting their engines.”

Built by NHIndustries, the NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopter (NFH) is a twin-engine medium utility rotorcraft.

It features a full ice protection system, fly-by-wire flight control system and fibre-glass composite structure.

The RNZAF’s NH90 fleet comprises as many as eight helicopters, operated by the No.3 Squadron.

The fleet provides tactical air mobility operations support, special operations support, casualty evacuation, and movement of troops and equipment.