Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Feb 2017 Contents 50 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter FEB 2017
one or two of the naval helicopters are required for
flight training purposes.
There were eleven SH-2G(A) helicopters which
had an ill-fated history in Australia before the contract
was paid out and terminated in 2008. They were
refurbished 1960s and 1980s airframes with a new
upper fuselage section to bring them to as-new
condition with a 10,000 hour service life certified by
the US Navy. The whole fleet only performed about
1,600 hours in very limited RAN ser vice.
The NZ Ministry of Defence entered into detailed
discussions with Kaman about modifications they had
done since the aircraft were returned to them. Defence
Force personnel conducted several evaluation flights
in one of these helicopters. NZ Defence also employed
airworthiness experts, Marinvent Corporation from
Canada, to supply an entirely independent view on
the quality of the modifications and the suitability
of the updated helicopters to meet NZ’s required
capabilities. Marinvent were involved in flight trials as
part of their own evaluation process.
ACQUISITION AND INTRODUCTION
The Kaman package consisted of ten Super Seasprite
helicopters (two will be used for spares), a full motion
flight simulator, training aids, spares inventory and
publications. The new aircraft have updated flight
control systems and modern radar and sensors.
They also have a modern communications system
that allows sensor data to be shared between the
helicopter and ship. The new sensors provide a much
greater range and ability for surveillance and search
NZ completed their acquisition contract with
Kaman in 2013. The purchase price was $ US120
million (about $ NZ150 million) for the 8 aircraft going
into ser vice and two further airframes. The additional
project costs are for missiles, the flight simulator,
ship deck-lock modification, additional components,
testing and introduction into service activities.
RNZAF No. 6 Squadron is one of the force
elements under the command of the Air Component
Commander HQ JFNZ (ACC) and remains under full
command of the Chief of the Air Force. It owns and
maintains the NZDF’s SH-2G(I) helicopters.
When embarked on an RNZN vessel they are
flown by RNZN pilots under the operational control
of the ship’s commanding officer. 6 SQN also provide
avionics and aircraft engineering technicians who
embark with the helicopter and remain on-board for
the whole mission.
To meet NZDF Naval Helicopter Force
requirements, the Squadron provide training for
the RNZN to prosecute surface warfare missions,
underwater warfare, and surveillance operations.
They are responsible for helicopter delivery services/
logistics and conduct helicopter operational
conversion (Seasprite) training for RNZN pilots,
observers and helicopter crewmen.
In June 2016 HMNZS TE KAHA, with a new SH-2G(I)
helicopter embarked, took part in RIMPAC 2016
including its helicopter firing training torpedoes and
live missiles at a US Navy decommissioned ship used
for target practice.
In September 2016 the RNZN OPV HMNZS
OTAGO helped transport 23 government staff and
about seven tonnes of vital equipment and supplies to
the remote Kermadec Islands on its first operational
mission with a Super Seasprite embarked.
“Although the newer-model Seasprite was
deployed on a frigate for a multilateral exercise in
June, their deployment on an OPV is a major step
for ward in increasing the NZDF’s ability to support
other government agencies in New Zealand and in
the Pacific region. This also marks a major milestone
in the modernisation of the Navy’s fleet,” Captain
Dave McEwan, the Acting Maritime Component
Lieutenant Commander (LTCDR) Andrew
Sorensen, the Commanding Officer of OTAGO, said
the ship’s first stop was at Macauley Island, where the
Seasprite dropped off a Department of Conservation
(DoC) representative and two dogs trained to detect
rats and other pests.
Otago then travelled to Raoul Island, to resupply
the DoC outpost there. About seven tonnes of
goods, including food supplies, general equipment
and a light utility vehicle, were flown to the island in
“The NZDF provides logistical support to other
government agencies and the resupply operation to
the Kermadecs is a good example of that,” LTCDR
During the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake
military response two SH-2G(I) ships’ helicopters,
one from each of the ANZAC frigate HMNZS TE
KAHA and amphibious support ship HMNZS
CANTERBURY were heavily involved in ferrying
evacuees and separately their luggage from shore
to ship, while returning to shore with relief supplies.
Their role is included as part of the accompanying
article in this APDR edition.
CAE TRAINING SUPPORT
At RNZAF Base Auckland there are specialist
buildings containing training equipment for the Super
Seasprite crews and maintainers.
In October 2014 CAE announced it has been
awarded contracts by the New Zealand Defence
Force (NZDF) to support its SH-2G(I) Super
Seasprite helicopter synthetic training devices.
CAE immediately commenced major updates
and obsolescence management to the delivered
SH-2G(I) Full Mission Flight Simulator and Part Task
Trainer PTT acquired by the NZDF from Kaman. In
addition to updates to the host computer, sensor
systems, tactical environment and the instructor
operator station, the simulator update will include the
addition of the latest generation CAE Medallion-6000
image generator and the common database
architecture. The SH-2G(I) synthetic training devices
were delivered to RNZAF Base Auckland in 2015, at
which time CAE New Zealand Pty Ltd commenced
delivery of on-site training support and maintenance
services through to 2030.
WHEN WILL NZ’S SUPER SEAPRITE
At present the NZDF’s Super Seasprite fleet is
planned to average 1,000 flying hours per year.This
suggests that by 2030 each of the eight operational
airframes will have averaged around 2,000 hours
flying time, well within US Navy certification that each
airframe is good for 10,000 hours .
The Defence Capability Plan 2016 (DCP 16)
which outlines projects and their likely expenditure
ranges out to 2030, makes no mention of replacing
the Super Seasprite fleet in that time. No doubt there
will be minor capability upgrades, in fact the DCP 16
states ‘Further investments in the range $ NZ 50-100
million will be made into the SH-2G(I) Seasprite
fleet out to 2023 to ensure that they deliver their full
suite of capabilities, including in communications
equipment and software support.’
As a value for money acquisition, delivering the
capabilities required by the RNZN, the SH-2G(I)
helicopters have been a great success, but only after
an expensive project lesson for Australian Defence.
The Kaman package consisted of ten Super Seasprite helicopters
(two will be used for spares), a full motion flight simulator, training
aids, spares inventory and publications.
30/01/2017 6:44 PM
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