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Australia welcomes first Black Hawks to replace troubled Taipan fleet

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The Australian Army has received its first UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from the US to replace its troubled MRH-90 Taipan fleet.

Two Sikorsky Black Hawks arrived at an air force base in Richmond last week, just two days after one of Canberra’s Taipan choppers crashed during a multinational military exercise.

Based on the flight data obtained by ABC News, the new rotary-wing aircraft have been delivered to the Holsworthy army barracks to support the country’s 6th Aviation Regiment.

Ahead of Schedule

Earlier this year, the Australian government announced that it acquired 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for an estimated cost of $1.9 billion.

It said that the chopper’s capability will play a crucial role in protecting Canberra’s sovereignty and delivering foreign policy objectives, including providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The country was expected to start operating the Black Hawks next year, but increased pressure prompted the government to accelerate the transition.

“I wouldn’t want to raise expectations around having the Black Hawks in service sooner, we are in the process of transitioning to Black Hawks pretty well as of now,” the defense minister told reporters.

Now that some of the helicopters have arrived, Australia will need to ensure that its military personnel are properly trained to operate the twin-engine aircraft.

Ongoing Investigation

Last week, a Taipan helicopter crashed off the coast of Queensland, leaving four people missing.

Authorities say investigations are continuing, with several navy vessels operating around the crash site off Lindeman Island to collect debris.

Unidentified human remains have reportedly been found, but positive identification will take time.

As of now, the rest of the army’s European-made helicopters are still grounded.

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