The ADF’s fleet of MRH 90 helicopters has been cleared to return to flight after an engine failure caused a grounding of three months duration, and are expected to resume flying this week.
“I can confirm flying operations will commence shortly following approval by Defence’s Operational Airworthiness Authority,” the DMO’s new Head of Helicopter Systems Division, Rear Admiral Mark Campbell said in a July 22 statement. “Extensive work has been conducted by Rolls-Royce Turbomeca and our industry partners with support from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation to identify the cause of the engine failure. We are advised the failure resulted from compressor blade fracture due to contact with the engine casing.”
The grounding and subsequent delay to the helicopter’s development program means the Navy’s first at sea deployment is now not expected to take place until mid 2011, while Army’s goal of an operational troop will also be delayed.
“There is no suggestion of pilot error as alleged in one UK report,” Rear Admiral Campbell said, adding that Eurocopter CEO Dr Lutz Bertling had written to Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, Greg Combet to personally assure him that any suggestions that pilot error was responsible for the engine failure are incorrect.