Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare has announced the completion of a “full diagnostic review” into the troubled MRH 90 Multi-Role Helicopter program being acquired under Phases 2, 4 and 6 of the Air 9000 project, recommending that the program not be added to the Project of Concern list at this time.
Chaired by Defence Materiel Organisation CEO Warren King alongside a number of independent specialists, the review also recommended that Defence work with contractor Australian Aerospace “to implement a remediation plan”, aimed at improving the availability of the MRH 90 by addressing a number of “engineering and reliability issues”.
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare originally ordered the review on February 1 this year in response to a number of delays in the program which has seen the project up to 18 months late for introduction into the ADF. Those delays were the result of a number of issues with the MRH 90, including engine failure, transmission oil cooler fan failures, and the poor availability of spares for the helicopter. A total of 13 MRH 90s have so far been accepted by Defence for testing and initial crew training of ADF personnel.
Defence has planned a further diagnostic review of the project for later this year, to assess effectiveness of its recommendations and take any further action if necessary.