Defence officials are scrambling to fix their new $4 billion fleet of helicopters after discovering it cannot open fire when troops are abseiling from the aircrafts because the doors are too narrow.
The army has tried three different gun mounts to overcome the problem on the MRH-90 Taipan helicopters but none have fixed the issue.
‘It is not an issue of the gun mount design. It is an issue of the width of the door,’ Defence official Shane Fairweather told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday.
‘The door isn’t wide enough to enable the safe exit while firing is taking place.’
Defence officials are scrambling to fix their new $4 billion fleet of helicopters after discovering it cannot open fire when troops are abseiling from the aircraft because the doors are too narrow
Defence chief Angus Campbell acknowledged there was an issue with gun doors on the Taipan choppers.
‘We know it, we are working on it,’ he told the committee.
The 47 European-designed helicopters were purchased as a fully-capable helicopters in 2005 to replace the army’s Blackhawk helicopters.
The inability to fire its gun while soldiers are rappelling means the Army must fly the helicopters in tandem for certain missions.
General Campbell said the Army had developed ‘tactical workarounds’ so troops could still reach the ground while pilots opened fire on enemies during dangerous operations.
The army has tried three different gun mounts to overcome the problem on the MRH-90 Taipan helicopters but none have fixed the issue
Helicopters are deployed in pairs so one can shoot while troops rappel from the second aircraft.
‘It requires a careful planning of the employment of our aircraft. We never fly an aircraft on its own,’ he said.
Chief of navy Mike Noonan told Senate Estimates there had been ‘ongoing problems’ with the cargo hook on the navy’s MRH-90.
The Howard government signed the contract for the first of the choppers in 2005.
Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News