NH90 flight training to be based in New Zealand

  • Hon Ron Mark

The Government has approved the purchase of a new simulator for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) NH90 helicopters.

Currently, training for RNZAF NH90 pilots includes simulator-based training in Germany and Australia, combined with training flights in the NH90s within New Zealand. 

“Increased use of New Zealand based simulators is the best way to train and sustain the number of pilots in the fleet,” says Minister of Defence Ron Mark.

“A New Zealand based simulator offers the benefits of increasing the number of trained pilots, while making more pilots and flight instructors available for deployment.  This places less strain on RNZAF resources.

“The availability of in country simulator-based flight training will also reduce the need to use NH90s for training flights, ensuring the helicopters are available for more operational tasking.

“Bringing flight training back to New Zealand makes operational sense. This announcement follows on from the lease of new King Air aircraft which enabled us to bring specialist aircrew training back to Ohakea from Australia,” says Ron Mark.

The Defence Force operates eight NH90 helicopters that provide support to military operations in New Zealand and abroad, air tactical transport, tasks for other government agencies, along with search and rescue operations.

Canadian company CAE will deliver the flight training device.  There will be three new roles in the Manawatu that will provide management and support services.

At 10 metres tall, a large facility is required to house the new simulator and land at Ohakea has been earmarked for the construction site.

The budget for the purchase and installation of the flight training device is $42.73 million.  The capital and operating costs of this project will be funded from within existing baselines.  No new funding is required.

The new simulator will be constructed in Montreal over the coming year, with the new facility at Ohakea ready for training activities by July 2020.