The New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been authorised by the country's government to procure ten SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite aircraft from Kaman Aerospace for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), the country's defence minister Dr Jonathan Coleman has announced.
The total value of the contract is expected to be $242m, with $120m allocated for the procurement of eight SH-2G(I) Super Seasprites and two spare airframes, while the remaining amount will be used for missiles, a full motion flight simulator, ship decklock modification, additional components, testing and introduction into service activities.
A latest version of the multi-mission maritime helicopter of the SH-2G Super Seasprite, Kaman SH-2G(I) will boost New Zealand's vertical lift capabilities and replace its existing ageing SH-2G Seasprite helicopter fleet.
The Super Seasprite aircraft is equipped with modernised flight control systems, radar, new sensors and communications system to enable sensor data sharing between the helicopter and ship.
Armed with Penguin anti-ship missile, the SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite day/night/all-weather multi-mission helicopter will support missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, over the horizon targeting, surveillance, troop transport, vertical replenishment, search-and-rescue, and utility missions.
The company will conduct minor modifications to the aircraft in order to meet New Zealand's requirements, while the NZDF will conduct airworthiness and certification process for the aircraft in preparation for its deployment.
Full operational capability of the aircraft is expected to be reached in 2016 and the first three aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to New Zealand in late 2014.
The contract is likely to be executed in the next few weeks.
Image: A SH-2G Super Seasprite aircraft during its flight. Photo: © 2013 KAMAN Corporation.