The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) has taken delivery of its first SH-2G (I) Super Seasprite helicopter from Kaman Aerospace.
The delivery, undertaken at the navy's facility in Bloomfield, Connecticut, US, forms part of a $120m contract signed in May 2013 for ten Kaman SH-2G (I) aircraft, alongside spare parts, a mission flight simulator and associated logistics support.
Kaman Aerospace Group president Greg Steiner said: "We are pleased to have achieved this significant programme milestone, which in addition to the acceptance of the first aircraft, signifies acceptance of the aircraft design.
"This accomplishment was the result of significant effort and cooperation between Kaman, the MoD and the NZDF."
With additional aircraft set for acceptance by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) over the following weeks, the initial three aircraft will be delivered in early 2015, followed by remaining deliveries later next year.
In addition to replacing the ageing SH-2G Seasprite helicopter fleet, the latest version of the maritime helicopter aims to improve New Zealand's vertical lift potential.
The aircraft features the latest flight control systems, radar, new sensors and communications system, enabling sensor data sharing between the helicopter and vessels.
Equipped with Penguin anti-ship missiles, the Super Seasprite will support missions such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), over the horizon targeting, surveillance, troop transport, vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and utility missions.
The helicopter was developed to comply with US Navy requirements and is currently operational with the RNZN, the Egyptian Air Force and Polish Navy.
Image: Kaman's SH-2G Super Seasprite aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Kaman.