The Navy's new
Seasprite helicopter arrives in Nowra Friday, 24 October 2003
It may be three years late but the
first of the Navy's new Super Seasprite helicopters has been accepted by
the Royal Australian Navy at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, on the NSW South
Federal Minister for Defence, Robert
Hill says the Seasprite is the most advanced maritime helicopter in the
world, boasting sophisticated anti-ship weapons and the delay was caused
by the installation of this state of the art technology.
The first of 11 helicopters to eventually be housed at the base, the
Seasprite will become fully operational in 2005 and will provide the
primary anti-surface weapon system for the ANZAC class frigates.
The helicopters have attracted some criticism from the Federal
Opposition who say the refurbished aircraft frames are over 40 years old
and Shadow Defence Minister Chris Evans says Senator Hill has exposed
tax payers to the risk of accepting helicopters that have not met clear
But Senator Robert Hill says they can still do the job.
"They've been certified for 40 thousand hours, 25 years of
operation, they are in effect brand new. You've only got to look at the
aircraft or talk to the pilots. You know, there's no question about that
Liberal member for Gilmore, Joanna Gash says the Seasprite Helicopter
will bring enormous benefit to the Shoalhaven economy, in the range of
10 million dollars a year.
She says the squadron will bring an additional 110 people to the base
plus their families "And also of course the contractors on the base
who will be working on the helicopters outside of the base."
Minister for defence, Robert Hill says he can't comment on any plans to
expand HMAS Albatross near Nowra to increase both army and air force
components effectively making it a super base.
2 min Video of Seasprite)