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Airbus Helicopters MRH90 Taipan

Australia (2016)
Picture of Airbus Helicopters MRH90 Taipan Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter

Australia is expected to take on forty-seven MRH-90 Taipan utility helicopters that will serve in both the Army and Navy services.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Airbus Helicopters MRH90 Taipan Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 11/2/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

For decades the Australian military relied on the ubiquitous Bell UH-1 "Huey" helicopter line and thought (and funding) was finally given to adopt a more modern product - this became the MRH-90 "Taipan" (MRH = "Multi-Role Helicopter") based on the NHIndustries NH90 series. The NH90 serves in the medium-lift role and can undertake many mission types for military and civilian industries. Nearly 250 have been produced (2015) with service seen through the French, Italian and Finnish armies. The helicopter is an original product from NHIndustries (NHI), the helicopter arm of what was once Eurocopter - now falling under the Airbus Helicopters brand label.

For the Australian military the Taipan fulfills a utility role and will serve both its Army and Navy forces. An early-batch order in 2005 called for twelve helicopters to replace UH-1 models and a 2006 follow-on order totaled 34 systems to succeed outgoing Sikorsky UH-60 "Black Hawk" and Westland "Sea King" helicopters. The Australian military plans to procure no more than 47 MRH-90s in all with four to be produced in Europe and the remainder in Australia by Airbus Helicopters subsidiary Australian Aerospace of Brisbane. Forty units are set aside for Army use and six are to be used by the Navy. While the original order was for 46 total aircraft, a renegotiated contract of 2013 yielded the Australian government one extra airframe which will be set aside for training duty.

The MRH-90 has had a rocky development, forcing revisions as evaluations were being undertaken. Since 2010 the helicopter was repeatedly showing up on the Australian government's "shame list" for its many problems and delayed service entry. While first deliveries came in 2007, final examples will not be on hand until 2016 or 2017 - over ten years since the initial order was placed. For cost reasons, the Army will still be forced to use their Black Hawks until 2018. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was finally had in 2014 by the Army with the Navy following a year later.
The MRH-90 has experience issues with object ingestion in its turboshaft (Rolls-Royce) engines despite the fact that protective screens were in place (the screens were not suitable for the debris available in the Australian landscape). Additionally, windshield cracking was a constant which resulted in a special film being applied for added strength and a new installation procedure being drawn up. In 2010 a single engine failure occurred to an MRH-90 by Adelaide which caused a fleet grounding during the review process (shaft bowing was blamed). A stronger cabin floor was then ordered when it was found that the original lightweight design suffered under the stress of equipment-laden Australian infantry. Beyond other scheduled additions (rappelling equipment, door guns, etc...) it appears that the darkest days of the MRH-90 program are behind it.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (186mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
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  TOK
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  SYD
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  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Airbus Helicopters MRH90 Taipan's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
47
47


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Australia
Year: 2016
Type: Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Airbus Helicopters / NH Industries - France
Production: 47
Status: Active, Limited Service
Global Operators:
Australia (planned)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Airbus Helicopters MRH90 Taipan model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
52.99 ft


Meters
16.15 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
53.48 ft


Meters
16.3 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
17.22 ft


Meters
5.25 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
14,110 lb


Kilograms
6,400 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
23,369 lb


Kilograms
10,600 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9 turboshaft engines developing 2,230 horsepower each and driving a four-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
186 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
300 kph


Knots
162 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
497 mi


Kilometers
800 km


Nautical Miles
432 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
19,685 ft


Meters
6,000 m


Miles
3.73 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,575 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
480 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

Typically none. Door-mounted machine guns for local defense.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• MRH-90 "Taipan" - Base Series Designation; modifications added to suit Australian military requirements.
• NH-90 - Original model that the MRH-90 is based on.