Australia snubs EU arms producers again after submarine scandal — Analysis

Australia plans to retire its 47 Taipan Multipurpose Military Helicopters and purchase Black Hawks designed by Lockheed Martin for $4.8 Billion.

Canberra confirmed the replacement of helicopters with European designs on Friday.

“The Taipans weren’t meeting their marks. Simple as that,”Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Canada, spoke during a conference. “And we want to make sure that our defense forces have the best possible equipment to defend this country, and the Black Hawks will provide that.”

The Taipans are the mostly Australian-manufactured variant of the Airbus-designed NH90 twin-engine aircraft operated by the Australian Army and Navy. The fleet was first ordered in 2005. Unfortunately, rollout was complicated by technical issues that led to years of delays.

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The Australian Navy decided to purchase the US-made SH-60 Seahawks, despite mounting difficulties. Australia made an announcement in October that it had ordered 12 additional Seahawks, a contract worth three billion Australian dollars (or $985 million).

The Australian government is now planning to replace all of its Taipan fleet with US-made helicopters. They are looking to purchase 40 UH-60 Black Hawks and the Navy-ordered Seahawks. The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky subdivision produces both aircraft.

It was expected that the deal will cost seven billion Australian dollars ($4.8 million), however, it would save money due the high operation costs of Taipans.

Three months ago, Australia upset France with a multibillion dollar deal to purchase 12 attack submarines. Instead of purchasing the boats, it purchased eight nuclear-powered US-made vessels. Along with AUKUS trilateral security pact between Australia and the UK, this deal was touted as a means to deter China.



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