world of aviation logo

NZ acquires Seasprites originally ordered by Australia

written by WOFA | April 22, 2013

New Zealand will acquire 10 Seasprites originally intended for service with the Australia Defence Force.

The New Zealand government has approved the purchase of an upgraded and increased Seasprite helicopter fleet for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), taking up aircraft originally destined for Australia.

Ten airframes comprising eight Seasprites and two spare airframes will be purchased from Kaman Aerospace under a NZ$242 million project that also includes a full motion training simulator, Penguin air-to-surface missiles, and additional components.

NZ Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said the NZDF currently has five SH-2G Seasprites that have been in service since the late 1990s and are due for replacement.

“This package will provide the Navy with an upgraded variant, the Seasprite SH-2G(I) and increase the fleet from five to eight helicopters. It will allow helicopters to be embarked on the two ANZAC-class frigates as well as the offshore patrol vessels and the multi-role ship HMNZS Canterbury,” Coleman said.

The government has defended the decision to increase the number of Seasprites stating the current fleet of five helicopters is too small and that only two aircraft are regularly available for use on the NZ navy’s ships with one being used for training and two in maintenance at any one time.

“These helicopters come with modernised sensor, weapons and flight control systems and will be a major boost to our maritime surveillance and search capability. The helicopters will also ensure that our naval fleet is able to operate at its full potential,” said Dr Coleman.

The replacement helicopters were originally built for the Australian Defence Force as the SH-2G(A) as part of a $1 billion order. In 2009 the Australian government elected to cancel the contract and not to introduce them into service after questions about their suitability to meet Australia’s requirements, Coleman said.


“The New Zealand Defence Force and Ministry of Defence officials are acutely aware that the Australian government decided not to fully introduce these aircraft into service after concerns about a range of technical issues. As a consequence the New Zealand Ministry of Defence has invested considerable resources into examining all aspects of this project over the last two years.”

Critically, New Zealand will operate its SH-2Is with three crew, rather than two for the SH-2G(A), and changes have been made to the troublesome flight control system.

The first three aircraft are due in New Zealand in late 2014. All eight are expected to be in service during 2016.



  • pez


    At least they’ve gone to a good home.

  • Red Barron


    So how much did Australia waste on this project?

    Good luck Kiwi brothers

  • Wayne


    Once again the clowns in DMO assisted by some in Navy tried to build a helicopter on a on-off basis on unproven technology. Off the shelf with some possible limitations [see C-17/F-18F/C-130J] is the best bet foe the small numbers of kit we buy. Although the RAN is planning to operate the MH-60R’s single pilot vs. two pilot ops in the USN. Again we try to re-invent the wheel…

  • Andy


    Another crock for NZDF will they ever learn?

  • Gordy


    Does this sale include our previous held 100 plus stock of ASM Penguins? Meaning, did we sell these to Kaman when we returned the 11 S-2Gs a few years ago?

    I just wonder whether they did, or are they stored with the 100 plus AGM-142s ex F-111C ASM Weapons????

    What a $ waste on both counts. At least the Israeli ECM EL80** pods made it to the F/A-18+ ex F-111,..so I think?

  • Gordy


    BTW, I predicted this sale back on ADF-Serials.com.au Messager Board back in 2008. Hate being right.

  • Air Observer


    They can fuddle with the ilictrics.

  • Matt


    @Gordy, I did see the EL80 ECM pods on the F/A-18+ classic hornets at the Avalon airshow. 🙂

  • Craig


    Well if our Kiwi mates and neighbours can get them to work good luck!!

Comments are closed.


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year