Saturday, 11 May 2013

Tradition Triumphs In New Zealand

New Zealand has ordered ten Kaman Super Seasprite 2G(I) helicopters for its navy. These will cost $12 million each. In service since the 1990s, the Super Seasprite is an upgrade of the older (1960s era) Seasprite. The U.S. Navy was the major user of the original Seasprite and retired the last of them in 1993. The only other user was New Zealand. The U.S. Navy ordered 24 Super Seasprites in the 1990s, but eventually settled on navalized versions of the UH-60 Black Hawk for most of its needs. 

The U.S. sold two of its Super Seasprites to New Zealand, which liked them. Australia, on the other hand, bought some Super Seasprites in the late 1990s and had lots of problems. These were fixed, but not in time to keep Australia as a customer. Meanwhile New Zealand had been operating Super Seasprites since 2001 and was satisfied with their performance. Egypt and Poland also operate Super Seasprites.
The Super Seasprite is a six ton helicopter that usually operates with a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and crew chief or senor operator). It can carry about two tons and has a cruise speed of 220 kilometers an hour. The Super Seasprite can stay in the air for about four hours per sortie. It is used for search and rescue and anti-submarine work and is able to carry anti-submarine torpedoes.

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