6 Dec 2011

New Defence helicopters arrive

7:24 am on 6 December 2011

The first two new NH90 helicopters for the Defence Force arrive in New Zealand on Monday.

They are part of a fleet of eight with a project cost of more than $770 million.

Outgoing Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says the helicopters came in on budget but are two and a half years late.

Six more NH90s will arrive next year and will replace RNZAF Iroquois machines that have been in service for more than 40 years.

The NH90s will be flying by early next year and will be introduced into the air force after they are rigorously tested.

It's expected this will be in about 18 months and the Iroquois will be phased out.

Dr Mapp says NH90s are also being introduced to the German, French, Italian and Australian air forces.