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Defence, Education Training

CDU EXPERT: Offer by Australian technicians to reassemble Taipan helicopters for free could be a win win for Ukraine and Australia.

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read

7 FEBRUARY, 2023

Who: Charles Darwin University (CDU) Australian intelligence and defence expert Dr Victor Abramowicz


  • History of the Taipan helicopters
  • Request from Ukraine to receive helicopters
  • What other equipment Ukraine needs
  • What the Taipan helicopters will be used for

Contact details: Call +61 8 8946 6529 or email to arrange an interview.

Quotes attributable to Dr Abramowicz:

“The 46 Taipans were ordered in 2004 under a project called AIR 9000 that was replacing the Army’s old S-70 Black Hawk helicopters.”

“The first helicopters were delivered in 2007, and over the next 16 years, the Taipan never met all its targets in terms of being operationally available, meeting all the capability requirements needed of it, and having an acceptable cost to fly.”

“In 2021 the aircraft was already planned for replacement with modernised UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters – ironically, the very type of helicopters it was bought to replace – with this to occur in 2024.”

“But after a fatal crash in July 2023, the Taipan fleet was grounded, and the Black Hawk replacement expedited. The government looked for buyers but couldn’t find any, and so started to disassemble the helicopters.”

“The request from Ukraine was received after the disassembly process had started. It would be expensive to put them back together, but now there’s been an offer by Australian technicians to do this work for free.”

“There’s a request there from Kyiv, and now an offer from technicians to do the work for free. This would seem to be a win-win.”

“While there might be legal issues involved in terms of if the helicopters have any issues with them (safety, or maintainability), whether Australia might be held liable.”

“With that said, considering Ukraine’s difficult situation, I’d think it very unlikely that Kyiv would refuse the helicopters or take Australia to task if there were issues with them – they understand the history of these helicopters, and even a poorly performing one is better than none at all.”

“Ukraine needs anything it can get, but most particularly ammunition for its heavy artillery. This is something Australia and France are cooperating on.”

“Aside from that, armoured vehicles, fighter aircraft, drones, medical equipment…anything and everything."

"In terms of what the Taipans would be used for, troop transport, including medical evacuation, would be the most likely, since that’s what they’re designed to do.”

Contact details:

Emily Bostock
Acting Research Communications Officer

T: +61 8 8946 6529
M: 0432 417 518

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