The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) officially accepted ownership of the new Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopters from Kaman Aerospace in a ceremony at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Auckland. There are three new Seasprites at Base Auckland and the remaining five will be delivered by September. The new SH-2G(I) helicopters replaces the SH-2G model that is presently being used.
Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Jack Steer said the handover marked a significant milestone for the Defence Force’s maritime aviation capability: «The Seasprites perform a vital function for the Navy, and enhance the roles of our ships at sea, by undertaking a range of tasks including maritime surveillance, search and rescue, counter-terrorism and utility lift. We’ve operated Seasprites since the 1990s and they have proven to be a great capability for us».
«We deployed a Seasprite on HMNZS Te Mana (F111) to the Gulf of Aden in 2014 in support of the multi-national Combined Task Force undertaking anti-piracy activities in the region. The Seasprite flew over 120 hours and was used for surveillance and reconnaissance adding substantial value to the operation. We currently have a Seasprite embarked on HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) who is on operational deployment until May and the helicopter is an integral part of this mission», said Rear Admiral Steer.
Operation of the Seasprites is a joint effort between the Navy and Air Force. Seasprites are flown by Navy personnel and maintained by Air Force engineers and technicians who form No.6 Squadron at Whenuapai.
SH-2G Super Seasprite
The SH-2G Super Seasprite is a proven day/night/all-weather multi-mission helicopter. Designed to meet the exacting requirements of the U.S. Navy, the SH-2G Super Seasprite has the highest power-to-weight ratio of any maritime helicopter, assuring a safe return-to-ship capability even in single-engine flight conditions. Its robust design, outstanding stability, excellent reliability, and proven capability (more than 1.5 million flight hours) are important benefits in the demanding maritime environment.
The SH-2G is a fully integrated, multi-mission maritime weapon system designed to fulfill Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), over the horizon targeting, surveillance, troop transport, vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and utility missions.
It is also the largest, most powerful small ship helicopter on the market today and is recognized for its mission effectiveness, support, and unmatched performance. In 1997 Kaman delivered its first international SH-2G Super Seasprite to the Arab Republic of Egypt. Today the SH-2G Super Seasprite is operated in Egypt, Poland, and New Zealand.
Standard Displacement: 6 tonnes
Length Overall: 16.1 m/52.8 feet
Beam: 3 m/9.8 feet
Main Rotor Diameter: 13.4 m/44 feet
Height: 4.6 m/15 feet
Speed: 120 knots/138 mph/222 km/h
Operating maximum: 150 knots/172.6 mph/278 km/h
Ceiling height: 3,048 m/10,000 feet
Range: 450 NM/833 km
Endurance: 3.5 hours
3 crew: pilot, tactical operator and crewman;
Plus up to 5 passengers;
Evacuation capacity of 2 stretchers and 2 attendants
Propulsion: 2 × General Electric T700 Turbines (1,600 hp/1,193 kW each)
Lifting Capacity: 1,814 kg/3,999 lbs
Winch Lifting Capacity: 272 kg/599 lbs or two people
Armament: Can be armed with a combination of homing torpedoes, depth charges, Maverick Air-to-Surface missiles, Penguin Anti-Ship missiles, M60 Machine Gun