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Australia retires Taipans after crash

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia’s military said yesterday it was abandoning its MRH-30 Taipan helicopter fleet ahead of schedule, after one plunged into the sea in July, killing four crew members.

The fleet of more than 40 Taipan helicopters was grounded while investigators probed the night-time crash, which occurred during war-game exercises off the Whitsunday Islands.

The aircraft was originally due to be retired at the end of 2024.

The Taipans “will not return to flying operations” before that withdrawal date, Australia’s Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The government said it was introducing a new fleet of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, three of which had already started flying in September.

Australian soldiers dismount from an MRH-90 Taipan. PHOTO: AP

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