After ditching submarine deal with Paris, Australia switches from European to US helicopters

WION Web Team
Sydney, AustraliaUpdated: Dec 10, 2021, 07:13 PM IST

A US UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter can be seen in this file photo Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

Morrison said that Taipan helicopters, designed by Airbus, were supposed to last until 2037, but they have been plagued with groundings

Australia is going to switch European helicopters with American Black Hawks as they are more ''reliable.''

It comes after a debacle over Canberra's cancellation of a multi-billion dollar submarine deal with Paris.

According Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ''The Taipans weren’t meeting their marks. Simple as that.''

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Peter Dutton said, ''It’s had nine instances where it’s been unsuitable to fly, and I’m just not going to put our people in that position.''

Currently, Australia owns 47 Taipan helicopters that were designed by Airbus. Morrison said that although they were supposed to last until 2037, but they have been plagued with groundings.

The country will switch them with 40 Lockheed Martin-designed helicopters worth $4.8 billion.

Previously, Canberra opted for nuclear-powered submarines to be built with US and British technology instead of a multi-billion-dollar French submarine programme.

The new security alliance, dubbed AUKUS, is designed to give Australia access to nuclear-powered submarines for the first time but caused a major diplomatic rift after France said it was not informed in advance.

The agreement has angered China, which describes it as an "extremely irresponsible" threat to stability in the region.

France had accused Australia of stabbing it in the back and had briefly recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the United States in protest. 

French President Emmanuel Macron later said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had deceived him about Canberra's intentions.

Morrison argued that he had previously explained to Macron that conventional submarines would no longer meet Australia's needs ahead of the AUKUS deal.

(With inputs from agencies)