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Australian Army grounds Black Hawk helicopters


Black Hawk helicopter. Photo: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

SYDNEY (BNS): The Australian Army has temporarily suspended flying operations for the Black Hawk helicopters, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The MoD in a statement said, the helicopter fleet was grounded upon identifying a number of fractured bolts during a routine maintenance check.

Acting Director General Aviation, Colonel Stephen Evans said the suspension, which commenced on Thursday, was to ensure safety and is consistent with Army Operational Airworthiness procedures.

"The precautionary suspension will remain in place to allow an investigation into the cause of the fracture to be completed," Colonel Evans said.

Three Army Black Hawks are assigned to Joint Task Force 631 in Timor Leste. Emergency aero-medical evacuations for International Stabilisation Force personnel in Timor Leste remain authorised during the temporary suspension.

The Navy Seahawk helicopters differ significantly to the Black Hawk in the affected area, and Seahawk flying operations have not been suspended, it added.

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