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Australia's Black Hawk helicopters return to the sky


Black Hawk helicopter. Photo: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

SYDNEY (BNS): The Australian Army's Black Hawk helicopters have returned to full flying operations following the lifting of the recent suspension, the Ministry of Defence said.

The suspension was put in place on Thursday after a number of fractured bolts were found during a routine maintenance check.

The Commander of Forces Command, Major General Michael Slater, as the Army Operational Airworthiness Authority has lifted the precautionary suspension following airworthiness advice from the Technical Airworthiness Authority, the MoD said in a statement.

A thorough engineering investigation was carried out following the discovery of the defective bolts. The engineering investigation indicated that the defective bolts were confined to a single manufacturer's batch and were not a fleet wide issue. The defective batch of bolts has been quarantined from use, it said.

The Australian Army operates 34 Black Hawk aircraft. Of that fleet, three are deployed to Timor Leste, and the remaining aircraft are based in Holsworthy NSW and Townsville QLD.

The Navy Seahawk helicopters differ significantly to the Army Black Hawk and were not affected by the suspension.

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