The Australian Federal Government today confirmed it would spend $2 billion buying 34 new helicopters to replace its ageing Sea King and Black Hawk fleets. Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said the MRH 90 helicopters were due to start being delivered from December 2007 through to December 2009. He said the Sea Kings would be retired in 2010 followed by the Black Hawks which would be replaced between 2011 and 2015. The MRH 90 is an extremely capable helicopter featuring a modern damage tolerant design, a large cabin volume with ramp and enhanced levels of marinisation, he said. Dr Nelson said part of the project was an Australian industry package worth $1.2 billion that would work to develop and maintain critical aircraft mission systems capability.