New Zealand defense force buys 8 Kaman choppers

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Associated Press

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 19 at 10:00 AM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's defense force says it will buy eight retrofitted Seasprite helicopters from Connecticut-based aerospace manufacturer Kaman.

The helicopters came at a steep discount of 242 million New Zealand dollars ($203 million) after an Australian deal fell apart. The Australian defense force cancelled a $1 billion contract for 11 of the craft because they didn't have the capability to be flown hands-free.

New Zealand's defense force said in an announcement Friday it didn't have the same requirement.

It bought the helicopters to upgrade and expand its current fleet. The deal also includes two spare helicopter frames, a training simulator and anti-ship Penguin missiles.

The helicopters will operate from New Zealand Navy vessels.

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