Australia announced today that it will retire its Taipan helicopters ahead of schedule, following a crash of the same type in July during a joint military exercise with the US, which resulted in the deaths of four crew members.

The fleet of Taipan helicopters will not return to operational status before their scheduled retirement date of December 2024, Defense Secretary Richard Marles said.

“Today’s announcement does not in any way prescribe the outcome of the investigations into the tragic accident,” the minister said in the same announcement.

Australia announced in January its intention to buy 40 Black Hawk military helicopters manufactured by the American Lockheed Martin at a purchase cost of up to 1.80 billion dollars (1.70 billion euros).

The Black Hawk helicopters will replace the Taipan helicopters which for years have been plagued by issues related to their technical support.

Australia has maintained 47 Taipan helicopters in service since they entered the country’s armed forces, according to Marls.