About 70 Black Hawk maintenance jobs in north Queensland will be lost as the Australian Defence Force upgrades its helicopter fleet.

About 70 highly-skilled Black Hawk maintenance staff in north Queensland will lose their jobs as the Australian Defence Force upgrades its helicopter fleet.

The company that currently holds the army’s maintenance contract, BAE Systems, says the agreement to service the fleet in Townsville concludes on January 31 next year.

A BAE spokeswoman says the army has informed the company there will be no further work for it when the contract finishes.

The Black Hawk fleet is being replaced with the Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) 90, she says.

“About 70 employees are at risk of redundancy between September 2014 and January 2015,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“We are currently exploring opportunities to obtain new work and retain as many of our employees as we possibly can.

“Our employees are being kept fully informed and supported.”

The spokeswoman said there would also be a reduction in the army’s maintenance requirements for its Chinook helicopter fleet.

“We’re currently understanding what impact that will have on our Chinook workforce,” she said.

BAE Systems will support the Chinook fleet from its Townsville site until at least February 2017.