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Belgium receives final NH90 TTH helicopter

Belgium receives final NH90 TTH helicopter | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Belgium has taken delivery of the last of four examples of the TTH troop transport variant of the NH Industries NH90 helicopter.


Handed over on 13 November at a ceremony at the Marignane production facility of NHI’s majority shareholder Airbus Helicopters in France, the rotorcraft will be based at Beauvechain air base near Brussels.


The NH90 TTH was joined at the delivery event by two of its sister ships, which had been on a harsh environment training exercise near the Pyrenean mountain town of Saillagouse in the southwest of France.


All four of the 10.6t rotorcraft are operated by the 1st wing of the Belgian air component. The service also has four of the NFH naval model on order, with the third example due to be handed over on 25 November and the fourth following in early 2015.


So far its Turbomeca RTM322-powered fleet has accumulated 450 flight hours with an availability of around 70%.

“The delivery of this NH90 TTH is the result of a very good co-operation between industryand the Belgian defence forces,” says Vincent Dubrule, NHI president. “From now on, NHI and its partner companies will worktogether in order to make sure the NH90 remains at the level of excellence demanded by itscrews throughout its service life.”


This delivery is the 217th for the programme, and the 38th so far this year. NHI remains on track to hand over around 52 of the helicopters this year, it says.

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RNZAF NH90 external cargo operations - Exercise Ben Cat

Members of the Royal New Zealand Artillery called in support from NH90 helicopters during Exercise Ben Cat. 161 battery usually move their howitzer guns into place using trucks, but the powerful NH90 gives them wider access to difficult terrain and gets them into the battle far quicker.

Prior to the NH90, the Iroquois’ were used for moving the guns, but this was a significantly longer process as each gun had to be dismantled and transported in a few pieces due to their weight.

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Auftrag erfüllt – Fünf Kontingente und über 1.000 Flugstunden mit dem NH90 - FwAirMedEvac ISAF - THR10 Fassberg

Auftrag erfüllt – Fünf Kontingente und über 1.000 Flugstunden mit dem NH90 - FwAirMedEvac ISAF - THR10 Fassberg | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it
Mit einem feierlichen Appell auf dem Fliegerhorst in Faßberg feierten die Heeresflieger des Transporthubschrauberregiments 10 „Lüneburger Heide“ den erfolgreichen Abschluss des Einsatzes als Forward Air MedEvac in Afghanistan und die Rückkehr ihrer Soldaten. Oberst Andreas Pfeifer, Kommandeur des Regiments, dankte seinen „Heidefliegern“ für ihr Engagement im Einsatz, aber auch den Familien und Soldaten in der Heimat für die Unterstützung.

Die Bilanz: Fünf Kontingente – 28 scharfe Einsätze – Transport von zehn Schwerstverletzten – über 1.000 Flugstunden mit dem NH90. Die Soldaten aus Faßberg haben von Mazar-e Sharif aus Rettungseinsätze in Nordafghanistan geflogen und dabei Menschenleben gerettet. Sie leisteten eine ständige Bereitschaft und brauchten nur 15 Minuten von der Alarmierung bis zum Start des Hubschraubers bei Tag und bei Nacht. Immer wenn die Besatzungen der Luftfahrzeuge gerufen wurden, ging es um das Leben von Verletzten und Verwundeten. Es war ein ständiger Wettkampf gegen die Uhr, um die „golden hour“ – die überlebenswichtigen 60 Minuten vom Auslösen des Notfalls bis in das Feldlazarett – zu schaffen.


„Heideflieger“ willkommen in der Heimat

Viele Gäste und Angehörige sind zum Appell gekommen, um die Soldaten noch einmal offiziell zurück in der Heimat willkommen zu heißen. Oberst Andreas Pfeifer, Kommandeur des Transporthubschrauberregiments 10 „Lüneburger Heide“, zeichnete die Geschichte des Einsatzes für die Gäste nach: „Neben dem eigentlichen Einsatz Ihrer Angehörigen in Afghanistan galt es, auch die lange Abwesenheit während der Einsatzvorbereitung vor dem eigentlichen Einsatz durchzustehen. Dafür danke ich Ihnen ausdrücklich.“ Dies sei der erste Einsatz des neuen Waffensystems NH90 gewesen, betonte Pfeifer: „Sie haben dieses Kapitel geschrieben.“ Fünf Kontingente mit jeweils 65 Soldaten waren im Einsatz dabei, insgesamt mehr als 200 Soldaten. Die Forward-Air-MedEvac-Rotte bestand aus zwei Maschinen – einem MedEvac-Hubschrauber und einem Begleitschutz-Hubschrauber.


Auftrag zu 100 Prozent erfüllt


Major Frank Kuchta war im ersten Kontingent als Schwarmführer dabei. „Schwierig waren die Staublandungen in Afghanistan. Knapp zehn Meter über dem Boden wird man durch den Luftwirbel der Rotoren in eine Staubwolke gehüllt. Dabei gilt es, sich auch ohne Sicht richtig zu orientieren.“ Besonders stolz war seine Crew auf die Erfüllung des Auftrages, alle Startvorgänge innerhalb von 15 Minuten nach Alarmierung einzuhalten, und auf den Zusammenhalt innerhalb der Luftfahrzeugbesatzung: „Wir haben bei Tag teilweise deutlich weniger als 15 Minuten gebraucht. Nachts war die Zeit gerade ausreichend.“


Anspruchsvolle Bedingungen in der Nacht


In der Dunkelheit flogen die Piloten mit Restlichtverstärker-Brillen. Diese Flüge beschreibt der Schwarmführer als deutlich anspruchsvoller als bei guter Sicht am Tage. Sein Bordmechaniker, Oberstabsfeldwebel Klaus Heiselmann, betonte, wie die Soldaten innerhalb der Gemeinschaft jeden Einsatz auswerteten und auch das kritische Wort nicht scheuten, um beim nächsten Flug noch besser zu werden: „Beim Debriefing konnten wir immer alles besprechen und sind da mit einem guten Gefühl rausgegangen.“ Nicht zu vergessen ist neben der Crew auch das technische Personal. Bis zu 16 Stunden am Tag leisteten die Soldaten den technischen Dienst an den Maschinen und machten den Einsatz bei den klimatischen Extrembedingungen in Afghanistan überhaupt erst möglich.


2015: Rettung deutscher Staatsbürger aus Krisenregionen

Für die Heideflieger beginnt schon bald der nächste Auftrag. Im Rahmen von militärischen Evakuierungsoperationen stehen sie zusammen mit den Fallschirmjägern der Division Schnelle Kräfte ab 2015 bereit, um deutsche Staatsbürger aus Krisenregionen zu evakuieren. „Nach dem Einsatz ist vor dem Einsatz“, betonte Oberst Pfeifer und appellierte daran, die Professionalität beizubehalten. Mit dem Gruß der Heideflieger beendete Oberst Pfeifer seinen Appell. Das dreifache „Heideflieger – Hurra“ hallte durch den Hangar in Faßberg. Die Heeresflieger der Division Schnelle Kräfte sind einsatzbereit – jederzeit – weltweit. Ihr Motto lautet: „ONE TEAM – ONE MISSION.“


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France has deployed its NHIndustries NH90 Caïman to Mali

France has deployed its NHIndustries NH90 Caïman to Mali | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

France has deployed its NHIndustries NH90 Caiman helicopters on operations for the first time, with two helicopters arriving in Gao on 3 November to take part in France's Operation 'Barkhane' in Mali.

The helicopters are from the 1er Régiment d'Hélicoptères de Combat, based in Phalsbourg, with the deployment coming less than a year after their entry into service within the Alat (French army light aviation).

The two helicopters arrived in Gao on 3 November after a four day ferry flight. The helicopters made 10 stops and clocked a total of 32 flying hours in the process. The longest branch was from Bamako to Gao, 4 flying hours, most of it being flown close to the deck in a tactical fashion as Mali is considered a war zone by the French authorities.

The NH90s were fitted with three extra fuel tanks (450 kg each) in the cabin for the journey, bringing the total fuel on board at slightly more than three tons. The NH90s were flying at their max gross weight (11 tons), with four crew members and some freight. At an average speed of 130 kt, this configuration gives the NH90 an endurance of five hours.

Coming from Dakar, the two helicopters entered Mali through the border town of Kayes where an Armée de l'Air C-160 Transall transport aircraft, flying out of Niamey, Niger, refuelled them on the ground, providing them each with 1.3 tons of fuel.

Entering Mali, the crew were flying with their flak jacket, guns and ammo. However the FN Mag 58 machine guns, which are due to equip the NH90 in Mali were not mounted on the helicopters yet. After a 24 hrs rest, the NH90 were back in the air to provide the crew with a first taste of the Malian theatre and some training on dusty landing zone in day and night conditions. They are now assigned to the Sous Groupement Aeromobile Hombori VIII, which includes a dozen helicopters (Gazelles, Tigers, Pumas, Cougars and now the NH90).

The NH90 has previously been deployed on operations in Afghanistan by both Germany and Italy.

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Retrofit of New Zealand’s NH90 fleet completed - RNZAF

Retrofit of New Zealand’s NH90 fleet completed - RNZAF | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Members of the NH90 team in New Zealand have a lot to celebrate: They have just completed the retrofit of four NH90 TTH helicopters at the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) operational base in Ohakea.

The purpose of the retrofit was to upgrade the first four NH90s from initial to final configuration. The RNZAF operates a fleet of eight NH90 TTH, four of which were delivered already in the final form. With the retrofit, RNZAF’s current NH90 fleet has reached its final configuration. 

The retrofit was performed between September 2013 and July 2014 at the customer’s premises and following a preparatory phase in France.

The team involved took advantage of the retrofit lay-up period to perform calendar maintenance and to retrofit some spare  parts and an attrition frame.

More than 30 employees from Airbus Helicopters and partner companies, stationed at the Ohakea base, worked hand-in-hand with a network of logistical experts from Airbus Helicopters and its suppliers. The close collaboration of these teams among each other and with the customer was instrumental in completing the retrofit on time.

Similar retrofit programs are underway in other countries, with a total of 10 aircraft having already been completed. Seventeen more NH90s are currently undergoing retrofit at five different locations in France, Italy, Finland, Germany and Australia.

The NH90 retrofit program brings together specialists from different areas, such as configuration, production, engineering, procurement and support, whose transversal collaboration plays a key role in ensuring the success of the upgrades.

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AgustaWestland/Kongsberg sign co-operation agreement - Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul - NH90 / AW101 "NAWSARH"

AgustaWestland/Kongsberg sign co-operation agreement - Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul - NH90 / AW101 "NAWSARH" | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

AgustaWestland has made moves to expand cooperation with Kongsberg for the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of dynamic components for a range of AgustaWestland helicopters, including the NH90 helicopter. The companies have signed a protocol for an overarching agreement outlining intentions to make Kongsberg a Centre of Excellence for MRO of dynamic components in Northern Europe.

The agreement also relates to transfer of technology that includes the establishment of advanced test equipment that will enable the full functional testing of gear boxes at Kongsberg in Norway.

The newly-signed agreement will enable AgustaWestland to satisfy its industrial participation requirements in Norway and the other Nordic countries for NH90. It will also be  a major part of its support solution for the 16 AW101 Norwegian All-Weather SAR Helicopters (NAWSARH) the company is contracted to supply to the Norwegian government. 

Harald Ånnestad, president, Kongsberg Defence Systems, said: ’We are excited that we can grow our helicopter MRO business together with AgustaWestland as a valued partner and we will establish gear box testing capabilities in Kongsberg.’

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Nordic Nations Navigate Hurdles to NH90 Purchases - Nordic Standard Helicopter Program (NSHP)

Nordic Nations Navigate Hurdles to NH90 Purchases - Nordic Standard Helicopter Program (NSHP) | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Nordic nations have struggled with their much-delayed Nordic Standard Helicopter Program (NSHP), especially since capability shortages have appeared since 2010 in combat, troop transport and medical evacuation missions.

Under a $1.3 billion NSHP project agreement reached in 2001, NHIndustries was contracted to deliver 52 twin-engine NH90 utility helicopters to Sweden, Finland and Norway starting in 2004 and 2005. NHIndustries is a European consortium owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5 percent), Italy’s AgustaWestland (32 percent) and Fokker Aerostructures of the Netherlands (5.5 percent).

By the end of 2010, just four NH90s had been delivered to Sweden and Norway. Deliveries were further complicated when the three Nordic customers opted not to purchase a common helicopter type, choosing instead to request customized features prior to delivery.

In the case of Sweden, serial postponements provoked a critical shortage of tactical and transport aircraft for operations in Afghanistan after 2008. The crisis forced the government to allocate special funds to purchase 15 Sikorsky Aircraft UH-60M Black Hawks (HKP16) at a cost of $550 million.

This was envisioned as a stopgap measure to ensure the armed forces had sufficient aircraft available for both domestic and international operations until the NH90s (Swedish Army designation HKP 14) arrived.

The unscheduled Black Hawk acquisition meant that the budget for the Swedish Helicopter Equipment Acquisition Program (HEAP) for 2010-2020 increased from $625 million to almost $1 billion. Under the recast HEAP, the Air Force plans to have full Black Hawk and NH90 fleets operational by 2020.

Sweden ordered 18 NH90s with an option for a further seven under the 2001 NSHP agreement. Finland placed orders for 20 NH90s while Norway’s requirement was 14 helicopters with an option to purchase an additional 10. The NH90 unit purchase cost averaged $25 million.

Under Sweden’s HEAP, the $450 million acquisition budget for the 18 NH90s will rise to $625 billion if the Air Force exercises the option to acquire an additional seven units.


Black Hawks in Action


“There was a very real need to address the operational needs of the Army and enable them to carry out their important missions in Afghanistan with modern and combat-tested helicopters,” said Karin Enström, Sweden’s defense minister. “The investment strengthens the armed forces’ all-weather capacity to operate at home and abroad, and in the most demanding conditions.”

The acquisition of Black Hawks, the first batch of which have supported Swedish troops in Afghanistan since November, has reduced pressure on the Swedish Air Force to meet the need to release combat-ready helicopters for overseas missions, said Joop Alders, a defense analyst based in The Hague.

“The Black Hawks are proving a good all-round capability fit for a Swedish defense organization that is changing to a modular brigade structure,” he said. “This format will have a higher requirement for a battle proven, medium-weight helicopter system.”

The Defense Ministry’s decision to buy Black Hawks followed inconclusive talks with NHIndustries, which was unable to confirm fixed NH90 delivery dates. As a result, the FMV, Sweden’s defense materiel procurement agency, was instructed to open talks with Sikorsky in April 2011.

By May 2011, the FMV had signed an agreement for 15 UH-60Ms through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program.

The $546 million investment includes 34 T700-GE-701D General Electric engines, AN/AAR-57v3 Common Missile Warning Systems, AN/APR-39 radar signal-detecting sets, AN/AVR-2B laser warning sets, aviation mission planning stations, transportable operations simulators; communications equipment, spare parts, repair kits and maintenance support equipment.

Under an accelerated delivery schedule, six Black Hawks were delivered in 2011 and the remaining nine in 2012. The first two HKP 16s (Sweden’s designation for the Black Hawks) were delivered to the Malmen Helicopter Base in mid-December 2011. All 15 Black Hawks are expected to be fully operational by 2017.

“This was an easy decision for us to make. The HKP 16 is a proven system. Over 3,000 Black Hawks have been supplied to various customers in the world,” said FMV’s project manager, Magnus Larsson.

The deal saw Sweden become the first European country to acquire the US Army’s UH-60M model.

The first two HKP 16 Black Hawks entered service in Afghanistan during the first half of 2013, attached to the Swedish military base at Camp Marmal. The HKP 16s supported or replaced Eurocopter AS332/HKP 10B Super Puma helicopters in troop transport, medevac and search-and-rescue (SAR) roles.

Despite the protracted delivery schedule, Sweden plans to complete the NH90 acquisition, which comprises 13 tactical troop transport/SAR and five anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters.


Delay in Norway


Difficulties in securing delivery of the NH90 also limited the Norwegian Defense Force’s ability to maintain a ready supply of modern helicopters for domestic and international missions in 2010 to 2012.

In June 2012, Norway’s MoD signaled that it might cancel the NH90 order and was reported to have contacted Sikorsky regarding a possible accelerated purchase of the MH-60 Seahawk ASW variant as an alternative.

But NHIndustries delivered a second NH90 NFH (NATO frigate variant helicopter) in December 2012, easing the situation. The first was delivered in December 2011.

The ship-borne helicopters will be deployed on the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates and Coast Guard vessels operating off the country’s Arctic northern coast and in the Barents Sea.

The NH90 segment of Norway’s helicopter modernization program will cost $350 million based on 14 units bought, and up to $600 million if the additional 10 are acquired. When fully operational in 2017 to 2018, the NH90 NFHs would fill the role currently executed by the Royal Norwegian Navy’s multirole Bell, Lynx and Sea King SAR aircraft.

Finland, too, has encountered delivery delays in its order of 20 NH90 tactical transport helicopters. The contract, valued at around $500 million, was renegotiated in August.

Under the revised schedule, initial deliveries will be completed by the end of this year, some six years behind schedule. Completion of the full delivery program has been extended to 2018.


Other Deals


Norway continues to invest heavily in its offshore SAR capability. In December, it contracted AgustaWestland to deliver 16 AW101 all-weather SAR helicopters, with deliveries scheduled in 2017 to 2020.

The $1.6 billion deal, which includes life-cycle support, parts and an option for six more aircraft, is intended to provide the Royal Norwegian Air Force with an enhanced SAR capability in High North waters, supporting naval and Coast Guard operations.

Denmark also has been strengthening its heli-capability through a $686 million maritime helicopter replacement program, which will see the Royal Danish Air Force acquire nine Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawks. The aircraft, which will replace Lynx 90B helicopters, are scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2018.

Routed through the US Foreign Military Sales program, the MH-60R acquisition is intended to support the Danish plan to deploy more ship-borne helicopters on vessels operating in Denmark’s Arctic territories, covering the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

“Our objective was to obtain the most capable multimission maritime helicopter. We have achieved this goal. The MH-60R Seahawk is a proven anytime and anywhere aircraft that best suits our needs,” said Maj. Gen. Flemming Lenfter of the Danish Defense Forces project planning department.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

http://www.defmin.fi/files/1226/Administrator_Keijo_Suila_s_report_on_the_Finnish_NH90_procurement_of_1998-2008.pdf

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Australian National Audit Office releases damning report into ADF MRH90 program - NHI/Australian Aerospace

Australian National Audit Office  releases damning report into ADF MRH90 program - NHI/Australian Aerospace | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has released a damning report into the acquisition and service introduction of the NHI/Australian Aerospace MRH90 helicopter which was acquired under Project AIR 9000 Phases 2, 4 & 6.

The acquisition of the MRH90 for all three phases of the project – to acquire an additional squadron of helicopters under Phase 2, to replace the S-70A-9 Black Hawks in service under Phase 4, and to replace Navy’s Sea Kings under Phase 6 – was a key component of the ADF’s Helicopter Strategic Master Plan which sought to reduce the number of helicopter types in ADF service from nine to five, and thus realise greater training, support and sustainment efficiencies.

The report into the $4 billion project revealed that the ADF’s original recommendation to buy 12 new-build Sikorsky S-70M (UH-60M) Black Hawks for Phase 2 and up to 36 new build S-70Ms (or remanufactured S-70A-9s) for Phase 4 in June 2004 was overruled by the then Howard coalition government, despite Sikorsky’s bid being significantly cheaper than Australian Aerospace’s.


The report says the Black Hawk recommendation had the support of the Secretary for Defence, the Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of CDG, the CEO of the DMO, the Chief of Army, and the Chief of Air Force. It said Defence’s recommendation was based on the Black Hawk’s cost advantage, its robust construction, ballistic protection and crashworthiness.

But Defence had also found that the MRH90 would also meet the capability requirement - it considered that it was better marinised for amphibious operations, and that Australian Aerospace’s bid had Australian industry capability advantages.

The report highlights “program development deficiencies and acquisition decisions during the period 2002 to 2006” as the primary causes of the difficulties experienced by the MRH90 program. It says that period included “requirements definition, the source selection process and the establishment of acquisition and sustainment contracts”, and that these crucial stages of program development were not appropriately performed, leading to “serious and potentially long‑term consequences for capability delivery and Commonwealth expenditure.” It said the the maturity of the MRH90 and S-70M Black Hawk aircraft designs had not been properly assessed.

With the acquisition of MRH90, the S-70A-9 Black Hawk fleet which was built in the 1980s was to have been withdrawn between January 2011 and December 2013. But the withdrawal didn’t commence until January 2014, and is now not scheduled to be completed until June 2018. The original project schedule called for Final Operational Capability (FOC) of 46 MRH90s to be achieved in July 2014, but this now not expected to be realised until April 2019, a delay of nearly five years.

The report says the extended concurrent operations of both the Black Hawk and MRH90 fleets has led to “significant problems for funding of Army aviation” leading to likely “compromises to levels of capability,” and also identifies the capability gap experienced by Navy since its Sea Kings were retired in 2011.

Some positives from the report include the results from a series of trials conducted aboard HMAS Choules in 2012 which showed the MRH90 has impressive handling over the deck and showed considerable potential for embarked operations. Defence says the MRH90 has shown that it has the “potential to offer greater capability in some areas than the Black Hawk and the Sea King,” and that “Defence continues to adjust operational tactics, techniques and procedures to account for the differences between the platforms.”

The report says that by March 2014 more than $2.4 billion had been spent on the program, and that 27 MRH90s had been delivered. It highlighted that the program was running more than four years behind schedule, with the first operational capability milestones for both the Army and the Navy yet to be achieved.

It said “considerable work remains to implement and verify some design changes, and to adjust operational tactics, techniques and procedures, in order to develop an adequate multi‑role helicopter capability for Army and Navy operations.” These design changes include the self-defence gun system, cabin seating and cargo hook, all of which needed to “overcome significant operational deficiencies.” It said operational test and evaluation was yet to validate any of the 11 operational capability milestones set by the Army and Navy.

Christian Albrecht's insight:

The report can be read here: 


https://www.dropbox.com/s/ne803yl9it0ymol/AuditReport_2013-2014_52.pdf



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RNLAF NH90 NFH FIRST FULL FLIGHT DEMO - LUCHTMACHTDAGEN 2014

21st of June 2014: Gilze-Rijen Airbase - Dutch Air Force Days

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The Netherlands suspends acceptance of NH90's - NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH)

The Netherlands suspends acceptance of NH90's - NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

The Netherlands has suspended further deliveries of NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) aircraft destined for the Dutch armed forces due to corrosion issues.  

The Dutch MoD announced on 27 June that it had asked the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) to suspend further deliveries due to the excessive levels of corrosion.

Christian Albrecht's insight:
http://www.defensie.nl/binaries/defensie/documenten/rapporten/2014/06/27/nlr-rapport-over-corrosie-nh90/NLR_rapport_over_corrosie_NH-90.pdf
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NHIndustries plans 'simplified' NH90 for future customers - Product Conference - HFlgWaS Bückeburg

NHIndustries plans 'simplified' NH90 for future customers - Product Conference - HFlgWaS Bückeburg | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Complexity has been the hallmark of the NH90 helicopter programme virtually from the outset. Its 13 customers – a total that includes one nation still working through a contract reduction and another looking to cancel its order entirely – have so far ordered 26 distinct variants of the 10.6t rotorcraft.

The unnecessarily sprawling nature of the programme, coupled with the three-way NH Industries consortium comprising Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland and Fokker and its six production sites, have all contributed to a programme that at times appeared to be lurching from crisis to crisis.

However, as the company marks delivery of the 200th example – a troop transport TTH model for the Belgian air force – and successful deployments to Afghanistan, it appears to have turned a corner. Now it is looking to simplify its offering to potential customers while additionally proposing upgrades and ensuring in-service support.

Speaking on 23 June at an operators’ conference at Bückeburg air base near Hanover, Vincent Dubrule, president of NHI, said it is now proposing “a unique but flexible configuration of the NH90”.


The new baseline helicopter would be no less capable than those already delivered, says Dubrule, but would allow potential operators to “plug in whatever equipment they want” without the need to “restart from scratch” on every different model.

It is likely to make its debut with Qatar, which is currently in negotiations with NHI for an order for up to 22 examples: 12 TTHs and 10 of the NFH naval variant.

“The configuration...will start with them. We will base [it] on what [Qatar] wants but we can descope it or rescope it for other prospects,” he says.

Those negotiations are progressing, says Dubrule, with the aim of finalising the contract by the end of the year. Deliveries would then start in 2017-2018.

Dubrule says that with operators having flown around 50,000h and the programme having reached the 200th delivery milestone, the NH90 is approaching its mature phase.

“It is a step and now we deliver [mainly] final configuration helicopters – it is not a development or [initial operating capability] helicopter,” he says.

Last year, NHI delivered 50 aircraft and will maintain a similar level of production in 2014 as it tackles the over 300 NH90s still in its backlog. At this rate – and with future customers still to come – final assembly work stretches to at least 2020, says Dubrule.

Now, however, it is focused on sustaining those rotorcraft already delivered and “working with customers” to improve fleet availability and solve “some teething issues they have”.

Additionally, NHI is consulting with its operator base over potential enhancements to the helicopter. Ideally, these would be requested by multiple nations in order to spread development costs, he says.

Peter Harris, NHI's head of customer satisfaction, says possible requirements so far have included improvements to the type’s electro-optical sensors and data links enhanced to the Link 22 standard. Additional battlefield-wide communications systems to improve interoperability with both special forces and unmanned air vehicles may also be needed, he adds.

However, he says, the performance of the NH90 and its engines are seen as a “strong point” by operators, particularly in the hot and high conditions of Afghanistan.


So far, two nations – Italy and Germany – have deployed the type to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission there.

Lt Col Kai Eggert was a squadron leader when the German army last year sent four TTHs to Mazar-e-Sharif to operate in a forward medical evacuation role. The aircraft have logged 900h in theatre, he says, with pilots generally full of praise for the NH90.

“We were pretty convinced and surprised by the amount of support the aircraft provides to the pilot,” he says. “The feedback was all in all very positive but some things needed to be improved, for instance the environmental control system.

“Our complaints have been taken into account very seriously and within less than three months those issues have been solved and those parts that needed improvement have been replaced,” he says..

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NHIndustries Produkt Konferenz- Meilenstein 200. NH90 Auslieferung - Belgische Luftwaffe

NHIndustries Produkt Konferenz- Meilenstein 200. NH90 Auslieferung - Belgische Luftwaffe | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Bückeburg. Alle Nationen, die den Mehrzweckhubschrauber NH90 im Einsatz haben, geben sich derzeit ein Stelldichein an der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule in Bückeburg, die ab Juli 2015 als Internationales Ausbildungszentrum firmieren wird. Im Mittelpunkt der von „NHIndustries“ veranstalteten „Product Conference“ steht der Erfahrungsaustausch der Nationen, die den NH90 bereits im Einsatz haben: neben Deutschland, Frankreich und Italien auch die Niederlande, Schweden, Finnland, Norwegen und Griechenland, aber auch Australien, Neuseeland oder Oman. Am Nachmittag wurde außerdem das 200. Exemplar der NH90 offiziell an die belgische Luftwaffe übergeben. Weitere 300 hat NHI derzeit noch in den Orderbüchern stehen, wie Vincent Dubrule, Präsident von NHI bei der Übergabe sagte: „Ein großer Schritt für unser Unternehmen.“ Dann übergab er ein Modell der NH90 an Major Johan Vangenechten von den belgischen Streitkräften, denn: „Einen Schlüssel gibt es nicht.“ Am Morgen waren die rund 200 Teilnehmer vom Kommandeur der Heeresfliegerwaffenschule und General der Heeresflieger, Brigadegeneral Alfons Mais, in Bückeburg begrüßt worden. Er wünschte den Teilnehmern eine gute Konferenz und einen schönen Aufenthalt in Bückeburg.

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NHI delivers the 200th NH90 helicopter - TTH - Belgian Air Force - Annual NH90 Product Conference - Bückeburg

NHI delivers the 200th NH90 helicopter - TTH - Belgian Air Force - Annual NH90 Product Conference - Bückeburg | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

NHI celebrated the 200th NH90 helicopter delivery.

The 200th NH90, a TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) variant, was delivered officially to Belgian Defence and will be operated from Beauvechain Air Force Base by the 1st Wing. The handover ceremony took place during the annual NH90 Product Conference being held this year at the German Army Aviation School in Bückeburg, where the whole NH90 community of users and industry is gathered to share their experiences.


“In the name of NHI and its partner companies, I am really honoured to deliver this NH90 TTH to Belgium. With this versatile, safe and interoperable aircraft, NHI is proud to contribute to the enhancement of Belgian Defence capabilities”, said Vincent Dubrule, President of NHIndustries at the ceremony.
“This 200th delivery is the result of the efforts of industry to ramp up the delivery rate of the NH90 since this new generation helicopter is in high demand by its end users” Dubrule added.


The NH90 Product Conference took place for the first time at the German Army Aviation School, Bückeburg, near Hanover.

“This School, with its 14 full flight mission simulators is the most modern Army Helicopter Training School in Europe, it is able to train pilots and crews on several types of new generation helicopters such as the NH90 and EC135” declares Col Baumgärtner Public Relations Officer of the Army Aviation School.

This facility will become the “International Helicopter training Centre” in July 2015 when it will start to train foreign military helicopter aircrews as well as continuing to train German flight and maintenance crews.

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NH90 NFH - Helicopter In Flight Refuelling - Royal Netherlands Navy

NH90 NFH - Helicopter In Flight Refuelling - Royal Netherlands Navy | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it
Helicopter In Flight Refuelling #HIFR #NH90 pic.twitter.com/i47eWNAxZs
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RNZAF NH90 and A109 at EX BLACKBIRD

Exercise Blackbird is the RNZAF's annual helicopter mountain flying exercise. This year saw the NH-90 participating in the exercise for the first time.

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Royal New Zealand Air Force receives final NH90 helo

Royal New Zealand Air Force receives final NH90 helo | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has received into service the last of eight operational NHIndustries NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTHs) it ordered in 2006, the defence force announced on 31 October.

The final helicopter arrived at Base Ohakea on North Island on the same day as the announcement, joining the other NH90s being used for search and rescue (SAR), disaster relief, troop transport, and cargo resupply duties.

Having selected the NH90 in March 2005 to replace its ageing fleet of Bell UH-1H 'Huey' helicopters, New Zealand signed a NZD770 million (USD600 million) contract for nine helicopters on 31 July 2006. Only eight of these are to be used operationally, with the ninth being held for spares.

Deliveries began on 7 December 2011 when the first pair of helicopters arrived at Base Ohakea on board an Antonov An-124 'Condor' airlifter. In February 2013, the NH90 completed the first phase of its operational testing and evaluation, enabling it to undertake some operational tasking.

On 28 March 2014 the Helicopter Transition Unit, which currently flies the NH90, celebrated reaching 1,000 flying hours. With all the NH90s now in place, the RNZAF will step up the retirement of the 10 UH-1Hs remaining in its inventory, with 3 Squadron transitioning over to the new type.

Air mobility support capabilities for the RNZAF's NH90s have already been released, enabling both day and night flying (including instrument flight rules), operating with night-vision goggles, daytime formation flying, winching, carrying underslung loads, and basic troop airlift.

The NH90's final release of capability is scheduled for the last quarter of 2015, with SAR and advanced SAR, fast roping and rappelling, and limited embarked operations being released by this milestone. As the smallest operator, New Zealand has become the first customer to receive into service all of its NH90s.

COMMENT

Like all NH90 customers, New Zealand has suffered from programme delays caused in large part by the many different configurations of the helicopter that are being developed (there are actually more versions of the NH90 than there are customers).

New Zealand has tried to avoid this pitfall by opting for a configuration that is very similar to its chief operating partner, Australia. The RNZAF's platforms come with an additional fifth multifunction display unit, RT-1851 ARC-210 radios, wet deck for the cabin, and RNZAF manufactured floor load spreaders to help prevent damage from boots and cargo (or similar).

Even so, deliveries to the RNZAF have been subject to some delay; they were originally due to be completed in late 2013.

With the programme now back on track, the RNZAF will have an extremely capable successor to its 1960s-vintage UH-1H platforms. As well as performing the overland mission of the UH-1H, the NH90 will also be embarked with the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). To this end, trials have already taken place aboard the amphibious support ship HMNZS Canterbury .

An upgrade plan is already in place, with enhanced communications as well as navigation and surveillance (CNS) and air traffic management (ATM) improvements being earmarked for the platform.

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Airbus Helicopters offers robust defence of NH90

Airbus Helicopters has defended the NH Industries NH90 military rotorcraft following recent criticism from both the Dutch and Australian governments, describing the issues they raise as "under control".

The Netherlands in June suspended further deliveries of the NFH naval variant of the helicopter until a persistent corrosion issue is solved. And the Australian National Audit Office in late July issued a stinging report into the performance of the 11t rotorcraft in operation with its armed forces.

But Dr Wolfgang Schoder, executive vice-president light and governmental programmes at Airbus Helicopters, which has a majority stake in the NHI consortium, says the NH90 is "a mature helicopter" which is "being delivered according to our contracts".

The corrosion issue, he says, is being taken seriously "but we think we have it under control". It will roll out both corrective and preventative measures to address the issues, he says. For instance, operators are being advised of more stringent cleaning and inspection regimes, plus some "minor changes to the design" will be introduced.

"Some materials which are used are not appropriate and we will correct that," says Schoder.

"You always foresee [some corrosion] on a naval helicopter, but it is very difficult to avoid it 100%. You have to bring it to a level that's manageable, but we should have been prepared better for that," he says.

Schoder also heads up Airbus Helicopters's German operation, which, assuming parliamentary approval is given, will begin delivering NH90s to the German navy from 2018.

Any "teething problems" will be solved by then, he adds, having been worked through by early customers, notably the French and Dutch.

Australia's MRH90 troop transports are also showing improvement, he says, noting that as "the number of flying hours" increases, costs per hour are coming down.

He stops short of dismissing the ANAO report entirely, but says it is "based on very old information".

"We have very clear availability KPIs defined with Australia to measure it and we are exchanging all the data. There is no concern from my side that we are not on the right track."

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Arrival of 9th ΝΗ-90 TGRA at Megara LGMG Army Airport

Arrival of 9th ΝΗ-90 TGRA at Megara LGMG Army Airport | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it
Το ένατο Ε/Π ΝΗ-90 TGRA ΕΣ 841, προσγειώθηκε στις 16:21 της 29ης Ιουλίου 2014 στο Α/Δ Πάχης  Μεγάρων (LGMG) προερχόμενο απο το Marignan της Γαλλίας με πλήρωμα Γάλλων  της κατασκευάστριας εταιρείας....

Via Jhon Casabetis
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NH90 ForwardAirMedEvac – Neun Zeilen bis zur Rettung aus der Luft

NH90 ForwardAirMedEvac – Neun Zeilen bis zur Rettung aus der Luft | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Zwei Hubschrauber NH90 stehen startbereit auf dem Vorfeld des Faßberger Fliegerhorstes. Die Triebwerke und Rotoren laufen schon auf vollen Touren. Es sieht aus, als würden sie jeden Moment abheben. Doch zwei Personen fehlen noch. Es ist der Kommandant des ersten und der Notarzt aus dem zweiten Hubschrauber. Beide sitzen im Gefechtsstand und schreiben konzentriert den „Nine-Liner“ mit, den ihnen der Einsatzoffizier diktiert. Diese neunzeilige Anforderung von der Truppe im Kampfgebiet bildet für sie die Grundlage für den Rettungseinsatz aus der Luft.


Notarzt und Hubschrauberkommandant wiederholen die neun Bestandteile der Meldung. Alles ist richtig verstanden und in das Formular eingetragen. Jetzt ist keine Zeit mehr zu verlieren. Zügig, aber ohne Hast, verlassen beide den Gefechtsstand in Richtung der zwei Hubschrauber. Hier werden sie bereits von den Bordmechanikern erwartet. Sie helfen den Männern beim Anlegen ihrer Ausrüstung und Schutzwesten. Dann werden mittels Bordsprechanlage alle Besatzungsmitglieder über den Inhalt des Nine-Liners informiert. Jetzt kann es losgehen. Ein kleiner Ruck und die Hubschrauber rollen über den Taxi Way zur Rollbahn. Sekunden später heben die Maschinen ab. Ihre Mission: Verwundete Kameraden aus der Kampfzone herausholen und schnellstens in ein Feldlazarett fliegen.


Landung in der Kampfzone

Das Kernstück einer Forward Air MedEvac-Rotte bildet der eigentliche MedEvac-Hubschrauber. Dieser NH90 ist als „Fliegender Notarztwagen“ mit modernster Intensiv-Medizintechnik ausgerüstet: Patientenüberwachungsmonitore, Beatmungsgeräte, Pumpspritzeninjektoren, Ultraschallgerät, Blutgasanalysegeräte und Antischockhosen. Mit dem Intensivmedizin-Equipment ist der NH90 FAM sowohl für die qualifizierte Erstrettung in ein Feldlazarett, als auch für die mögliche Folgeverlegung in eine intensivmedizinisch höherwertige Sanitätseinrichtung ausgestattet.


Beschützer in der Luft

Der zweite NH90 der Rotte, der Sicherungs- und Escort-Hubschrauber – auch „Chase“ genannt – überwacht mit bodennahen Flugmanövern, um bei Gefahr durch Feindkräfte die FAM-Rettung und das Ausfliegen durch gezieltes Niederhalten mit den zwei Maschinengewehren zu sichern. Neben dem Bordmechaniker ergänzen hier anstatt des Sanitätspersonals zwei Bordschützen die Besatzung. Sie bedienen ein schweres Maschinengewehr M3M, Kaliber 12,7 Millimeter, auf der einen sowie ein Maschinengewehr MG 3, Kaliber 7,62 Millimeter, auf der anderen Seite. Diese MG's sind auf speziellen Lafetten montiert, die einen genau begrenzten Schwenkbereich haben, um keine Beschädigungen am eigenen Fluggerät zu verursachen.


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The curious case of the MRH90 helicopter - Australian Defence Force - NHIndustries/Australian Aerospace

The curious case of the MRH90 helicopter - Australian Defence Force - NHIndustries/Australian Aerospace | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Last week saw the release of the latest Australian National Audit Office report into defence acquisitions. In the firing line this time is the multi-role helicopter program. Like most audit reports, the ANAO has carefully unpacked the process behind this troubled acquisition—now over four years late and, like many other audited projects, well ensconced on the projects of concern list.

But unlike most audit reports, there’s a big gap in this one. The ANAO reports that the Howard government’s decision to acquire the European-sourced MRH90 rather than the American S-70M Black Hawk was taken against the advice provided from Defence. Because those deliberations are covered by Cabinet confidentiality, we can’t be sure why that was the case. My suspicion is that the deciding factor was the prospect of greater Australian industry involvement in the European bid.

But even without the missing data there’s plenty of meat in this report. As I’ve written previously, the background is the early 2000s Defence helicopter rationalisation plan. The idea behind the plan was to reduce the number of types of helicopters in the ADF’s inventory in order to reduce the overall cost of ownership. Each new type brings with it a new set of fixed costs and a new supply chain, so rationalisation made good sense. If the Army and Navy could have helicopters with a high degree of commonality and shared supply chains, it’d cut down the overall cost. So far, so good.

Now fast forward to the present day, and we find the Navy is in the process of taking delivery of 24 new Romeo model Seahawk combat helicopters from the United States, while the Army continues to operate its Black Hawks as DMO and the contractor (Australian Aerospace, a subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters) try to get the MRH90s up to speed. Moreover, Army has a strong preference for retaining the Black Hawk for the counter-terrorism role. (That’s long been the case and the audit report notes the same preference as early as 2004.) In other words, despite considerable investment of time and money, little rationalisation has been achieved. Rather than a Seahawk/Black Hawk fleet, or one based on a combination of Airbus land and marine helicopters, we’ll have variants of each for the foreseeable future.

The root cause of the problem seems to have been a combination of government’s willingness to weigh industry involvement highly in its selection criteria and Defence’s inability to provide an accurate picture of the maturity and costs of the respective bids. Defence’s preference for the Black Hawk was based on its assessment that it offered superior battlefield protection and robustness, although the MRH90 was judged to be ahead for amphibious work. But it didn’t manage to put forward a case robust enough to convince the government that the capability differential outweighed other factors. As the ANAO notes:

Defence was not positioned to readily identify areas in need of developmental work for the respective aircraft, and to confidently inform ministers on the respective strengths and weaknesses of the proposals.

That wasn’t the only problem with the submission that went forward to government—the costing data was shaky as well. The proffered costs showed the Black Hawks to be $275 million less expensive to acquire, but with an estimated $10 million per year greater operating cost:

The submission also included estimated support costs, but with low confidence. An additional squadron of MRH90 aircraft was estimated to cost $60 million per annum and a squadron of S-70M aircraft $70 million per annum.

That should’ve been a red flag—the acquisition and support costs for major platforms both tend to be driven by system complexity, and manufacturer claims that through-life costs will be lower for a more expensive machine should be regarded with great suspicion. In this case, the ‘low confidence’ figures weren’t robust enough for sensible decision making (and were almost certainly wrong). Of course, responsibility needs to be shared here; the government took the decision despite the admitted poor quality of the cost data.

In an unusual step, the ANAO doesn’t make any recommendations in this report. Instead it notes (Exec Summary paragraph 51) that Defence has the right management processes in place to do what’s necessary to inform government decision making—it just failed to implement them properly in this instance. Of course, there’s a lot more to this story, and interested readers should read at least the summary of the ANAO report. I’ll let them have the last word:

If there was just one lesson to learn from the history of Defence acquisition projects, it would be the need to be respectful of the inherent risks in these complex transactions and not over-confident that they are under control. … Defence was on the back foot from the start in its ability to confidently offer advice, in not having a sound understanding of the requirements or the estimated costs, and has been endeavouring to recover ever since, with mixed success.

 


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Lebensretter in Afghanistan - NH90 ForwardAirMedEvac übt den Ernstfall - ISAF - MeS - OAMS - Camp Marmal

Eine Übung des Forward Air Medevac NH-90 in Masar-i Scharif, Afghanistan. 
Spätestens 15 Minuten nach Alarmierung muss der Hubschrauber abheben. Dann fliegt er mit 300 km/h seinem Einsatzort entgegen, teilweise nur wenige Meter über den Boden.
Nach Aufnahme der Verwundeten hebt der NH-90 nach nur wenigen Minuten wieder ab. Während der gesamten Zeit wird er von einem weiteren NH-90 mit zwei Maschinengewehren gesichert.

Quelle: Zentralredaktion der Bundeswehr
Kamera und Redaktion: EKT MeS
14Z18701
06/14

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Australian National Audit Office blames design, contract issues for MRH90 delays - Australian Defence Force

Australian National Audit Office blames design, contract issues for MRH90 delays - Australian Defence Force | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

Contractual and design issues around the Australian Defence Force's (ADF's) fleet of MHR90 multirole helicopters have delayed the anticipated date of final operational capability (FOC) by nearly five years, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has disclosed.

In a report released on 25 June the ANAO said FOC for the 46-strong MRH90 fleet - 27 of which had been delivered as of May 2014 - was now scheduled for April 2019, 57 months later than the original estimate.

The report added that the "difficulties experienced by the MRH90 Program are primarily a consequence of program development deficiencies and acquisition decisions during the period 2002 to 2006."

The MRH90 is being acquired under Project Air 9000 at a budgeted cost of AUD4.013 billion (USD3.73 billion) to replace as a composite fleet the army's 35 S-70A9 Blackhawks and six now-retired Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sea Kings.

As part of an agreement in May 2013 covering disputed programme issues, a 47th MRH90 is being supplied by prime contractor Australian Aerospace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters, at no additional cost. This will be used as a live training aid for army and navy aviation technicians.

Design of the MRH90 (the Australian designation for the NH Industries NH90) had proven to be more developmental than expected at source selection, the ANAO report stated. Many key capability requirements were not included in the acquisition contract signed in 2006, leaving the DoD without contractual remedies for related shortfalls.

"Considerable work remains to implement and verify some design changes, and to adjust operational tactics, techniques, and procedures, in order to develop an adequate multirole helicopter capability for army and navy operations," the report said.

A large number of aircraft design issues had impacted the achievement of capability milestones. As of April 2014, the MRH90 self-defence gun system, cabin seating and cargo hook were being redesigned to overcome significant operational deficiencies.

Low aircraft reliability, maintainability, and flying rate of effort had also adversely affected aircrew training, and capability schedules.

Australian Military Type Certification was received in April 2013, 53 months later than originally scheduled. The army's first airmobile capability was scheduled for September 2014, a delay of 41 months, while the first operational capability for the RAN's aircraft was currently 45 months late.

Operational test and evaluation was yet to validate any of the 11 operational capabilities set by the two services, the report said.

However, in April 2014 the ANAO was told by the Department of Defence (DoD) that the MRH90 had shown the potential to offer greater capability in some areas than the Blackhawk and the Sea King, and operational tactics, techniques, and procedures were being adjusted to account for the differences between the platforms.

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Aircraft Self Protection Research - NH90

In 2013, NLR was closely involved in risk reduction of NH90 operations in potentially hostile environment. Mission areas in which Royal Netherlands Air Force and Royal Netherlands Navy aircraft operate can be hazardous. A well aimed shot from an automatic weapon or an engagement by a heat-seeking or radar-guided missile may cause severe or catastrophic damage to an aircraft and even casualties. NLR conducts so-called CATCH trials, commissioned by the Ministry of Defence. During these trials, risk reducing technical and tactical countermeasures for both helicopter and aircraft crews are evaluated. The 17th CATCH trial was conducted last year. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the NH90 helicopter, as it too must be able to deploy safely in potentially hostile areas.

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NHI looks to standardise NH90 programme - Product Conference - Communicate to Advance

NHI looks to standardise NH90 programme - Product Conference - Communicate to Advance | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

With the NH90 programme hampered by the vast number of different variants being produced since its inception, NHIndustries is looking to develop a single standard for future customers

as it marks its 200 delivery of an NH90 medium helicopter.

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NHI delivers the 200th NH90 helicopter - TTH - Belgian Air Force - Annual NH90 Product Conference - Bückeburg

NHI delivers the 200th NH90 helicopter - TTH - Belgian Air Force - Annual NH90 Product Conference - Bückeburg | NHIndustries - NH90 | Scoop.it

From left to right: Col Vandzande, Belgian Armed Forces;

Luigi Cereti, Managing Director of NHIndustries;

Vincent Dubrule, President of NHIndustries


“The NH90 program is now reaching its maturity phase with more than 50.000 flight hours logged in service in the most demanding conditions” declares Luigi Cereti, Managing Director of NHIndustries.

“The NH90 program is of great importance to Belgium as it will maintain our SAR service, provide an enlarged range of missions in support of the Navy and for the first time give us the ability to perform tactical troop transport missions. Furthermore, by joining this international program, Belgium is improving its helicopter interoperability” said Col Vandezande, Head of the NH90 program for Belgian Armed Forces.


“The delivery of this third NH90 TTH today enables us to progress from initial training to the Operational Training and Evaluation phase” added Col Vandezande.

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