Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
EUR€26 million (USD$30 million)
Also Known As: HKP14, MRH90 Taipan and NH90 Caiman
Airbus Helicopters 63%, Leonardo Helicopters 32%, NH Industries* and Stork 6% (*) lead contractor
Parent System: NH90
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Family Members: NH90 NFH
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Description: The NH90 helicopter is a twin-engine, medium-weight helicopter designed to perform tactical transport and naval operations. The NH90 helicopter meets the joint requirements of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal (joining the program in 2001). It will replace current UH-1, Puma/Cougar, Lynx, and Sea King helicopters. The NH90 program is managed by the NH Industries consortium comprising Eurocopter (62.5%), Agusta (32%) and Stork Fokker (5.5%). The NH90 helicopter airframe is made extensively with composite materials and the helicopter design features modularity and sub-systems integration. The whole aircraft meets high reliability, ease of maintenance, and low ownership costs criteria. Thanks to its advanced characteristics the NH90 will be able to operate day/night, in all-weather conditions, and heavy countermeasures environments. The NH90 design has been optimized for operation well into the 21st century providing growth to accommodate future sub-systems, equipment and improvements.
The NH90 helicopter design also includes low radar signature and a crash-resistant fuselage to provide a better survivability on the battlefield. This helicopter can also be powered by two different powerplants the RTM322 or the T700-T6E engines. To date, the NH90 helicopter has been ordered by France (27), Germany (80+54), Italy (136+1), the Netherlands (20), Finland (20), Sweden (18+7), Norway (14+10), Portugal (10), and Greece (20+14). The total number of helicopters ordered to date, options included, is 411. The helicopters ordered by Finland will be assembled locally by Patria. All in, up to 50 NH90 helicopters will be assembled by Patria through 2011 in accordance with an agreement signed between NH Industries and Patria in 2001.
The NH90 TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) helicopter has been designed to perform tactical transport for both personnel and material, search and rescue, medical evacuation, special operations, electronic warfare, airborne command and control C2, and paratroopers drop missions. The NH90 TTH has optimized radar, infrared and acoustic signatures. The NH90 TTH helicopter will be equipped with FLIR, weather radar, digital map, obstacle warning system, cable cutters, armored pilot seats, defensive weapons suite, and active/passive countermeasures. It will feature an optional rear loading ramp to accommodate a lightweight vehicle inside the helicopter.
On 29 August 2003, Greece ordered 20 firm order NH90 helicopters valued at 657 million Euros plus options on 14 additional aircraft. Greece will take delivery of 16 configured as tactical transport helicopters (TTHs) and four as special operations helicopters. The options include 12 TTHs and two special operations helicopters. The Greek NH90s were slated for delivery begining in 2005 and ending in 2010.
On 24 July 2004, NH Industries of France and the Ministry of Defense of Oman signed a procurement contract for 20 NH90 tactical transport/battlefield helicopters in Muscat. The helicopters are intended for operation by the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) performing tactical transport, search and rescue and other military missions. The procurement contract between Oman and NH Industries also includes associated equipment and services as well as enhanced power plants adapted for the extreme flight conditions of the Middle East. The RAFO will achieve initial operational capability with the NH90 by 2008.
On August 31, 2004, the Australian Ministry for Defense selected the NH90 tactical transport helicopter to meet the Air 9000 program requirements. The Australian Army will receive 12 NH90s, called the MRH90, helicopters that will be assembled in Australia along with Eurocopter's Tiger ARH attack helicopters ordered in 2001. The MRH90 contract between the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation and Australian Aerospace, a Eurocopter subsidiary, was signed in Canberra on June 2, 2005. Deliveries were planned to begin in 2005 and continue through 2009. Eight aircraft were anticipated to be assembled locally at Australian Aerospace facility in Brisbane. The MRH90 squadron will be based at Townsville.
The German government signed a 488 million Euro private finance initiative program for the NH90 helicopter training on 20 January 2005. Helicopter Flight Training Services GmbH (HFTS) was awarded to provide training in industry-owned training centers. HFTS consortium, based in Hallbergmoos, Germany, consists of CAE, Eurocopter, Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and Thales each having 25 percent stake. Three training centers homing dedicated simulators were planned to be established in support of German NH90s. The first center was expected to enter service in 2008 and will perform training operations through 2022.
The high cabin NH90 version ordered by the Swedish Armed Forces made its maiden flight on 18 March 2005 at Eurocopter's plant in Marignane, France. The Swedish NH90 variant offers 24 additional centimeters of cabin height, from 1.58 m to 1.82 m, meant to provide a more comfortable flight environment.
The New Zealand Air Force selected the NH90 helicopter on 5 April 2005 to replace its aging fleet of Iroquois helicopters. Delivery date, number of helicopters and program costs were delayed pending of final negotiations between NH Industries and the New Zealand government. The final agreement included 8 NH90s to provide 8 operational helicopters to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). The order was signed in Wellington on July 31, 2006.
On 20 May 2005, the Spanish government ordered the NH90 multi-purpose helicopter to revamp its armed forces rotary wing aircraft fleet. A first batch consisting of 45 helicopters was announced. It was assumed that those 45 helicopters were going to be delivered in the tactical transport helicopter configuration.
On 13 July 2005, the first NH90 assembled by Patria in Finland, named KH-202, successfully conducted its maiden flight in Halli, Jämsä. The flight lasted for over 65 minutes and was performed by Eurocopter's flight test crew. On 25 July 2005, the first NH90 ordered by Greece took to the air for a 95 minutes flight.
The government of Belgium officially launched the acquisition procedure for 10 NH90 multi-role helicopters for its Armed Forces on December 13, 2005. The acquisition and support activities were established through NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA).
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