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NHIndustries NH90
Heer 78+02 RNethAF N-228
RNethAF N-234 RNethAF N-277
N-110 NHIndustries NH90-NFH-MOC l/n NNLN03 c/n 1110 - RNethAF 7 Squadron - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 11 June 2010 Groningen Airport Eeld (GRQ)

The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-weight multi-role utility two engine helicopter, developed in two main variants: TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) and NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter). The NH90 accommodates 2 pilots (and possible a sensor operator on NFH) and 20 troops or 12 stretchers with medics in its military role. The NH90 features a 4-bladed main rotor with blades made from composite materials and the hub from titanium and a 4-bladed tail rotor assembly. The helicopter is powered by 2 Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RRTM322-01/9, or two General Electric /Fiat Avio T700/T6E1 turbo-shaft engines. The NH90-NFH variant is primarily designed for autonomous Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) missions. The comprehensive mission equipment packages allow a wide range of additional missions to be performed including Search and Rescue (SAR), maritime patrol, vertical replenishment, troop transport, medical evacuation and amphibious support roles. The helicopter is designed for day and night operations in adverse weather conditions from the decks of ships. Due to its weight and dimensions, the deck-lock system, the deck traversing system and the automatic blade and tail folding system, it can operate from small frigates even in high sea states. The NH90-TTH's primary role is that of tactical transport ie moving troops and supplies around. It can also be configured for more specialist roles such as Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). Up to 20 troops or 12 stretchers can be carried in the NH90-TTHs cabin. Small tactical vehicles such Supacat ATMPs can be carried, with access via a hydraulic rear ramp. Up to 2500kg of cargo can be carried onboard.

In the early 1980s a European multinational development program was initiated for a new multi-purpose transport and naval helicopter, intended to replace the Bell UH-1 Huey, Aerospatiale Puma, Westland Lynx, and Westland Sea King. In 1991, the project was known as the NH90 Europan Transport Helicopter. The program was formally initiated in August 1992, with the establishment of the NHIndustries (NHI) for the development and production of the NH90. Countries participating in the project were France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Norway became a "risk-sharing partner" in 1994. Portugal joined the group on 21 June 2001. The NHIndustries consortium is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence in France. Four Partner Companies sharing the Development, Production and In Service Support of the NH90 Programme are: AgustaWestland (Italy) 32.00%, Eurocopter (France) 31.25% and Eurocopter Deutschland (Germany) 31.25% ( both belonging to EADS Group) and STORK Fokker Aerospace (The Netherlands) 5.50%. On 1 September 1992, NH Industries signed a NH90 design-and-development contract with NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency). Design work on the NH90 started in 1993, with the first three prototypes built in Marignane in France. The first prototype: NH-90-TTH PT001 (F-ZWTH), flew first on 18 December 1995; the second prototype NH-90-NFH PT002 (F-ZWTI), flew first on 19 March 1997 and the third prototype, NH-90 TTH PT003 (F-ZWTJ) flew first on 27 November 1998. Prototype four NH-90 TTH PT004 was built in Gemany and flew first as 98+90 on 31 May 1999. Prototype five NH-90 NFH PT005 was built in Italy and flew first as MMX-613 on 22 December 1999. The Industrialization and first batch Production contract for 243 NH90 plus 55 options was signed on 30 June 2000 between NHIndustries and NAHEMA on behalf of the French, German, Dutch, and Italian Ministries of Defense (MoD). Today, a total of 529 firm orders have been placed by 18 armed forces in 13 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Spain and Sweden.

On 30 June 2000, the Netherlands ordered 20 NH90 NFH's to replace the Westland Lynx SH-14D helicopters in service with the Marine Luchtvaartdienst. Changed needs led to a revised requirement and the order was changed to 12 fully-equipped NH90 NFHs and eight NH90 TNFHs (Transport NATO Frigate Helicopter). On 23 December 2009, the first NH90-NFH was handover to the Netherlands military. This NH90-NFH is offered in a temporary MOC (Meaningful Operational Capable) configuration. This means that not all contractual specifications of the final version meets, but already can be used for such education, training and coastguard duties. This handover, which took place at AgustaWestland’s facility in Italy, allowed the NH90-NFH-COM to undergo acceptance trials by military personnel. On 17 May 2010, almost ten years after the order was placed, the NH90-NFH-COM N-110 (c/n 1110/NNLN03) was as first Dutch NH90 official handed over to the CLSK (Commando Luchtstrijdkrachten) at Maritime Air Station De Kooy. The Royal Netherlands Air Force' NH90-NFH-COM N-110 is based at Naval Air Base De Kooy and joined 7 Squadron, part of the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC). 7 Squadron is tasked with training and SAR. Royal netherlands Air Force' NHIndustries NH90-NFH-MOC N-110 visited Groningen Airport Eelde during an en-routing training. In September 2014, the Dutch government decided to suspend the purchase of the last seven Dutch NH-90 helicopters of the order due to corrosion and abrasion noted on the thirteen NH-90 helicopters in service. At the end of December 2014 the problems were classified and addressed and deliveries were resumed in 2015.

page last updated: 18-12-2014
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands

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