Helis, December 24, 2020 - The first aircraft of the Qatar Emiri Air Force future helicopter NH90 completed their maiden flights at NHI facilities in Europe.
No issues were detected on the test flights.
The first NFH (naval frigate) achieved the first flight on December 15 at Leonardo Venice Tessera, Italy while the first NH90 TTH (troop transport) did the same on December 18 at Airbus Marignane, France.
Qatar ordered 16 TTH and 12 NFH during Doha DIMDEX expo in March 2018 in a deal that also included H125 for the flying school. The engine selected was the Safran RTM322 turboshaft.
Under the €3 billion contract, the 28 helicopters are scheduled to be delivered between 2021 and 2025.
The twin-engine, medium-size NH90 helicopter program is managed by the consortium NHIndustries, a company owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo Helicopters (32%), and Fokker (5.5%). Around 430 NH90 helicopters are in service worldwide and logged over 270,000 flight hours. Leonardo is prime contractor for the Qatar contract.
“This is an outstanding achievement for Leonardo, Airbus Helicopters and Fokker teams in Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands, and demonstrates the clear capability to achieve significant program milestones, despite the criticality of the period caused by the pandemic crisis affecting our operations” was commonly shared by Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, President and Claudio Nittoli, Managing Director of NHIndustries.
Qatar’s NH90 helicopter programme marks major milestone with first flights
Leonardo, December 25, 2020 - The Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 helicopter programme marked a major milestone last week with first flights performed in Italy and France. The first NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH), assembled at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility, and the first tactical troop transport (TTH) over-land aircraft, assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane site, took to the air on 15th and 18th of December respectively. The flights allowed crews to evaluate general handling and basic systems and the helicopters performed as expected.
Qatar’s NH90 programme includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, a comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package and associated infrastructure. The programme has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6 + 6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo is prime contractor for the overall programme and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility.
The company is also supplying simulators, training aids and an extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians. Leonardo is providing, contributing to or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link and Full HD display for cabin consoles.
Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Acceptance of the first batch of NH90s by the Qatar Emiri Air Force is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “We’re extremely pleased to celebrate this important achievement as we continue to work to deliver this programme. The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence, an important and longstanding customer, with outstanding operational capabilities suitable for a range of missions. Together with our industrial partners, we’re committed to completing and introducing this essential defence and security enabler for our customer.”
The largest military helicopter programme in Europe, the NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its fully composite airframe with a large cabin, its excellent power-to-weight ratio and its wide range of role equipment. It features a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics.
The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land based operations. As of today, around 430 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, are in service worldwide. Aircraft on operations have logged over 270,000 flight hours in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea.
Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gear box hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions.
Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system, as well as pintle-mounted gatling-type guns, for specific customers.
About NHI: NHIndustries is the largest rotorcraft Joint Venture in European history and it is responsible for the design, manufacture and support of the NH90 helicopter, one of the leaders in the latest-generation of military helicopter. The Company company takes the best from European Rotorcraft and Defence Industry, being owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%) and GKN Fokker (5.5%). Each company has aerospace pedigree and brings the top of its skills and expertise to the end product.
Qatar NH90 NFH (naval frigate helicopter)
Qatar NH90 TTH (tactical transport helicopter)