French Navy NH90s entered operational service
French Navy NH90 Caiman has officially entered operational service at the naval aviation base Lanveoc Poulmic
Marine Nationale, December 09, 2011 - On December 8, 2011, at naval aviation base Lanvéoc Poulmic, the NH90 Caiman helicopters have officially entered operational service.
The Caimans will be operated by 33 Flotille and be based at NAS Hyères, near Toulon, and at NAS Lanvéoc, near Brest and a detachment at Cherbourg.
The helicopter will embark on the Horizon-class Forbin, Chevalier Paul frigates and also in the new FREMM multi-mission frigates.
The first embarkation of a Caiman onto French Navy frigates should take place during the second-half of 2012.
The navy will receive 27 Cayman up to 2010. Currently, five have been delivered. Of the 27, 13 of them will have a rear loading ramp, allowing them to carry out combat assault missions. The other 14 will be used in the antisubmarine role.
The navy says the name 'Caiman' was chosen in consultation with the army, because the aircraft and the animal shared an ability to blend into the environment, and was able both to observe and release a large amount of energy when needed to provide the desired military effect.
Pilot training for the type will take place at a new school: CFIA (Centre de Formation Interarmées du NH90) - currently under construction at Le Luc in Southern France. The facility is due to be ready for operation by July 2012.