NH Industries Launches NH90 Helicopter Upgrade Program

The Block 1 and 2 upgrades will keep the NH90 combat helicopter relevant for the next 50 years.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 10:36 AM, June 14, 2024
  • 1154
NH Industries Launches NH90 Helicopter Upgrade Program
NH90 helicopter

NH Industries (NHI) and the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) have signed a contract to develop and qualify the NH90 Block 1 upgrade, enhancing the NH90 combat helicopter for Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy.

This upgrade is a key component of the NH90 evolution roadmap and will enhance both the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and the NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) variants.

The signature of the SWR3 contract, which marks the launch of the NH90 Block 1 upgrade, is an important milestone for the NH90 programme and is a clear sign that our NATO customers trust the NH90 and plan on operating it for many more decades to come,” stated Axel Aloccio, President of NHI and Head of the NH90 Programme at Airbus Helicopters. “We have a clear plan to extend the lifespan of the NH90 up to 50 years and we will need to upgrade the aircraft to make sure it stays relevant on the battlefield of tomorrow. The Block 1 programme will cover the next ten to fifteen years. Beyond that horizon, we are also planning the Block 2 upgrade that will define the future evolutions of the platform and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the battlefield of tomorrow," he added.

The first phase of this €600 million programme includes substantial enhancements such as an upgraded communication suite and the integration of Data Link 22, allowing for beyond line-of-sight interoperability without satellite communications. The latest version of the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, Mod 5 Level 2, will also be integrated. Additional upgrades include a new electro-optical system, a state-of-the-art dipping sonar, and the integration of the MK 54 torpedo and Marte ER anti-ship missile. The NH90 Block 1 will also feature navigation capabilities with a civil grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and flight management system.

The second phase, currently being finalized, will deploy these Block 1 configuration improvements across approximately 200 NH90 helicopters, covering both NFH and TTH variants.

NH Industries is owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%), and GKN Fokker (5.5%).

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