Nov. 22, 2013 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: AgustaWestland; issued Nov. 22, 2013)
AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that the Italian Navy has taken delivery of its first NH90 NFH helicopter in Full Operational Capability (or Step B) configuration. The helicopter will be assigned to the 5th Helicopter Squadron of the Italian Navy based at the Sarzana-Luni base.
The Italian Navy has ordered 56 NH90s, 46 of which in the NFH variant, part of its modernization plan in order to bring its capabilities to the latest technological standards.
The Step B configuration features a range of significant advancements in mission capability including weapon systems integration for both air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes, advanced satellite and encrypted communications, a further expanded envelop for ship-based operations and in demanding weather conditions, radar and avionics capability enhancements. Starting next year, the five previously delivered Step A (MOC, Meaningful Operation Capability) helicopters will begin to be retrofitted to bring them to the final configuration.
The NH90 NFH variant is primarily designed for autonomous and joint 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. Because of its optimal 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 Italian Navy will benefit from a Mission Planning & Analysis System (MPAS) for its fleet of NH90 NFH helicopters. The MPAS is a multi-mission and multi-platform mission planning based on the state of the art AgustaWestland-designed Skyflight™, a multi-helicopter flight and mission planning solution that all related AgustaWestland stations currently utilize.
The NH90 is the most successful European helicopter programme ever. The total number of NH90 on order is 529 – of which over 160 delivered – by 19 armed forces in 14 countries. Of these, the NH90 NFH variant has been ordered in 111 units by Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway.
The NH90 programme is managed by NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) representing France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium, and by the NH Industries industrial consortium comprising AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%) and Fokker Aerostructures (5.5%). In the framework of the NH90 programme,
AgustaWestland is responsible for the production of the main transmission, tail drive shafts, hydraulic system, automatic flight control system, rear ramp, rear fuselage, the T700/T6E1 or CT7-8F5 engines solution installation and on-board computers. Furthermore, AgustaWestland is also responsible for the overall integration of the NH90 naval mission system for all NFH variants.
AgustaWestland's Venice Tessera plant is the new final assembly line for the NH90s ordered by Italy (Army and Navy, 60 and 56 helicopters respectively), the Netherlands (20), Norway (14) and Portugal (10) giving a total of 160 helicopters so far.