NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter, France
The NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) is a multi-role military transport helicopter manufactured by NHIndustries, a consortium owned by AgustaWestland (32%), Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%).
The helicopter can be deployed in wide range of missions such as troop transport, search-and-rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), special operations including counter terrorism, electronic warfare, airborne command post, VIP transport, and utility support, including disaster relief. It can transport up to 20 fully equipped troops.
The NH90 helicopter programme is managed by the NAHEMA (Nato Helicopter Management Agency) and NHIndustries. NHIndustries also produces NFH, which is a naval version of the NH90.
NH90 TTH orders and delivers
Firm orders have been placed for the TTH by Australia (46), France (74), Germany (122), Italy (70), Sweden (18), Finland (20), Greece (20), Spain (45), Belgium (four), New Zealand (eight plus one for spares), Oman (20) and Norway (14).
In July 2006, New Zealand placed an order for nine NH90 TTH helicopters. The first two NH90 TTH helicopters were delivered to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) in December 2011. The remaining helicopter deliveries are scheduled to conclude by late 2013. The Spanish MoD placed an order for 45 NH90 TTH helicopters in December 2006.
In 2007, France placed an order for 34 TTH helicopters plus 34 options to replace its Puma helicopters in the ALAT (French Army Aviation). The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) exercised the options for a batch of 12 and 22 NH90 helicopters in November 2007 and December 2009 respectively. The first helicopter was delivered in January 2012.
In June 2007, Belgium signed a contract with NAHEMA for ten NH90 helicopters, including four TTH and four NFH plus two optional TTH aircraft. The first Belgian NH90 TTH completed its maiden flight in September 2012.
In January 2016, the French DGA ordered an additional six helicopters, bringing the total firm orders to 74 helicopters. Deliveries are scheduled to conclude by 2019.
The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) entered a contract with NHIndustries for participation in the sustainment phase of the helicopter.
The Spanish Army received the first two NH90 helicopters from the Airbus Helicopters in September 2016.
Design of the tactical transport helicopter
The TTH incorporates a low-weight composite airframe. Its strengthened structure increases the fatigue life and can withstand corrosion and battlefield damage. The helicopter features a fully composite crash-worthy fuselage. The fuselage is provided with a rear ramp to enable the loading of a light tactical vehicle.
The composite rotor blades are designed to enhance damage tolerance and component life while delivering improved aerodynamic performance. The TTH version is specially configured to meet the requirements of utility based operations in all environments by day and night. The modular cabin design allows the operators to perform modifications according to their specific missions and roles.
The helicopter has a length of 19.56m (rotors turning), width of 4.62m and a height of 5.2m. It can transport up to 20 troops or more than 2,500kg of cargo.
Cockpit and avionics
The cockpit accommodates a pilot and a co-pilot. The full glass cockpit is equipped with an integrated avionic suite, advanced controls, a communication suite, and a navigation system. It is also equipped with multifunction displays.
The fly-by-wire controls with four-axis automatic flight control system reduce crew workload. Other mission systems include helmet mounted sight and display, forward looking infrared (FLIR) system, weather radar, digital map generator, and an on-board monitoring and diagnostic system.
Armament, self-protection and survivability of the NH90
The NH90 TTH is provided with a fully integrated weapon system, allowing the helicopter to operate in potential asymmetric threat environments. The helicopter is armed with a door mounted 7.62mm or 12.7mm pintle machine gun.
The helicopter offers a high degree of ballistic tolerance and survivability features, which are essential when flying in a combat environment. It is equipped with an advanced self-protection suite, including a laser warning sensor, radar warning receiver, missile launch detection system and chaff/flare dispensing system.
NH90 TTH engines
The NH90 TTH is powered by two Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM322 engines. The twin-shaft engine features a three-stage compressor driven by a two-stage gas generator turbine. Each engine generates a power output of 2,327shp. The operation is controlled by a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system.
Performance of the NH90 helicopter
The NH90 TTH can fly at a maximum altitude of 6,000m. The rate of climb of the helicopter is 8m/s. The maximum takeoff weight of the TTH is 10,600kg. The helicopter has a maximum speed of 300km/h and a range of 780km with internal fuel. It can fly for up to 4.45 hours on internal fuel.
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