The French armament procurement agency (DGA) has taken delivery of the first final operational configuration (FOC) qualified NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) under a contract from Eurocopter at its facility in Marignane, France.
The delivery follows declaration of compliance approved by the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) countries for the French FOC NH90 TTH in November 2011. The approval also marks the start-up of deliveries to Italian, Belgian and German Armed Forces in late 2012.
The helicopters, specifically designed to perform in tactical transport missions, will be delivered to the French Army Air Corps (ALAT). France had previously placed an order for 34 NH90 TTH helicopters, with an additional 34 on option in December 2008, to replace its existing fleet of SA 330 Puma transport helicopters.
In its FOC, the helicopter features a sophisticated avionics system enabling day and night missions, full military communications system functionality for interoperability in foreign operations, a complete set of technical publications and approval for overseas deployments by ship from its operating base.
The new-generation NH90 TTH can also be used to perform logistics and utility transport, combat search and rescue (RESCO), casualty and medical evacuation, electronic warfare, special operations and counter-terrorism missions, airborne command post and VIP transport missions.
NH Industries, a joint venture between AgustaWestland, Eurocopter and Stork Fokker, is the prime contractor for the twin-engine multirole helicopter programme. The company is also developing a second variant of the helicopter, known as NATO frigate helicopter (NFH).
The helicopters have also been ordered by NH90 members including Australia, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Oman, Sweden, Spain and Finland.
Image: French Army receives first final operational configuration qualified NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter from Eurocopter. Photo: File.