The Italian Army has taken delivery of the first final operational capability (FOC) configuration NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) during an official ceremony at AgustaWestland's NH90 final assembly line in Venice Tessera, Italy.
Representing a significant milestone for the Italian Army's NH90 programme, the shipment brings the total number of helicopters received by the service to date to 21.
Around 60 NH90 TTHs were ordered by the Italian Defence Ministry for the army, along with 46 Nato frigate helicopter (NFH), as well as ten TTH for the Navy from NH Industries in June 2000.
Currently deployed in Afghanistan, five Italian NH90s have successfully completed 470 flight hours with enhanced performance, reliability and mission effectiveness in the country's extreme and demanding environmental, weather and operational conditions.
Powered by two Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM322 engines, the NH90 TTH is a multi-role military helicopter primarily designed to conduct logistics and utility transport, combat search-and-rescue (RESCO), as well as heliborne operations during day and night.
The 11t-class, fully composite crashworthy fuselage equipped helicopter can also be configured for casualty and medical evacuation, electronic warfare, special operations and counter-terrorism operations, airborne command post and VIP transportation missions.
Additional features include a dual bus core avionic system, full glass cockpit with multi-function displays, fly-by-wire controls with a four-axis automatic flight control system, as well as up to two M134D mini guns for enhanced self-defence capabilities.
The helicopters have also been ordered by other NH90 members, including Australia, Belgium, Greece, Norway, New-Zealand, Oman, Sweden, Spain, Finland, France, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
AgustaWestland is also providing an integrated operational support package to help the Italian army maximise operational effectiveness of its NH90 fleet, as part of a phased logistic support (PLS) programme from the Venice Tessera facility.
Image: Italian Army's first FOC configuration helicopter stationed at AugustaWestland's facility in Venice Tessera, Italy. Photo: © 2012 AgustaWestland - A Finmeccanica Company.