NH Industries, the joint venture company that is the prime contractor for the five-nation NH90 helicopter program, will mark the 25th anniversary of its establishment during the Paris Air Show, which opens at Le Bourget airport on June 19.
The company, whose shareholders are Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters and Fokker, will announce at the show a new long-distance record flight flown by a TTH90 aircraft belonging to the French army aviation command, Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre (ALAT). In late May, it flew a distance of 850 nautical miles in 6 hours and 46 minutes, without refuelling and without landing, and flying with internal ferry tanks, thereby setting what is no doubt a new world record for a helicopter of its size.
Eleven years after the maiden flight of the first prototype, a total of 515 NH90s have been ordered by military operators worldwide – 386 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTH) and 129 NATO Frigate Helicopters (NFH) – making the NH90 Europe’s biggest-ever military helicopter program. It should be noted that the majority of customer nations – nine to date – outnumber the four original partners by a factor of two to one, demonstrating the NH90’s appeal to operators worldwide.
To date, 315 have been delivered and 200 more are to be delivered, but significant new orders expected will boost the total beyond 600 units.
The two versions of the NH90 – TTH and NFH – are in service in Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, Oman, Spain and Sweden. The NH90 helicopter program is managed by the NHIndustries, a joint venture company owned by Leonardo (32%), Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), and Fokker, a business unit of GKN Aerospace (5.5%).