The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter. It was developed in response to NATO requirements for a battlefield helicopter which would also be capable of being operated in naval environments. The NH90 developed and is manufactured by NHIndustries, which is wholly owned by Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland and Fokker Aerostructures. The first prototype conducted its maiden flight in December 1995; the type began to enter operational service with some customers in 2007. As of 2013, a total of thirteen nations have placed orders for the NH90.
The NH90 has the distinction of being the first production helicopter to feature entirely fly by wire flight controls. There are two main variants, the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) for Army use and the navalised NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH); each customer typically has various alterations and customisations made to their own NH90 fleets, such as different weapons, sensors and cabin arrangements, to meet their own specific requirements. In early service, the NH90 has suffered several teething issues, which has in turn delayed active deployment of the type by some operators.
NFH: NATO Frigate Helicopter
The primary role of the NFH version is autonomous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW), mainly from naval ships. These aircraft are equipped for day and night, adverse weather and severe ship motion operations. Additional roles include anti-air warfare support, vertical replenishment (VERTREP), search and rescue (SAR) and troop transport. France are splitting their purchase between the “NFH version combat” costing €43.3m in FY2013 and the “NFH version soutien” (support) at €36.4m in FY2013.
TTH: Tactical Transport Helicopter
Sweden has bought the High Cabin Version (HCV) of both the TTH and NFH, in which the cabin height is increased by 24 cm (9.4 in) to 1.82 m (6.0 ft). The Swedish aircraft have a Tactical Mission System developed by SAAB and are designated HKP14. Finnish and Swedish TTHs are called Tactical Troop Transports (TTT) in some contexts.
Cockpit and avionics systems
The helicopter has a crew of three: the pilot and Tacco (the tactical coordinator responsible for mission management) and the Senso (sensor systems operator) in the cabin. The cabin of the NFH is equipped with an avionics bay with a sensor operator station and a tactical coordinator station, a dipping sonar and a sonobuoy launcher.
The NH90 has ‘fly-by-wire’ all electric flight controls from Goodrich Actuation Systems and Liebherr Aerospace. This full authority quadruplex system increases the manoeuvrability of the aircraft while decreasing the weight. The avionics system is supplied by Thales Avionics and is based on a dual MIL-STD-1553B digital databus.
The cockpit has five 8in×8in colour multifunction liquid crystal displays for flight, mission systems and maintenance data. Honeywell Primus 701A weather radar is fitted.
The avionics package includes the Thales Topowl helmet-mounted sight and display which has a 40° field of view. Topowl also equips the Tiger and Rooivalk attack helicopters.
Thales Topowl helmet-mounted sight
Under a contract awarded in January 2008, German NH90 helicopters are fitted with EADS Defence Electronics MilOWS, a military version of the HELLAS laser-based helicopter obstacle warning system.
EADS Defence Electronics MilOWS
EADS Defence Electronics MilOWS, a military version of the HELLAS laser-based helicopter obstacle warning system.
The NH90 is equipped with an integrated communications and identification management system. The secure radio system provides air-to-air and air-to-ground communications. The TSC 2000 IFF (identification friend or foe) supplied by Thales was developed under German and French cooperation. The helicopter is equipped with a Link 11 secure datalink.
TSC 2000 IFF
- Modes 1, 2, 3/A, C, 4, NSM
- Mode S up to level 3 (ELS, EHS)
- Mode 5 level 1 and 2
- COMSEC appliqué or external (KIV77 – QRTK3NG)
- Interface TCAS 7.1 compliant
- Reverse IFF capable
- MIL-STD-1553B, DIGIBUS, ARINC 485, ARINC 429 interfaces
- Antenna Diversity
- Mode 4/5 or National Secure Modes
- Stanag 4193, ICAO Annex 10 (Amndt 85), DoD AIMS 97-1000 and DoD AIMS 03-1000B compliant
- ADS-B OUT, DO260B compliant
- MIDS compatible
TSC 2000 IFF Transponder
- Standard French and German IFF transponder
- Remote unit
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 124x194x318 mm (1/2 ATR short)
- Weight: 6.8 kg
TSC 2030 Panel Mounted IFF Transponder
- Lightweight and compact configuration
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 127x130x145 mm
- Weight: 3.4 kg
Data from International Directory
- Crew: 2 pilots (and possible sensor operator on NFH)
- Capacity: 20 seated troops; or 12 medevac stretchers; or 2 NATO pallets; or 4,200 kg (9,260 lb) external slung load
- Length: 16.13 m (52 ft 11 in)
- Rotor diameter: 16.30 m (53 ft 6 in)
- Height: 5.23 m (17 ft 2 in)
- Empty weight: 6,400 kg (14,100 lb)
- Useful load: 4,200 kg (9,260 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 10,600 kg (23,370 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9 turboshaft, 1,662 kW (2,230 shp) each, or:
- Powerplant: 2 × General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft, 1,577 kW (2,115 shp) each
Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322
Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9 turboshaft 1,662 kW (2,230 shp) each
General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft
General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft 1,577 kW (2,115 shp) each
- Maximum speed: 300 km/h (162 knots, 186 mph)
- Range: 800 km, 497 mi (TTH); 1,000 km, 621 mi (NFH) ()
- Service ceiling: 6,000 m (20,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 8 m/s (1,574 ft/m)
- Missiles: anti-submarine and/or air to surface missiles (NFH version), 2x door gun
Source: Air Force Technology, Wiki
Updated Jan 27, 2017