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NH90 helicopter Block 1 upgrade launched

14th June 2024 - 15:52 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The planned upgrade will attempt to keep NH90s relevant for the next 15 years. (Photo: Airbus)

Developed as a multinational programme, the European NH90 was designed to meet NATO requirements for multirole capability from a common helicopter.

A €600-million (US$641-million) upgrade of Belgian, German, Dutch and Italian NH90s helicopters has been given the go ahead with the signing of a contact between NH Industries (NHI) and the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA), the latter acting for the countries.

The contract launches the development and qualification of the NH90 Block 1 upgrade (also known as Software Release 3) and constitutes a major upgrade in terms of capabilities for both the TTH (transport) and NFH (naval) variants of the NH90 combat helicopter.

The first phase includes an upgrade of the NH90 communication suite and the integration of Data Link 22 allowing beyond line-of-sight and IFF Mod 5 Level 2 (the latest version of the device used to identify and track military aircraft) will also be integrated.

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Other upgrades will be available to the operators and include the integration of a new generation electro optical system, a new dipping sonar and the integration of the MK 54 torpedo and the Marte ER anti-ship missile. The NH90 Block 1 will be able to navigate with a civil grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and flight management system.

The second phase of the programme is being finalised but will consist of the deployment of the Block 1 configuration improvements on approximately 200 NH90s, both NFH and TTH, in total.

Axel Aloccio, president of NHI and head of NH90 programme at Airbus Helicopters, said the upgrade would help the platform meet future demands.

“We have a clear plan to extend the life span of the NH90 up to 50 years and the Block 1 programme will cover the next 10 to fifteen years,” Aloccio said. “Beyond that horizon, we are also planning the Block 2 upgrade that will define the future evolutions of the platform.”



The Shephard News Team


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