The French Navy’s NH90 helicopter fleet strength is halfway. Just before the end of December 2014 the thirteenth of 27 ordered Caïman – as they are called by the Aéronavale – was delivered by the European NHIndustries consortium.
Caïmans will serve two main roles within the French Navy: 14 will be configured as anti-submarine warfare chopper, the other 13 will feature a rear loading ramp and are to be deployed in the search-and-rescue, medevac and air assault / counter-insurgency plus anti-ship role. The ASW versions replace the Westland Lynx, the 13 non-ASW versions take over the tasks of the the Sud-Aviation SA321 Super Frelons that have served since 1966.
The ASW versions will have the option to be armed with MU90 torpedoes, plus a fire-support gun in the side doors. The French Navy hopes to equip the non-ASW versions with an air-to-surface missile from the year 2021.
Source: Marine Nationale
Featured image: A French Navy NH90 Caïman (Image © Marine Nationale)