A French Navy NH90 Caïman (Image © Marine Nationale)

Green light for German Navy NH90 Sea Lion, Army gets less choppers

Despite problems with quality control and the availability of spare parts for the Airbus Helicopters / NHIndustries NH90s of the German Army Aviation, the German Navy got the green light for the procurement of 18 NH90 Sea Lion maritime helicopters this week.

Berlin wants the Nato Frigate Helicopter (NFH) version of the NH90 to replace the aging Westland Mk 41 Sea King operating with Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (MFG5) at Nordholz, and the MFG5’s Westland Mk 88A Sea Lynx choppers that fly from German Navy frigates. The deal was okayed on 4 March 2015.

The land-based NH90 Sea Lions will operate as troop-insertion platform, support for naval special forces and as search-and-rescue chopper. The Sea Lion will be about 60 knots faster than the Sea King, which is one of the reasons why the Navy wants to move quickly forward with the purchase.

The future of German Navy Aviation: the NH90 to serve also in the naval special forces role like demonstrated here by the French Navy (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
The future of German Navy Aviation: the NH90 to serve also in the naval special forces role like demonstrated here by the French Navy (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

German Army Aviation
The Bundeswehr will go ahead with downsizing of the NH90 fleet. As propositioned earlier the Heeresflieger (German Army Aviation) will only get 80 NH90 TTHs, instead of the 134 originally planned a decade ago. Thirty-six were delivered at the end of 2014, but the introduction has been plagued by big operational issues and not even a single NH90 is said to be in full promised operational status. Another two NH90s will be purchased as training system.

A German Army NH90 in the field. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A German Army NH90 in the field. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Tiger attack helicopter
At the same time the Army Aviation has got to say bye-bye to 11 of its EC665 Tiger attack helicopters of the oldest batch. Berlin has set the operational level to 40 Tigers in total, while Airbus Helicopters delivers another 17 for attrition replacement, testing and training. After complaints about its quality on the battlefield the German Army finally received the last of a dozen upgraded Tiger UHT support helicopters in March 2014.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A maritime version of the NH90, this example serving the French Navy (Image © Marine Nationale)

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Eurocopter EC665 Tiger UHT (Tigre) in German Army (Heer) livery at the 2008 ILA Airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Deutschland). UHT stands for Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger (Support Helicopter Tiger). The aircraft bears serial no. 98+26 and has no. 398 on the nose. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Eurocopter EC665 Tiger UHT (Tigre) in German Army (Heer) livery at the 2008 ILA Airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Deutschland). UHT stands for Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger (Support Helicopter Tiger). The aircraft bears serial no. 98+26 and has no. 398 on the nose. (Image © Marcel Burger)