The French Navy received its 15th NH90 NFH naval helicopter on 22 September 2015. The handover by Airbus Helicopters at the facilities in Marignane marks the first delivery of a Marine “Caïman” – as the French name for the type goes – in its final radar configuration (FRC).
The Ministry of Defence of France ordered 27 NH90 NFH from NHIndustries in two different configurations for the French Navy. The French Navy declared an operational capability on the type in the anti-submarine operational role on 5 December 2014, completed on 3 March 2015 by the operational capability of the MU90 torpedo.
The naval version of the NH90 is designed to perform a wide range of missions from anti-submarine, to anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, maritime surveillance and control and special operations including counter terrorism and anti-piracy. The NH90 in its final radar configuration includes also an advanced sonar providing the Navy with improved submarine detection and classification capabilities, as well as a new system for the Digital Map Generator (DMG) facilitating mission preparation and execution.
The NH90’s 4-axis autopilot and the fly-by-wire controls contribute to safety and flight performance in severe operating conditions. The NH90 is the first serial helicopter in the world to be equipped with fly-by-wire technologies, meant to reduce the pilot workload.
To date, 249 NH90 have been delivered to 13 countries and have logged over 95,000 flight hours. The twin-engine, medium-size NH90 helicopter program is managed by the consortium NHIndustries, a company owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), AgustaWestland (32%), and Fokker (5.5%).
Source: Airbus Helicopters
Featured image: A French Navy NH90 Caïman (Image © Marine Nationale)