Tag Archives: HKP14

First anti-submarine NH90 for Sweden – finally

In a program plagued by delay after delay, Airbus Helicopters on Thursday 17 December finally delivered the first anti-submarine warfare-equipped NH90 helicopter to Sweden. The Scandinavian country desperately has been needing an advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability for years, as its waters in the Baltic Sea are regularly visited by submarines and submersibles, supposedly mainly of Russian origin.

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration FMV (Försvarets Materielverk) took delivery of the NH90. The helo has a customized mission system including underwater sonar, tactical radar and high cabin for improved interior space. In total, Sweden has ordered 18 NH90s, 13 equipped for search-and-rescue missions (SAR) and five in ASW configuration. In Swedish service the type is dubbed HKP14 (Helikopter 14).


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Winching on Swedish NH90 not so easy, yet

Operational winch testing with the HKP14 (NH90) of the Swedish Armed Forces. Notice two crew members to operate the winch safely (Image © Trejde helikoterflottiljen / Försvarsmakten)
Operational winch testing with the HKP14 (NH90) of the Swedish Armed Forces. Notice two crew members to operate the winch safely (Image © Trejde helikoterflottiljen / Försvarsmakten)


HKP14 Configurations

The first of the ASW HKP14 has now been delivered, with four more following. Also, four SAR-configured Swedish NH90s will be re-configured into the same ASW-platform. In the end, Sweden will therefore have nine NH90s for SAR duties and nine for ASW tasks. The Swedish ASW variant has been in development since 2007. Delays sparked strong criticism from the Swedish military, with some officials quoted as having lost confidence in the program.

A HKP14 in Swedish Army livery. All military rotary wing of Sweden is flown by various units of the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Command (Helikopterflottiljen) (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A HKP14 in Swedish Army livery. All military rotary wing of Sweden is flown by various units of the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Battalion (Helikopterflottiljen) (Image © Elmer van Hest)

UH60M Black Hawk

The introduction of the NH90 into the Swedish army was also not without problems. To overcome these, Sweden took desperate measures in 2010 and ordered 15 UH-60M (HKP16) Black Hawk helicopters as a stop gap. Having become the first export customer of that version of the Black Hawk and very happy with its performance, Sweden will keep the Sikorsky tactical transport helicopters besides the 18 HKP14s.


RELATED POST:
Last Super Puma of Sweden retired

The retired HKP 10. Seen here at the 2012 Swedish Military Airshow at F3 Linköping-Malmen. (Image © Marcel Burger)
The retired HKP 10. Seen here at the 2012 Swedish Military Airshow at F3 Linköping-Malmen. (Image © Marcel Burger)


Helikopterflottiljen

All helicopters in Swedish military service are operated by the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Battalion (Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottiljen). With its headquarters at Linköping-Malmen, the choppers fly from that airbase as well as Luleå-Kallax in the far north and Ronneby near Karlskrona in the far south. Apart from the HKP14s and HKP16s, the battalion operates 12 AgustaWestland HKP15A (A109) battlefield support helicopters as well as 8 AgustaWestland HKP15B (A109) maritime helicopters. Once the last NH90 has been delivered the total fleet will be 45 helicopters.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editors Elmer van Hest and Marcel Burger
Feature image: The HKP14 in ASW-configuration (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

Winching on Swedish NH90 not so easy, yet

Rescuing people from the icy waters of Scandinavia with the winch on the new NH90 helicopter is not so easy, the Swedish Armed Forces discovered during tests the last few months. Unless there is sufficient crew on board, the risk of the winch cable damaging the helicopter is a serious concern.

Currently the winch operator has to hold wire away from the chopper by hand or foot, with another crew member holding him safe. Once out on a real operation there may that person, with the two pilots/navigators in the front and the diver in the water. But technicians of the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) and the Third Helicopter Squadron (Tredje helikopterskvadronen) think that with some additional equipment it may work.

Submarine hunting

The maritime version of the HKP14 (Helikopter 14) – as the NH90 is dubbed in Swedish military service – will be on the forefront of submarine hunting in the near future. Sweden lost serious airborne capacity when the Boeing-Vertol/Kawasaki HKP4 (model 107, CH-46 in USMC service) was decommissioned in 2011. HKP14 field tests as underwater reconnaissance asset with dipping sonar is planned for 2016.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Operational winch testing with the HKP14 (NH90) of the Swedish Armed Forces. Notice two crew members to operate the winch safely (Image © Trejde helikoterflottiljen / Försvarsmakten)

Last Super Puma of Sweden retired

Skies have become slightly more boring in Sweden, after the last Aérospatiale (currently Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Super Puma helicopter of the Swedish Armed Forces made its final landing on 22 October.

The last HKP 10 (Helikopter 10) – as the type was dubbed in Swedish military service – touched down on Linköping-Malmen Airbase, 27 years after the day in March 19888 when the first search-and-rescue variant took to the air at F21 Luleå-Kallax Airbase in the north of the country.

The dozen Super Pumas that Sweden ordered were delivered up till 1995, replace the aging HKP 4 (CH-46 Sea Knight) as SAR chopper. Troop transport and medevac were roles later added. More recently three of the Swedish Armed Forces even served in Afghanistan for a period of two years in the latter role. The last serious operational missions were flown by two machines in August this year, when they supported the big Army Exercise 15 (AÖ15), and last week during Exercise Jämtgubben HKP10 with number 97 took part in a real exercise scenario.

The new star of the show in the Swedish military rotary wing is the HKP 14, aka NH90, which serves besides 15 UH-60M Black Hawks (Image © Marcel Burger)
The new star of the show in the Swedish military rotary wing is the HKP 14, aka NH90, which serves besides 15 UH-60M Black Hawks (Image © Marcel Burger)

For the number freaks: the choppers together made 71,000 flight hours, using 44.5 million litres of fuel. During the service period three of the 12 helicopters were written off due to accidents. Of the remaining nine machines, six are now stored in Linköping offered for sale. Two other machines will go to museums while the ninth aircraft will be used for technical education.

The role of the HKP10 is now resting on the shoulders of the plagued NHIndustries NH90, named HKP 14 in Swedish Armed Forces service. Of the 18 machines Sweden hopes to have in 2019, ten have now been delivered. Half of the current fleet flies with the Helicopter Squadron at Luleå in the far north, the other half with the chopper unit at Ronneby in the far south.

Since deliveries and operational availability were very problematic the Swedish government ordered 15 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk choppers in 2011, which were quickly delivered and which will stay operational as the country’s defence and political leadership seems to be very happy with their availability.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, incl. source information provided by the Swedish Armed Forces
Featured image (top): The retired HKP 10. Seen here at the 2012 Swedish Military Airshow at F3 Linköping-Malmen. (Image © Marcel Burger)

No more Super Puma in this typical Swedish landscape (Image © Marcel Burger)
No more Super Puma in this typical Swedish landscape (Image © Marcel Burger)

First real NH90 delivered to Sweden

A good camouflage goes a long way, but in the case of this Swedish Eurocopter NH90 perhaps not enough to hide an overdose of black and especially yellow markings. The NH90 is called Hkp14 in Sweden, and introduction of the type in Swedish armed forces met delay after delay. That's why the Swedes ordered 15 UH-60 Black Hawks to operate along the NH90s. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A good camouflage goes a long way, but in the case of this Swedish Eurocopter NH90 perhaps not enough to hide an overdose of black and especially yellow markings. The NH90 is called Hkp14 in Sweden, and introduction of the type in Swedish armed forces met delay after delay. That’s why the Swedes ordered 15 UH-60 Black Hawks to operate alongside the NH90s. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The first ‘real’ NH90 helicopter of the Swedish Armed Forces was delivered to the Helicopter Command at Malmen Airbase in Linköping on 17 December 2013.

The Hkp14, as the type is dubbed in Swedish service, with tail number 51 is the first grey painted Swedish one and the first with all the capabilities as ordered. Four green painted lesser version aircraft already fly with the Försvarsmakten for some time, but for training purposes only.

A day after arrival Helikopter 14 no. 51 was formerly commissioned by the Swedish Air Force, which flies all Swedish military helicopters for the three military branches. The NH90 made the delivery flight from Eurocopters service plant in Finland via an stop-over at Luleå-Kallax, home to the 1st Helicopter Squadron. From there it flew to Helicopter Commands main base in Linköping, the city that is also home to the Saab aircraft plant on a second airfield.

In March or April 2014 the Swedish Hkp14s start arriving at their operational squadrons in Ronneby in the southeast (mainly support for the Navy) and Luleå-Kallax (Air Force and Army). Another four Hkp14s are scheduled to be delivered in 2014, but that is already years behind the original planning. The Swedish government reacted quickly by buying 15 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters which were redirected from the US Army production. It made Sweden the first European country to operate the Mike version. Swedish Black Hawks currently serve out of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan in support of ISAF.

Long term question will be if the Swedes keep the NH90s. The type has shown itself almost not at all worthy to be deployed in difficult conditions. The Germans have loads of basic operational problems with their NH90s they deployed to Afghanistan that currently operate alongside the Swedish Black Hawk flight.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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Check out the Sweden Armed Forces Orbat at Scramble.nl

Sweden: new grey NH90 IM on its way

A grey NH90 on training mission off the coast of France (Image © NHI/Eurocopter)
A grey NH90 on training mission off the coast of France (Image © NHI/Eurocopter)

The Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Command in Linköping has confirmed on October 2, 2013, that the new grey painted NH90 MI is about to arrive. Before the end of the year the new version of the helicopter will be introduced and will start to fly alongside the American-made Black Hawks.

Helikopter 14 International Mission (HKP 14 IM) as the type is designated within the Swedish armed forces will have new gear, besides the grey colour. Compared to the four green painted base versions already delivered to the Swedish Armed Forces, the HKP 14 IM has a anti-sandfilter (ASF) on the air intakes, a winch at the right side and an electro-optic sensor (EOS) in the nose with a day camera, IR-camera and laser range metre. The new version will also be able to open the ramp in the back and load equipment underneath its belly. The first HKP 14 IM has tail number 50.

Protection plates against incoming bullets, armoured seating in the cockpit and extra navigation and sensor systems will be new on the inside of the helicopter. After the first new grey NH90 has been delivered, 13 will follow. The four green HKP 14s already delivered will be upgraded to the new standard. The ‘greens’ bear tail number 42, 43, 44, 45.

Right now the Swedish Armed Forces have four certified pilots to fly the new type. Although Helikopterflottiljen at F3 Malsmslätt airbase in Linköping is the principal operator, the Swedish NH90s will be dispatched to 3 Helicopter Squadron in Ronneby, near Karlskrona naval base in the south, and 1 Helicopter Squadron at Kallax in Luleå close to the border with Finland.

It is still uncertain whether Sweden will keep its 15 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters (HKP 16) long-term. The Scandinavian country quickly bought and received the M-version as first European customer from the Americans to fill the gap of the much delayed arrival of the NH90. The Swedes seem to be very happy with the Black Hawk’s performance, proving it even in combat in Afghanistan. Since April four of Helikopterflottiljen HKP 16s are flying as SAE ISAF Medevac (Swedish Air Element ISAF Medical Evacuation) from the German ISAF Camp Marmal near Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of Afghanistan.

Experts believe the Black Hawk will serve both the Swedish expeditionary forces policy and the country’s climate better than the NH90, but the decision to keep both types flying might depend a lot on budgetary calculations.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger with source information from a.o. Försvarsmakten

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Check out the Sweden Armed Forces Orbat at Scramble.nl