Last weekend, AIRheads↑FLY took the Autobahn to Bremen, traveled a bit more through some German woods, came across some villages and finally ended up in a large place with lots of helicopters. That place is Fassberg, home of Transporthubschrauberregiment 10, flying NH Industries NH90 helicopters and good ol’ Bell Hueys. And what coincidence, at September 7th Fassberg was home to the Aerospace Day 2013.
So, what to do on a hot summer day in France? It didn’t take AIRheads↑FLY a very long time to come up with an answer to that one, actually. So we packed our baguettes, some fine wine and a bottle of sunscreen and we headed along l’autoroute to the EALAT Airshow at Le Luc airbase. EALAT stands for Ecole de l’Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre, just so you know. And by the way, we also brought along a camera.
And now make some noise! It weren’t only helos or props at Le Luc, there were fighters as well, courtesy of the Armée de l’Air and the French Marine.
We close of in style however, with a fine study of the rotary future for some time to come: the EC665 Tigre.
The first Belgian maritime NH Industries NH90 performed its first 45 minutes of flight at the Eurocopter facility Donauwörth in Germany on August 5, 2013.
,,The crew successfully tested the basic systems of this new generation aircraft”, writes a press spokesperson of NH Industries. ,,During the next weeks, this first Belgian NH90 NFH will perform several other test flights in order to check the aircraft behaviour and its mission system with industry and customer crews.”
The Belgian armed forces ordered eight NH90s, four TTHs for tactical transport operations and four NFHs for naval operations. The first Belgian army version of the NH90 flew already on September 19th, 2012. The Belgian NH90 navy variant is delivered in its full operational capability standard, already known as the Step B. This aircraft is very close to the Dutch NH90 NFH Step B currently operationally deployed with the Royal Netherlands Navy.
The NH90 NFH is a helicopter of 11 ton class primarily configured to perform naval operations such as search-and-rescue at sea, anti-piracy missions and transport. The chopper features a full glass cockpit with multifunction displays, fly-by-wire controls with 4-axis automatic flight control system. The dedicated mission system includes an electro optic sensor, tactical control and tactical communication system, a multimode radar and an on-board monitoring and diagnostic system. Two Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 engines provide power.
NH Industries is a consortium of AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%). So far 153 NH90s have been delivered with firm orders of 529 aircraft for 14 nations: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New-Zealand, Spain and Belgium.
1x Dassault DA-20 Jet Falcon VIP transport aircraft
18x Bell 412SP utility & transport helicopter
6x NHI NH90 helicopter for coast guard duties and as shipborne anti-submarine / anti-ship and naval support
12x Westland Sea King Mk 43 search-and-rescue helicopter
16x Saab MFI-15 Safari basic training aircraft
20x Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealty multi-role fighters. Total requirement 52. First two aircraft delivered in 2015 to Luke AFB, no. 3 and 4 in 2016 and then 6 aircraft every year in the years that follow. F-35s will replace F-16s.
8x NHI NH90 helicopter for coast guard duties and as shipborne anti-submarine / anti-ship and naval support