NH-90 NFH naval helicopter for Qatar performs its first flight at Leonardo facility in Italy

According to a press release published on December 23, 2020, The Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 helicopter program marked a major milestone last week with first flights performed in Italy and France. The first NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH), assembled at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility, and the first tactical troop transport (TTH) over-land aircraft, assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane site, took to the air on 15th and 18th of December respectively.


According to a press release published on December 23, 2020, The Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 helicopter program marked a major milestone last week with first flights performed in Italy and France. The first NH90 NATO frigate helicopter (NFH), assembled at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility, and the first tactical troop transport (TTH) over-land aircraft, assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane site, took to the air on 15th and 18th of December respectively.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Qatar’s NH90 NFH frigate helicopter program marks a major milestone with first flights. (Picture source Leonardo)


The flights allowed crews to evaluate general handling and basic systems and the helicopters performed as expected. The NH-90 NFH is the ship-based version in the NH-90 family. Operating from shore or warships in all flyable conditions, the helicopter is tailored for full capability in both anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface (ASuW) warfare. Search and rescue operations can be performed in either of these configurations.

The NH90 NFH can be configured with anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, and sonobuoys. It can be equipped simultaneously with both an anti-ship missile and a torpedo. Advanced navigation and ship landing aids enable the helicopter to perform safe landings in day/night and adverse weather conditions, supplemented by a deck lock device for securing the touchdown in high sea states.

Qatar’s NH90 program includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package, and associated infrastructure. The program has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6 + 6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo is the prime contractor for the overall program and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility. The company is also supplying simulators, training aids, and extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians.

Leonardo is providing, contributing to or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link, and Full HD display for cabin consoles. Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Acceptance of the first batch of NH90s by the Qatar Emiri Air Force is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said “We’re extremely pleased to celebrate this important achievement as we continue to work to deliver this program. The NH90 is set to provide the Qatar Ministry of Defence, an important and longstanding customer, with outstanding operational capabilities suitable for a range of missions. Together with our industrial partners, we’re committed to completing and introducing this essential defense and security enabler for our customer.”


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