French Navy NH90 NFH (Nato Frigate Helicopter) "Caïman" enters operational service

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World Naval Forces News - France
 
 
 
French Navy NH90 NFH (Nato Frigate Helicopter) "Caïman" enters operational service
 
On December 8, 2011, on the the Lanvéoc Poulmic (Brittany) naval air station (NAS), the operational implementation of the NH90 helicopter was made official. The new and inovative helicopter is now in service and represents a profound change of the air component of the French Navy.

The helicopter, which the program was launched in the 90ies (hence its name: NH 90) is a twin-engine helicopter for military transport in the 10 tons class. Six nations participate in the program: Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal. It is managed by NATO on the State side(NATO Helicopter Management Agency, or NAHEMA) and by NH Industries (NHI) on the industrial side, comprising four manufacturers (Agusta-Westland of Italy, EADS / Eurocopter in France, EADS / Eurocopter Deutschland for Germany, Fokker-Stork, for the Netherlands). Each company provides design and manufacture for a section of the unit.

The French Navy should take delivery of 27 "Caïman" by 2020. Currently, five have been delivered to "standard 1". 13 of them will be delivered with a rear loading ramp. Equiped with all necessary equipment for a shipborne combat helicopter the 27 French Navy NH90 will be able to be fitted with an anti-submarine kit (14 of such kits have been ordered so far.)
     
On December 8, 2011, on the the Lanvéoc Poulmic (Brittany) naval aviation base, the operational implementation of the NH90 helicopter was made official. The new and inovative helicopter is now in service and represents a profound change of the air component of the French Navy.
French Navy commando rappelling down from the brand new NH90 Caïman helicotper
(picture: EMA/French Navy)

     
They will be based at NAS Hyères (French Riviera), at NAS Lanvéoc (Brittany), including one detached to Cherbourg (Normandy). This type of helicopter will be embedded permanently on air defense frigates (Forbin and Chevalier Paul) and the multimission frigates (FREMM). Depending on mission requirement Caïman helicopter may occasionally be embedded on the French Navy aircraft carrier, LHDs (Mistral class) or LPDs.

The name "Caïman" (Cayman) was chosen in consultation with the French Army. It evokes the amphibian environment in which the Cayman lives and the animal expected qualities: ability to blend into the environment, to observe and release a large amount of energy when needed to provide the desired military effect.
     
On December 8, 2011, on the the Lanvéoc Poulmic (Brittany) naval aviation base, the operational implementation of the NH90 helicopter was made official. The new and inovative helicopter is now in service and represents a profound change of the air component of the French Navy.
The new NH90 NFH Caïman helicotper at French Navy's Lanvéoc Poulmic Naval Air Station
(picture: EMA/French Navy)

     

The NH90 Caïman in flight
(video: EMA/French Navy)
     
Missions conducted by the Caïman and its crew are threefold:
- Naval combat(engaging surface threats, control of the underwater space and fight against submarines)
- Tasks related to the action of the French State at sea (search and rescue, medical evacuation,fight against maritime terrorism)
- Support missions: search and rescue at sea, medical evacuation, naval logistics.

It is intended to replace:
- The Super-Frelon in SAR and anti maritime terrorism missions
- The Lynx in anti-ship and anti-submarine missions
     
On December 8, 2011, on the the Lanvéoc Poulmic (Brittany) naval aviation base, the operational implementation of the NH90 helicopter was made official. The new and inovative helicopter is now in service and represents a profound change of the air component of the French Navy.
French Navy NH90 NFH Caïman helicotper
(picture: EMA/French Navy)
     

French Navy NH90 have many technological innovations thourgh the use of composite materials in terms of structure and integration of modular systems using digital technology. First full scale production helicopter sporting fly by wire controls, it has great maneuverability which ensures missions capability day and night even in very bad weather. It can therefore be launched and recovered from ships even in heavy seas.

 

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