Netherlands Navy tests NH90 helicopter and Holland class OPV in bad weather
Netherlands Navy crews of the NH90 helicopter and HNLMS Holland Offshore
Patrol Vessel conducted deck landings with winds up to Force 8 and waves
up to 4 meters high last week in the North Sea.
The tests are being conducted to determine the maximum wind limit for
operating the NH90 from the Holland-class OPV.
These are needed to
know how far you can go during operations in bad weather said Lieutenant
Commander Chris van den Berg,
helicopter is firmly secured on HNLMS Holland Offshore Patrol Vessel
(Picture: Dutch Ministry of Defence)
"Each class of ships are tested and analyzed. For example, you
have to deal with wind turbulence," says the ship’s commander.
“And, compared to the larger vessels like air defense and command
frigates, and the amphibious transport ship, the Holland-class is more
susceptible to waves."
A test team from the Air Force was collecting all data for analysis.
In addition, for the first time a ship controlled the helicopter’s
approach. In such a case, the air controller aboard the ship uses the
radar images of the NH90 to guide the helicopter when its crew has poor
or no visibility.
Night approaches and landings were carried out autonomously by the helicopter
crew using night vision googles. “Whereas last week we waved off
a Lynx because it had too much cockpit lighting and was not suitable
to fly with this night vision equipment, its successor will be able
to operate with it. This makes faster approaches possible. You can easily
fly out and land independently." Test Pilot Lieutenant First Class
Job Sicking reported.
"The NH90 weighs 11 tonnes, which is 6 tonnes more than the Lynx,
where a knock on the stick often enough." This is the final week
of sea trials aboard the Holland-class ships. While training is slightly
behind schedule pending the delivery of more NH90s, the test schedule
is on track. "Only deck landings on the M-frigates and additional
testing, such as hot weather conditions testing remain to be done."
Earlier this year, the Royal Dutch Airforce and Navy conducted deck
landings with an Apache attack helicopter on the amphibious Landing
Platform Dock (LPD) HNLMS Rotterdam. Cougar transport helicopters are
currently deployed on the vessel deployed on mission against piracy
off the coast of Somalia.