The ALAT crews reported that the assistance of the onboard computers was highly valued, in that they knew at any point the fuel consumption of the each helicopter based on its altitude, speed and weight. Due to the harsh conditions of operating in the desert, each NH90 is equipped with additional items including sand filters on the air intake and APU, protective film on the windshield, special paint on the leading edges of the blades to prevent rapid wearing due to the sand-blasting effect. The Polish Navy Mil Mi-14 ‘Haze’ ASW helicopters are to be replaced by the H225M Caracal. (Russian Helicopters)
other bid competitors valued the potential win: Sikorsky to help boost sales for its subsidiary and AgustaWestland to increase business for its new militarised AW149. Rivals and partners As is the nature of business, turn in another director and rivals for one contract do well in concert regarding another. On 7 January 2016 the French DGA (Direction Generale de l’Armement) placed an order with Airbus Helicopters for an additional six tactical troop transport (TTH) NH90 helicopters from NH Industries (NHI), raising to 74 the number of TTH variants on order for French Army Aviation (ALAT). These additional NH90s will be delivered between 2017-2019. NHI of course is a collaboration between Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), AgustaWestland (32%) and Fokker Aerostructures (5.5%). The ALAT has deployed two NH90 Caiman helicopters to the African state of Mali since November 2014. They had been confirmed with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) before the deployment although Full Operational Capability (FOC) is not scheduled to be announced until later this year. The Caimans were able to self-deploy from France to Gao, in northern Mali, in 32 hours undertaking a journey of over 5000 km. The length of the trip meant that each aircraft needed to carry three 450 kg duel tanks inside the cabin in order to provide up to five hours of flight time. EDR - May / June 2016
Self-protection Tests End for Norwegian NH90NFH Testing by NHI on the self-protection suite for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) NH90s, which began in September 2015, was completed at the end of February this year. This now paves the way for the delivery of six additional NH90 Naval Frigate Helicopters (NFH) that will be configured for anti-submarine warfare. The RNoAF received its sixth of 14 NH90 earlier this year, with two final helicopters to be delivered and configured for coast guard duties by the end of the contract. Testing was conducted by Finmeccanica Helicopter’s flight test team backed by representatives from organisations including the French DGA at three test sites at Cazaux, Bruz and Ile du Levant. They were conducted through the portrayal of realistic threats in a variety of scenarios.
French Army AS330 Pumas and the helicopter that will replace it, the new NH90 Caiman, have been deployed to Mali. (ALAT)
France's desert outpost, European helicopters and Night vision systems are all covered in EDR issue 27