18 December 1995

The NH90 programme has taken another important step forward: three years after the signature of the Design & Development Contract, the first prototype of the NH90 was successfully flown on December 18th, 1995, as scheduled, from the EUROCOPTER plant in Marignane, France.

The trial started at 16 p.m. and for the next 40 minutes the NH90 was flown by Experimental Test Pilots Philippe Boutry and Guy Dabadie with Flight Test Engineer Denis Trivier and Flight Engineer Jean Luc Rabany flew for the first time the NH90.

NHIndustries, prime contractor for the quadrinational NH90 helicopter Programme (launched by France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands) is pleased to say that the crew and the engineers present at the flight trial indicated their satisfaction with this innovative helicopter, which represents a landmark date for Europe`s aircraft industry.

Assembly of the first NH90 prototype (PT1) was completed with the main modules, groups and components received from the plants of the four European companies sharing the development work for NHIndustries: Agusta, Eurocopter Deutschland, Eurocopter France and Fokker.

Installation of the vehicle subsystems and trials are supported by on-site working teams of the four Partner Companies in accordance with their respective system design responsibilities.

During the NH90 Development phase, a total of 5 prototypes, plus the Ground Test Vehicle (Iron Bird) will be employed to demonstrate design compliance and to validate overall system performance. Qualification is further supported by a number of laboratory and ground tests, simulators and integration facilities.

Eurocopter France is to assemble and test the first three prototypes representing the “common helicopter”, Eurocopter Deutschland the No. 4 prototype representing the Tactical Transport version and Agusta (Italy) the Iron Bird and the No. 5 prototype representing the naval version.

This important achievement shows:
- the result of the effort made by the nations and industries involved to reinforce European
aeronautical cooperation with the aim of sharing costs, workload and technology to produce a competitive high performance Weapon System.
- the ability of four European nations to harmonise a common technical-operational definition of the helicopter for their defence needs, which represents a big step forward towards true rationalisation, standardisation and interoperability among European Armed Forces.