Yesterday, the first Omani NH90 took to the air from Eurocopter’s Marignane facility at 10:40 am.
It represents the 9th country out of 14 to achieve the maiden flight of NH90 serial production aircraft after Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Greece, France, Norway and Australia.
On 24 July 2004, the Sultanate of Oman has contracted 20 NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) battlefield helicopters for the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO). They will be delivered from the end of 2008 to the end of 2010.
The NH90 RAFO Variant is perfectly tailored to the extreme environmental conditions of the Middle-East region. To maintain the NH90 remarkable performance throughout the flight envelope in Hot & High conditions, this Variant is equipped with an enhanced Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca power plant (2 RTM 322-01/9A engines). In the frame of the Variant qualification, this specific engine version installation will be validated in Oman in July 2007 during the “Hot Weather Campaign”.
The NH90 is a new generation military helicopter equipped with state-of-the-art technology and systems able to perform any kind of mission by day or night and in adverse weather conditions. The NH90 features a corrosion-free carbon fibre fuselage offering also a high level of resistance to sand abrasion, composite rotors, multi-redundant fly-by-wire controls associated to a 4-axis autopilot for hands-off flight capability, precise and autonomous navigation with SAR automatic search patterns, electro-optical system with FLIR and many other leading edge technologies and mission equipment.
The twin-engine, medium-size NH90 helicopter is provided by the consortium NHIndustries, the Company owned by AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%).
The NH90 helicopter programme is the largest ever launched in Europe, with firm orders now reaching 453 units plus 102 options to equip and modernize the Armed Forces of France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New-Zealand, Spain and Belgium. Final negotiation steps are in progress with several other Defence Forces to secure contracts concerning 76 additional NH90, both in the Tactical Transport and Naval versions.