30 June 2000

The contract for the Production Investment and the Production (PI/P) of a 1st batch of helicopters was signed on 30 June, at the Maison des Polytechniciens, in Paris, by Helmuth Heumann, General Manager of NAHEMA, and Philippe Stuckelberger, General Manager of NHIndustries.

The 1st batch of 298 NH90 helicopters is part of the immediate production commitment of 366 helicopters, included in the total requirement of 595 NH90s.

This was based on the go-ahead and the Parliamentary approval of the 4 Participating Nations and the MoU signature held in Berlin ILA Airshow on 8 June this year.

The total value of the contract amounts to 6.6 billion Euro: NH90 is the biggest helicopter programme ever launched in Europe, and, in addition, national industries are participating with a self financing for the 25% amount of the Production Investment.

The target to maintain the costs within the estimate elaborated before the Design & Development phase has been achieved thanks to the close collaboration between NHIndustries, its industrial partners, NAHEMA, and the End Users by combining:
- a continuous design to costs analysis
- a permanent control of the technical configuration despite the large variety of required mission to meet.

This commercial approach, to achieve the PI/P 1st batch contract ensures the customer:
- World market competitive prices
- Guaranteed performance backed by stiff penalties
- Deliveries according to operational needs.

Italy orders 60 TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for the Army, 46 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) plus 10 TTH for the Navy; France will receive 27 NFH for their naval forces; Germany receives 50 TTH for the Army and 30 TTH for the Air Force, of which 23 are foreseen for Combat Search and Rescue missions following a dedicated further contracted development; The Netherlands will receive 20 NFH.

The 1st batch in both the TTH and the NFH versions includes 54 TTH as option for Germany - 30 for their Army and 24 for their Air Force - and 1 TTH as option for Italian Air Force. Deliveries will start on 2003 for the Tactical Transport version.

Production shares of the four countries will be 31.25% for France (Eurocopter), 32% for Italy (Agusta), 31.25% for Germany (Eurocopter Deutschland) and 5.5% for The Netherlands (Stork Fokker). NHIndustries is responsible for the programme management, marketing, sales, and after sales support.

This latest-technology helicopter has been jointly developed by Agusta (Italy), Eurocopter (France and Germany) and Stork Fokker (The Netherlands) under the leadership of NHIndustries and the four-nation governmental agency NAHEMA (NATO HElicopter Management Agency).

The NH90 is a twin-engine aircraft in the 10 tons class. It has been designed from the outset as a weapon system. Launched in 1990 with the signature of a MoU for the development phase, the NH90 is based on the operational needs jointly defined by the armed forces of France, Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands based on NATO Staff requirements.

The transport (TTH) and the naval (NFH) variants share a common basic helicopter in a modular design. Dedicated, specialised mission equipment packages allow for maximum flexibility in operations. Special emphasis has been given to features such as safety, reliability, availability, maintainability, testability, and supportability. The diamond shape of all composite (corrosion free) airframe combines optimal aerodynamics with low detectability. Optimised man-machine interface significantly reduces pilot and crew workload. The NH90 superior handling qualities are enhanced by a fly-by-wire flight control system, making it the first production helicopter in the world to feature this advanced technology.

Two types of FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) equipped engines can be installed in this twin engine helicopter: the Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM-322-01/9 or the Fiat Avio-GE-MTU GE-T700-T6E1.

Due to its unique design and inherent system flexibility, the NH90 covers a wide variety of stringent mission requirements. The TTH will serve as a tactical transport helicopter for personnel and materials (internal and external), for Search and Rescue missions (SAR and Combat SAR), heliborne operations, medevac, special operations, electronic warfare, airborne command post, parachuting, flight training, and VIP transport.

NFH missions include anti submarine warfare, anti surface unit warfare, vertical replenishment, SAR, troop transport and mine laying.

This very high multipurpose capability is achieved by the integration of the dedicated mission system and the flight aids with the basic aircraft systems: the TTH features the Electronic Warfare System, comprising Missile Launch Detector, Radar and Laser Warning Receivers, Chaff & Flares Dispenser; FLIR, Helmet Mounted Sight and Display, Weather Radar, and Digital Map Generator.

NFH features: the Electronic Warfare System, 360° Naval Radar, Sonics (Sonar and Sonobuoys), Tactical FLIR, Data Link, and Blade and Tail Automatic Folding System, and Harpoon deck locking system.

The NH90 with its multi-mission capability and now on order by four European nations represents a major step forward in terms of rationalisation, standardisation of equipment, within the armed forces, and interoperability in NATO and United Nations missions.