15 February 1996

The ceremony for the first official flight of the NH90 took place today in the Eurocopter plant in Marignane. The first prototype of NH90 helicopter flew today in the presence of military and political authorities of France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands (the Nations Participating in the NH90 Programme), military attachés of several western nations, European Industry representatives and world-wide Press.
The actual first flight occurred on 18 December, last year, as scheduled.

NHIndustries, the prime contractor for the quadrinational NH90 helicopter Programme (launched by France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands) is pleased to say that the number and the importance of guests present at the in flight presentation of this innovative helicopter, confirms the strong quadrinational interest into the Programme and the resolute will to pursue common defence means and common strategies.

A multinational Programme is today the only practicable way to develop and qualify a new costeffective helicopter system: this approach is necessary for the investments and the exchange of industry know-how and is the ground for the real rationalisation/ standardisation/interoperability among Armed Forces. The NH90 Programme is the demonstration that, when properly managed, the multinational approach is today less expensive, compared with similar complex programmes, and can be also respectful of timing.

The NH90 Programme represents a big step forward in the rationalization, standardization and interoperability among European Armed Forces.

Presently the foreseen need of the Participating Nations, mainly replacement of the existing fleets, is 726 aircraft, 544 of which in the tactical transport version (TTH) and 182 in the naval version (NFH).

The foreseen NH90 export market share exceeds 600 helicopters.