A distinguished audience saluted on 1st March, 2000, the fifth and last prototype of the NH90 (PT5) at Agusta Cascina Costa facility in Italy. Agusta Chairman and CEO, Amedeo Caporaletti, was accompanied at the ceremony by Mr. Patrick Gavin, Eurocopter CEO, Mr. Siegfried Sobotta, Eurocopter Co-chairman, Mr. C.A.M. De Koning, Stork Fokker CEO. The ceremony was also attended by Amm. Isp. Mario Bartoli, NH90 Programme Steering Committee Chairman, Mr. Helmut Heumann, NAHEMA General Manager, Mr. Philippe Stuckelberger, NHIndustries General Manager, other NAHEMA and NHIndustries representatives and an audience of Military Attaches and other distinguished guests.
The NH90 is a twin engine, multirole naval and tactical transport helicopter in the 10-ton class developed in two mission variants (NFH and TTH) from a common basic model. Its design is based on the toughest requirements jointly expressed by the armed forces of France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands to face up the military scenario of the 2000s.
The PT5 was assembled under Agusta responsibility; Eurocopter, Eurocopter Deutschland and Stork Fokker, the other industrial partners in the programme, contributed modules and component.
The PT5 has been showed in flight with PT1. The NFH is primarily developed for autonomous Anti- Submarine Warfare, Anti Surface Unit Warfare missions. Additionally applications include Anti-Air Warfare support, Vertical Replenishment, Search and Rescue, Troop Transport. The last two prototypes of the NH90 entering flight activity contribute to increase the figure of flight hours pushing the total over 620 hours, allowing a more rapid opening of the flight envelope and the flight qualification of mission dedicated systems.
The PT5 maiden flight marks the switching from the development to the production phase. The next four Government's production go-ahead for the first batch of about 200 aircraft will also open the doors to the export market where the NH90 has just drawn considerable interest such as the NORDIC programme.
NH90 is the result of the effort made by the Nations and Industries involved in reinforcing European co-operation with the aim of sharing costs, workload and technology to produce a competitive, high performance weapon system.
The NH90 programme demonstrates the ability of four European Nations to harmonise a common technical-operational definition of the helicopter for their defence needs. This represents a big step towards true rationalisation, standardisation and interoperability among European Armed Forces.