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NHI, NAHEMA Launch NH90 Upgrade Program

Our Bureau - : Jun 14, 2024 - : 12:27 am

NH Industries (NHI) and the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) have inked a contract to initiate the development and qualification of the NH90 Block 1 upgrade, also known as Software Release 3. The contract was signed on behalf of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy by NAHEMA.

This initiative forms a crucial part of the NH90 evolution roadmap and represents a substantial upgrade in capabilities for both the TTH and NFH variants of the NH90 combat helicopter.

“The signature of the SWR3 contract, which marks the launch of the NH90 Block 1 upgrade, is an important milestone for the NH90 programme and is a clear sign that our NATO customers trust the NH90 and plan on operating it for many more decades to come. We have a clear plan to extend the life span of the NH90 up to 50 years and we will need to upgrade the aircraft to make sure it stays relevant on the battlefield of tomorrow,” said Axel Aloccio, President of NHI and Head of NH90 Programme at Airbus Helicopters.

“The Block 1 programme will cover the next ten to fifteen years. Beyond that horizon, we are also planning the Block 2 upgrade that will define the future evolutions of the platform and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the battlefield of tomorrow.”

The first phase of this €600 million programme includes an upgrade of the NH90 communication suite and the integration of Data Link 22, allowing beyond line-of-sight interoperability without the need for satellite communications. The latest version of the device used to identify and track military aircraft, IFF Mod 5 Level 2, will also be integrated.

Additional upgrades available to operators include the integration of a latest generation electro-optical system, a new dipping sonar, and the integration of the MK 54 torpedo and the Marte ER anti-ship missile. The NH90 Block 1 will be equipped with a civil grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and flight management system. The second phase of the programme, currently in the final stages, will involve the deployment of the Block 1 configuration improvements on approximately 200 NH90s, both NFH and TTH.

NHI is responsible for the design, manufacturing, and support of the NH90 helicopter. The company is co-owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%), and GKN Fokker (5.5%).


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