Eurocopter will be presenting an NH90 in the Forward Air MedEvac (Medical Evacuation) configuration for the first time at ILA 2010 in Berlin. Designed to meet the future needs of the German Armed Forces, this configuration of the world’s most advanced multirole military helicopter is the company’s response to an initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Defence to increase availability of protected NH90 transport capability for wounded personnel. The requirement amounts to twelve helicopters.
The main goal of this retrofit measure is to enable NH90 operators to carry out missions over any terrain, day or night, under all weather and visual flight conditions, irrespective of the threat scenario. Eurocopter ensures that the proposed solution fully meets the military's operational requirements and that the project can be completed within 20 months.
To reduce the approval procedure to a minimum, part of the development work originally planned for the Final Operational Configuration (FOC) NH90 has been moved forward, including the MG-3 parts kit and anti-ballistic protection. Already-existing NH90 systems such as electronic countermeasures, helmet-mounted display for low-altitude night flight, and secure voice communications will be adapted to the new mission requirements. The helicopter will be equipped with two intensive care bays for treating wounded personnel, and seats for the medical team. The Medical Service of the German Army was consulted and its experience taken into account in the design and layout of the working areas.
The systems selected for this configuration ensure rapid helicopter availability, optimized compatibility with the current NH90 program, and full operational capability for the transport of wounded personnel.
Kit solution also possible for Combat SAR missions
Eurocopter offers a similar mission package as a retrofit for the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) variant of the NH90 for Combat Search-And-Rescue (CSAR) and personnel recovery missions, i.e. saving the wounded from combat zones. Options for the CSAR variant include up to three machine guns (one on each side door and one on the tail ramp), anti-ballistic protection, a rappel system, a double rescue hoist, an emergency flotation system, sand filters, an obstacle warning system and ECM self-protection. The NH90 has a standard range of approximately 200 nautical miles, which is sufficient to reach 94 percent of all mission targets. The range can be increased to up to 300 nautical miles by adding internal and/or external auxiliary tanks. The in-flight refueling capability of the helicopter means it can also be deployed far beyond these distances.
The retrofit capabilities of the NH90 for CSAR missions offer significant advantages to operators such as the German Armed Forces. The CSAR variant is interoperable with the other TTH variants in service in Germany and other European countries, and can benefit from the logistics solutions already employed by the Army and Air Force. The NH90’s stealth features, combined with its all-weather capability and heavy-duty transmission with 30-minute dry-run capability, assure its survivability under the most extreme conditions.
Overview of the NH90 program
The NH90 is the largest military helicopter program ever undertaken in Europe. The four launch customers and initial members of the program - Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands - were rapidly joined by other countries: Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, the Sultanate of Oman, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Belgium have also placed firm orders for the NH90. A total of 529 NH90s have been ordered by 14 customer nations. The German Armed Forces have ordered a total of 122 NH90s in the TTH variant, 80 for the airborne units of the Army and 42 for the Air Force. Twelve Army helicopters and two Air Force helicopters have already been delivered. To date, 47 NH90 have been delivered to 7 customer Nations worldwide, cumulating around 6.500 flight hours since delivery.
The NH90 is a twin-engine, medium-lift helicopter equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It was designed from the outset as a multirole weapons system. The two versions - Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) - are based on a common modular platform. Equipment packages for specific missions offer maximum deployment flexibility. Great attention has been paid to such features as safety, reliability, ease of maintenance, testability and compatibility with support systems. The rhombus-shaped airframe of the NH90 is made entirely of corrosion-resistant composite materials, and combines optimized streamlining with a low signature. The optimized human-machine interface significantly reduces the pilot’s and crew’s workload. The NH90 is the world’s first production helicopter to be equipped with ultramodern fly-by-wire flight controls, which enhance even further the helicopter’s outstanding handling qualities. The all-weather NH90 can be flown by day or night.
The NH90 has established itself as the standard NATO helicopter of the 21st century. It represents a major step in the efforts to achieve full interoperability between Europe's armed forces and their allies during the deployment of NATO and UN troops. It will also help increase standardization and streamline costs, training, and logistics.
The NH90 program is managed by the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA), representing the governments of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium, and by the NHIndustries industrial consortium comprising Eurocopter (62.5%), AgustaWestland (32%) and Fokker (5.5%).
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros,
orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
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