Eurocopter and the German Federal Ministry of Defence today signed a contract to upgrade 12 German Armed Forces NH90 tactical transport helicopters (TTH) for quick-change, intensive-care medical transport in forward air evacuation operations.
This agreement, which was concluded at the 2011 Paris Air Show, includes the delivery of Forward Air MedEvac Kits (FwdAirMedEvac), enabling retrofit of the multi-role NH90 military helicopters in Eurocopter’s response to a German Ministry of Defense initiative to establish the capability for protected medical evacuation in combat situations.
The NH90 FwdAirMedEvac configuration enables military forces to perform evacuation missions by helicopter over any terrain, day or night and in all weather and visual flight conditions – irrespective of the threat scenario. For Germany’s application, the acquisition of FwdAirMedEvac Kits will lead to a deployment of this capability in July 2012.
The Paris Air Show contract signing was performed in the presence of Ralf Barnscheidt, Eurocopter’s senior vice president for the German governmental customer; Klaus Przemeck, the Eurocopter group’s Vice President - NH90 Program NAHEMA TTH; and Helmut Richter from the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB), who represented the German government.
“Eurocopter developed a Forward Air Medical Evacuation Kit that is tailored to the German Armed Forces’ future needs,” Barnscheidt said. “It completes the NH90’s multi-role capabilities and – in a time of limited budgets – offers a full, efficient and economical solution to perform challenging evacuation missions.”
In the FwdAirMedEvac configuration, NH90 helicopters can be equipped with two intensive care stations for treating wounded personnel, along with seats for the medical team. The mission package can be installed aboard an NH90 TTH in only 30 minutes. Medical equipment such as a defibrillator, a transport ventilator and a surveillance monitor allow onboard medical treatment of injured and traumatized victims. The layout of working areas is designed to meet requirements of the German Army Medical Service.
A typical scenario for MedEvac missions could include the deployment of two helicopters: one to evacuate wounded soldiers or civilians; the second to provide armed coverage of the mission.
The systems selected for this configuration ensure rapid helicopter availability, as they are compatible with the current NH90 program. To reduce the approval procedure, a portion of the development work originally planned for the Final Operational Configuration (FOC) NH90 has been moved forward. 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 NH90 is the largest military helicopter program ever undertaken in Europe. This twin-engine, medium-lift helicopter, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, is delivered in two versions: The Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and the NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH). 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.
As the most modern rotary-wing aircraft in its class, the NH90 features a high level of system integration built around a dual-bus core avionics system, a full glass cockpit with multifunction displays, and fly-by-wire controls with 4-axis automatic flight control.
The NH90 program is managed by NHIndustries, a consortium owned by AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%), and Fokker Aerostructures (5.5%). Firm orders for all NH90 versions have reached 529 helicopters for 19 armed forces of 14 different nations: France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Belgium.
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