19-Oct-2011 Source: Forecast International
The Rolls Turbomeca RTM322 series continues in production for its two applications, the NH90 and AW101. Customers for the AW101 include India, who signed a contract in early 2010 for 12 helicopters to be configured for VIP use and transport duties. Deliveries are expected to be complete by the end of 2013.
The AW101 will compete again for the U.S. Navy’s VXX presidential transport helicopter proram. Boeing has secured the production rights for the AW101 for the contest, (designated Boeing 101) but will also offer the CH-47 and the V-22 (in conjunction with Bell). The contract award is not expected until 2013.
AgustaWestland will offer an AW101 variant designated HH-71 for the USAF HH-60 Recap Program. This involves a purchase of up to 112 helicopters to replace the fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawks for combat search and rescue operations. (this was formerly the CSAR-X program)
Twenty-eight NH90s were delivered in 2010 as NH Industries has made significant progress in resolving issues that had kept production numbers down. NH90s are now being built at five of the six planned assembly lines. Less the 68 aircraft that had been delivered by the end of 2010, the company has orders for 461 NH90s. Two variants are available; the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and Naval Frigate Helicopter (NFH). The NFH program had experienced some difficulty with increased weight from mission equipment requiring a beefed-up undercarriage, and its surface radar and tactical navigation systems. The landing gear was redesigned and improvements to the navigation system and enhanced radar were developed.
The NH90 competes with AgustaWestland’s AW101 and Sikorsky’s H-60 and H-92. France and Italy plan to acquire more NH90s beyond the ones already on order. Spain may follow suit, while Germany may reduce its existing order of 122 aircraft due to budget restrictions. Germany’s air force has a requirement for up to 19 aircraft for the SAR mission, although the existing NH90s could be retrofitted with SAR kits. The German navy is replacing its fleet of Sea Kings and has a requirement for 30 helicopters.