The NH90 new generation helicopter entered service in 2006. Though it was designed primarily for military missions, the helicopter started its operational carreer as a disaster relief aircraft.
The first operation occurred in Italy in 2009, after the earthquake in l’Aquila region.
The Italian Army engaged its NH90 TTHs to provide disaster relief assistance to the populations, thus saving hundreds of lifes.
Two years later, the French Navy accepted its first NH90 NFH , the naval variant of the NH90 in Lanveoc Britanny, in December 2011, in the middle of the night, an emergency call was received by the French Navy from a disabled ship at night off the coast of Britany. The TK Bremen cargo ship was facing strong winds, up to 165 KM/H and a rough sea, the crew was successfully evacuated by a French Navy’s NH90 NFH despite the strong winds and the night.
The ship went ashore and was finally lost. Since this day, the French Navy’s NH90s rescued more than 160 people in the most demanding conditions.
The Australian Navy successfully deployed at sea its NH90 Taipan for disaster relief from the HMS Tobruk in 2013 to provide disaster relief in the Philipines.
The Italian Navy deployed a NH90 at sea during several months in 2012 on the frigate Bergamini to provide humanitarian relief in several countries.
The French Army regularly operates its NH90 TTH from military ships such as the LHD Dixmude since 2012. Today 4 NH90TTHs are engaged in Mali (Africa) for military transport missions. This deployment occurred after the successful deployment of Germany and Italy in Afghanistan, there, the NH90s performed medical evacuation missions and military transport missions. These successes are a tribute to the NH90 of course and to the its heroic crews around the world.
Finally in December 2014, the Italian Navy rescued several dozens of passengers of a civilian ship disabled by a fire.
When asked about the main qualities of the helicopter for disaster relief missions, the crews often mention the versatility of the aircraft, able to be reconfigured in a matter of minutes, the flight characteristics and the safety of operation.
All these successful operations demonstrate that the NH90 is the interoperable platform, designed against NATO requirements, the end users were waiting for. As of today, 237 NH90s are delivered and operational in 13 countries.
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