The first three latest-generation NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTH) were handed over to the German Army at Eurocopter's Donauworth facility in the presence of a large group of guests from the German Federal Ministry of Defence, the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement, NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) as well as the German Army on December 13th, 2006. The German Army is the first customer to take delivery of the NH90. The aircraft with the serial numbers TGEA02 and TGEA03 will be used for flight training at the German Army Air Corps Weapons School in Buckeburg, while serial number TGEA05 will be used to train maintenance staff.
Qualification of the NH90 TTH was completed by NAHEMA on March 31st this year. German type certification was granted on December 1st, 2006, clearing the way for deliveries initially to the German customer, as well as for the respective national certifications of the NH90 TTH for other NAHEMA and export customers.
"Following a period of complex evaluation and comprehensive qualification processes we are proud to now be able to officially launch the NH90 for training purposes. Until the end of 2007, we plan to deliver 14 aircraft to Buckeburg. We are very grateful to all our partners within the German Army, the authorities, the Bundeswehr Technical and Airworthiness Centre 61, NAHEMA, and NHIndustries for their contribution to achieving this success", stated Dr. Lutz Bertling, President and CEO of Eurocopter. "We know that the Army and Air Force pilots are eagerly looking forward to this new system. With the launch of the NH90 we are taking a big step towards military interoperability and the ability to perform integrated missions in the future", he concluded.
Speaking on behalf of Brigadier General Richard Bolz, Army Air Corps General, who is currently in the USA, the Head of the German Army Air Corps Weapons School, Development Group (GrpWEnwtg HFlgTr), Oberst i.G. (Colonel, General Staff) Joachim Pluss, said: "The Army Air Corps General and the Commander at the German Army Air Corps School are particularly thrilled to take delivery of the first NH90 today. Now we can hardly wait to begin training our pilots and flight crews early next year, and to begin exploring and exploiting the capabilities that this quantum leap in rotorcraft aviation represents. We can still only begin to imagine the full scope of the new opportunities this transport helicopter will offer the Army, but with the commencement of our flight training at the German Army Air Corps School in the framework of the combined flight and operational training of the Army, Air Force, and Navy, we will implement them. Even though we will only be able to start really taking advantage of the wide range of training capabilities offered by the new aircraft, with its significant technological developments such as Fly-by-Wire or flying with FLIR (Forward
Looking Infra-Red thermal imaging system), its laser-based obstacle warning system and weather radar system once we have taken delivery of further aircraft, the delivery of the first NH90 today can already be seen as marking the start of a new era in rotorcraft aviation. This weapons system will offer the crews, and thus every operator, an impressive expansion in capability across the entire tactical operating spectrum, including high intensity conflict situations against sophisticated threats thanks to its use of cutting-edge technology."
"First of all, however, training at the German Army Air Corps School using the integrated training facility consisting of computer-aided theoretical training, extensive use of flight simulators and now augmented by practical use of the NH90 as a "paramount training asset" will take on a completely new quality. We look forward to playing an active part in realizing this new capability and putting it into practice with the NH90", he added.
The NH90, for which 400 firm orders plus options for more than 100 additional aircraft have been placed to date, is the largest helicopter programme ever launched in Europe. In addition to Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Portugal, customers include Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia and New Zealand. Spain and Belgium have also selected the NH90. Due to its multi-role capability, the NH90 is able to fulfill a large variety of missions and has been chosen for Army, Air Force, Navy and SAR services.
The NH90 has established itself as the NATO standard helicopter of the 21st century. It makes a significant contribution towards interoperability between European armed forces and their overseas allies for NATO and UN missions. In addition, it contributes towards standardization and rationalization in terms of costs, training and logistics.
The NH90 programme is managed by NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) representing France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Portugal, and by the NHIndustries industrial consortium consisting of Eurocopter (62.5%), Agusta (32%) and Stork Fokker (5.5%).
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