All ground and flight tests for the qualification of the new NH90 variant for the German Navy, the NH90 Sea Lion, were concluded earlier this month, Airbus announced.
The formal closure of the qualification is expected in the first quarter of 2019, followed by the military type certification by the German authorities in the second quarter of 2019.
The NH90 Sea Lion has recently achieved another important milestones ahead of the first delivery at the end of 2019.
The qualification aircraft, the second Sea Lion prototype, is now entering the lay-up phase for upgrading the helicopter to serial configuration and preparing it for delivery to the Bundeswehr. On Oct. 24, the first serial German Navy Sea Lion helicopter successfully completed the first power-on of all electrical systems in the final assembly line at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. This milestone marks an important step towards the first contractual delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) have ordered 18 of these helicopters altogether, with the last due to go into service in 2022.
When deployed, it will take on a range of roles including search and rescue (SAR) missions, maritime reconnaissance, special forces missions as well as personnel and materiel transportation tasks. In addition to its land-based use in SAR missions, the NH90 Sea Lion is also intended to operate on Type 702 (Berlin class) combat support ships.
Five nations are already using the naval NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter). They have already completed more than 30,000 flying hours with the 69 helicopters delivered so far: in humanitarian and SAR and military missions on land and on board naval vessels.
Altogether 129 NH90 NFH helicopters have been ordered; the total for all NH90 models comes to 515. The whole NH90 fleet comprising 296 helicopters delivered so far has already completed over 120,000 flying hours.