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Airbus Helicopters (NHIndustries) NH90

France (2007)
Picture of Airbus Helicopters (NHIndustries) NH90 Medium-Lift Transport / Utility Helicopter

The Airbus Helicopters NH90 series medium-lift transport helicopter has caught on with several notable military forces of the world.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Airbus Helicopters (NHIndustries) NH90 Medium-Lift Transport / Utility Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 6/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The NH90, developed by Eurocopter's helicopter arm NHIndustries (now under the Airbus Helicopters brand label), is a medium-lift multirole platform in service with several of the primary European militaries. It saw a first flight on December 18th, 1995 and was introduced in 2007. Production has been ongoing since 1995 and some 244 units have been completed to date (2015). The NH90 is the first helicopter in history to sport a full fly-by-wire control scheme.

Outwardly, the NH90 is a sleek modern offering. It sits its piloting crew in a side-by-side arrangement at the front of the fuselage, aft of a short nose cone. Vision out-of-the-cockpit is good. The passenger cabin takes up the aft space and is lined with rectangular windows for viewing. A raised tail stem allows a powered cargo ramp to be fitted which allows complete access to the cargo hold within. The main rotor blade is a composite four-bladed system seated low on the fuselage roof. A four-bladed unit, mounted to the portside, makes up the tail rotor installation atop the vertical tail fin. A sole horizontal plane is seated along starboard. The wheeled undercarriage is retractable to preserve aerodynamic quality.

The NH90 can support two engine brands based on customer need / logistics - the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9 turboshaft of 2,230 horsepower and the General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft of 2,115 horsepower. The helicopter seats two engine units above the cabin space and, when coupled to the advanced airframe design, allows the NH90 a maximum speed of 185 miles per hour, a range out to 500 miles and a service ceiling of 20,000 feet. A rate-of-climb of 1,575 feet-per-minute is listed.

Internally, the NH90 can seat up to 20 combat-ready troops or up to two NATO-standard cargo pallets. Additionally, there is an underslung cargo load hauling feature that allows another 9,260 lb to be carried externally. For the MEDEVAC role, the cabin fits up to twelve medical litters and staff. If armed for combat zone service, the MH90 supports 7.62mm door guns on trainable mounts for local defense. In the anti-ship / anti-submarine role, missiles or torpedoes can be carried aloft.

Operators of the NH90 system currently (2015) include Australia (as the MRH-90 "Taipan" - detailed elsewhere on this site), Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy (SH-90A/UH-90A), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Spain and Sweden (as the HKp 14/14b). Both Portugal and Saudi Arabia backed out of orders for the NH90.

There are two primary variants in the NH90 lineup: "NFH" is used to designate "NATO Frigate Helicopters" equipped for the anti-ship / anti-submarine role and are all-weather, day-night hunting platforms. These can also serve in Search and Rescue (SAR), general transport and humanitarian assistance roles. "TTH" is used to mark "Tactical Transport Helicopter" models serving in dedicated transport roles (cargo or personnel). Its covered roles can also include airborne infantry insertion, Electronic Warfare (EW), training, VIP passenger transportation, special operations support and the like.

Operational service of NH90s has not been without issue. There have been ongoing concerns about overall performance to the point that some global forces delayed service entry until issues could be rectified or proven false. Dutch airframes noted excessive wear early on and German concerns focused on hauling capability and weaknesses in the cargo door installation. Spool bending in the turboshaft engines has been noted in both German and Australian operation resulting in the grounding of whole NH90 fleets. Additionally, the Australians have encountered consistent windshield fracturing and deformations of the lightweight cabin floor resulting in forced modifications.

Any available statistics for the Airbus Helicopters (NHIndustries) NH90 Medium-Lift Transport / Utility Helicopter are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




  Program Updates  


October 2017 - The NH90 is a contender for the new Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) requirement of South Korea. Other contenders are the Leonardo AW159 and Sikorsky MH-60R series.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (186mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Airbus Helicopters NH90's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
244
244


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: France
Year: 2007
Type: Medium-Lift Transport / Utility Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Airbus Helicopters (NHIndustries (NHI) / Eurocopter) - France
Production: 244
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Australia; Belgium; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Oman; Spain; Sweden
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Airbus Helicopters NH90 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
52.92 ft


Meters
16.13 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
53.48 ft


Meters
16.3 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
17.16 ft


Meters
5.23 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
14,110 lb


Kilograms
6,400 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
23,369 lb


Kilograms
10,600 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9 turboshaft engines developing 2,230 shaft horsepower each OR 2 x General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft engines of 2,115hp each while driving four-blade main rotor and four-blade tail rotor.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
186 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
300 kph


Knots
162 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
621 mi


Kilometers
1,000 km


Nautical Miles
540 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
65,617 ft


Meters
20,000 m


Miles
12.43 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,575 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
480 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

Typically none. Door guns supported and special mission versions carry anti-submarine / anti-ship missile weaponry as needed.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• NH90 - Base Series Designation
• NH90 NFH ("NATO Frigate Helicopter") - Navalized variant for ASW and ASuW shipborne role.
• NH90 TTH ("Tactical Transport Helicopter") - Basic transport model; seating for 20 infantry or medical litters or cargo.
• Hkp14 - Swedish military designation of NH90 TTH model
• Hkp14B - Swedish military designation of NH90 NFH model
• MRH-90 "Taipan" - Australian military designation of NH90 TTH model.
• SH-90A - Italian military designation of NH90 NFH model
• UH-90A - Italian military designation of NH90 TTH model