NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter

NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter

The NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) is a multi-role military transport helicopter manufactured by NHIndustries, a consortium owned by AgustaWestland (32%), Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%).

The helicopter can be deployed in a wide range of missions such as troop transport, search-and-rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and casualty evacuation (CASEVAC). It can also be used for special operations, including counter terrorism, electronic warfare, airborne command post, VIP transport and utility support such as disaster relief. It can transport up to 20 fully equipped troops.

NH90 helicopter programme is managed by the NAHEMA (Nato Helicopter Management Agency) and NHIndustries. NHIndustries also produces NFH, which is a naval version of the NH90.

NH90 TTH orders and delivers

Firm orders have been placed for the TTH by Australia (46), France (74), Germany (122), Italy (70), Sweden (18), Finland (20), Greece (20), Spain (45), Belgium (four), New Zealand (eight plus one for spares), Oman (20), and Norway (14).

In July 2006, New Zealand placed an order for nine NH90 TTH helicopters. The first two NH90 TTH helicopters were delivered to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) in December 2011. The remaining helicopter deliveries were concluded by late 2013. The Spanish MoD placed an order for 45 NH90 TTH helicopters in December 2006.

In 2007, France placed an order for 34 TTH helicopters, plus 34 options to replace its Puma helicopters in the ALAT (French Army Aviation). The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) exercised the options for a batch of 12 and 22 NH90 helicopters in November 2007 and December 2009, respectively. The first helicopter was delivered in January 2012.

In June 2007, Belgium signed a contract with NAHEMA for ten NH90 helicopters, including four TTH, four NFH, and two optional TTH aircraft. The first Belgian NH90 TTH completed its maiden flight in September 2012.

 

In January 2016, the French DGA ordered an additional six helicopters, bringing the total firm orders to 74 helicopters. Deliveries are scheduled to conclude by 2019.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) entered a contract with NHIndustries for participation in the sustainment phase of the helicopter.

The Spanish Army received the first two NH90 helicopters from the Airbus Helicopters in September 2016.

In December 2016, the 300th NH90 production helicopter was delivered to the Spanish Army’s Fuerzas Aeromóviles del Ejército de Tierra (FAMET) aviation branch.

NHIndustries was awarded a €3bn ($3.4bn) contract by the Ministry of Defence of Qatar for 16 NH90 TTH and 12 NH90 NFH helicopters in March 2018. The deliveries will start in June 2022 and continue through 2025.

A total of 365 helicopters have been delivered in TTH and NFH configurations as of October 2018.

Design of the NH90 tactical transport helicopter

TTH incorporates a low-weight composite airframe. Its strengthened structure increases the fatigue life and can withstand corrosion and battlefield damage. The helicopter features a fully composite crash-worthy fuselage. The fuselage is provided with a rear ramp to enable the loading of a light tactical vehicle.

Its composite rotor blades are designed to enhance damage tolerance and component life while delivering improved aerodynamic performance. The TTH version is specially configured to meet the requirements of utility-based operations in all environments by day and night. The modular cabin design allows the operators to perform modifications according to their specific missions and roles.

With a length of 19.56m (rotors turning), width of 4.62m and a height of 5.2m, the helicopter can transport up to 20 troops or more than 2,500kg of cargo.

Cockpit and avionics

A pilot and co-pilot can be accommodated in the cockpit. The full glass cockpit is equipped with an integrated avionic suite, advanced controls, a communication suite, and a navigation system. It is also equipped with multifunction displays.

Its fly-by-wire controls with four-axis automatic flight control system reduce crew workload. Other mission systems include helmet-mounted sight and display, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, weather radar, digital map generator, and an on-board monitoring and diagnostic system.

Armament, self-protection and survivability of the NH90

NH90 TTH is provided with a fully integrated weapon system, allowing the helicopter to operate in potential asymmetric threat environments. The helicopter is armed with a door-mounted 7.62mm or 12.7mm pintle machine gun.

The helicopter offers a high degree of ballistic tolerance and survivability features, which are essential when flying in a combat environment. It is equipped with an advanced self-protection suite, including a laser warning sensor, radar warning receiver, missile launch detection system and chaff/flare dispensing system.

NH90 TTH engines

“The NH90 TTH can fly at a maximum altitude of 6,000m.”

NH90 TTH is powered by two Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM322 engines. The twin-shaft engine features a three-stage compressor driven by a two-stage gas generator turbine. Each engine generates a power output of 2,327shp. The operation is controlled by a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system.

Performance of the NH90 helicopter

NH90 TTH can fly at a maximum altitude of 6,000m. The rate of climb of the helicopter is 8m/s. The maximum takeoff weight of the TTH is 10,600kg. The helicopter has a maximum speed of 300km/h and a range of 780km with internal fuel. It can fly for up to 4.45 hours on internal fuel.

Variants

NFH: NATO Frigate Helicopter

The primary role of the NFH version is autonomous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW), mainly from naval ships. These aircraft are equipped for day and night, adverse weather and severe ship motion operations. Additional roles include anti-air warfare support, vertical replenishment (VERTREP), search and rescue (SAR) and troop transport. France are splitting their purchase between the “NFH version combat” costing €43.3m in FY2013 and the “NFH version soutien” (support) at €36.4m in FY2013.

  • SH-90A: Italian Navy designation from 2012 for NH90 NFH.
  • NH90 NFH Caïman: French Navy designation for NH90 NFH.
  • NH90 Sea Lion: German Navy development of the French NH90 NFH. The Sea Lion features a reduced set of sensors as the main task is SAR and ship based Transport (VERTREP and Special Forces) and is unarmed. First flight was on 8 December 2016 and service deliveries started in October 2019.
  • NH90 Sea Tiger: Another German Navy development of the NFH90. The Sea Tiger will be the future helicopter for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface unit warfare. The first helicopters were ordered in 2019 with a potential total of up to 31. 

TTH: Tactical Transport Helicopter

The primary role of the TTH version is the transport of 20 troops or more than 2,500 kg of cargo, heliborne operations and search & rescue. It can quickly be adapted to MEDEVAC/CASEVAC missions by fitting up to 12 stretchers or cargo delivery capability. Additional roles include special operations, electronic warfare, airborne command post, parachuting, VIP transport and flight training.

  • HKP14: Swedish Air Force designation for NH90 TTH: Sweden has bought the High Cabin Version (HCV) of the TTH, in which the cabin height is increased by 24 cm (9.4 in) to 1.82 m (6.0 ft). The Swedish aircraft have a Tactical Mission System developed by SAAB and are designated HKP14. Finnish and Swedish TTHs are called Tactical Troop Transports (TTT) in some contexts.
  • HT-29 Caimán: Spanish Army designation for NH90 GSPA TTH.
  • MRH-90 Taipan: Australian Defence Force designation for NH90 TTH.
  • NH90 TTH Caïman: French Army designation for NH90 TTH.
  • UH-90A: Italian Army designation for the NH90 TTH.
  • MH-90A: Italian Navy variant of the NH90 TTH.

MTT: Maritime Tactical Transport

The MTT is a blend between the TTH and NFH, combining the land-based configuration of the TTH with specialized maritime features of the NFH, including folding rotorblades, a tail-boom, and a strengthened undercarriage. The variant was first announced in February 2019 and has reportedly piqued interest from the Spanish and Italian armed forces who may order this variant as part of existing orders.

Specifications

Crew 2 flight crew + loadmaster / sensor operator
Capacity 20 seated troops; or 12 medevac stretchers; or 2 NATO pallets; or 4,200 kg (9,259 lb) external slung load
Length (rotors running)
16.13 m (52 ft 11 in)
Height 5.31 m (17.42 ft)
Main rotor diameter 16.3 m (53 ft 6 in)
Loaded weight  
Empty weight 6,400 kg (14,110 lb)
Max take off weight 10,600 kg (23,369 lb)
Maximum speed (Vne) 300 km/h (190 mph, 160 kn)
Cruising speed at sea level  
Ascent speed at sea level 8 m/s (1,600 ft/min)
Ceiling in service 6,000 m (20,000 ft)
Passable distance at sea level with standard reserve 800 km (500 mi, 430 nmi)
Powerplant 2 × General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft engines, 1,662 kW (2,229 hp) each (option)
2 × Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-1/9 turboshaft engines, 1,802 kW (2,417 hp) each (option)
 

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NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter
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NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter
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