French Armament Procurement Agency (DGA) press release
This final campaign followed three other test and experimentation campaigns carried out beforehand. It was conducted by two DGA test centers and the Navy’s practical experimentation center (CEPA/10S) in the South of France. It validated this new capability for special forces, which can drop up to 11 combat-equipped commandos by day or night.
The NH90 helicopter in its marine version has been identified by FORFUSCO (Force Maritime des Fusiliers Marins et Commandos – Marine Fusiliers and Commandos Force) as an airborne capability that can be used to drop its paratroopers or launch its combat swimmer commandos. To answer this request, the experts of the DGA and CEPA/10S worked together to allow the qualification of the parachute jumping domain with automatic opening by the right side door of the helicopter and the opening of the associated field of use for the various existing parachute types.
These joint tests and experiments were prepared by CEPA 10S and DGA aeronautical techniques, which provided the infrastructure and means.
DGA and CEPA/10S then operated the helicopter and conducted the campaign. In total, one night test flight was carried out, as well as seven experimental flights (five during the day and two at night), with mixed DGA/33F/CEPA/FORFUSCO teams.
The tests made possible to :
- Create and validate an interface for attaching the automatic opening straps (SOA) to the NH90 floor.
- Validate an engine drain protection created by CEPA/10S, and the use of a lighted parachutist release system proposed by CEPA/10S,
- To check the drag behavior of the SOA with canopy bag once the parachutists have been released;
- To evaluate the normal release procedure and the rescue procedure in case of parachutist remaining attached to the SOA;
- Verify the kinematics of parachute opening and the extension of the field of use of the parachutes used.