Leonardo press release
Another major program achievement in the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 program was made on 31 March with the delivery of the first two NFH naval variant helicopters. The aircraft handover, achieved in accordance with contractual commitments, was performed during an official ceremony held at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera NH90 final assembly line (Italy) in the presence of Qatar Emiri Air Force, Leonardo, and NHI representatives.
This event follows the delivery of the first TTH aircraft for land operations from the Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Marignane (France) in December 2021, while the second TTH was handed over recently. The first NFH naval helicopter had its public premiere in Qatar on 18 December 2021 during National Day.
Qatar’s NH90 Programme Background Information
Qatar’s NH90 program includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package, and associated infrastructure. The Qatar Emiri Air Force is one of the few NH90 End Users to operate both the TTH and NFH versions of the NH90 for a number of land operations and naval missions. The program has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6 + 6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants.
Leonardo is the prime contractor for the overall program and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility. The company is also supplying simulators, training aids, and extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians. Leonardo is providing, contributing to, or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link and Full HD display for cabin consoles. Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Deliveries will continue through to 2025.
Leonardo Contribution to the NH90 Helicopter
Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production, and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gearbox hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions.
Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system (also selected by the German Navy for their new NH90 Multi-Role Frigate Helicopter Programme), as well as pintle-mounted Gatling-type guns, for specific customers.
About NH90 Helicopter
The largest military helicopter program in Europe, the NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its fully composite airframe with a large cabin, its excellent power-to-weight ratio, and its wide range of role equipment. It features a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics.
The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land based operations. As of today, nearly 470 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, are in service worldwide. Aircraft on operations have logged nearly 330,000 flight hours in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea.
NHIndustries is the largest rotorcraft Joint Venture in European history and it is responsible for the design, manufacture and support of the NH90 helicopter, one of the leaders in the latest-generation of military helicopter. The company takes the best from European Rotorcraft and Defence Industry, being owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%) and GKN Fokker (5.5%). Each company has aerospace pedigree and brings the top of its skills and expertise to the end product.
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Naval News comments:
The NH90 NFH are set to fly from the Qatari Emiri Navy’s future surface combatants, namely the four Al Zubarah-class air defense corvettes as well as the future air defense LPD. The helicopters will be able to deploy MBDA’s MARTE ER anti-ship missiles with a range of 100km, giving them a potent anti-surface warfare (ASUW) capability. The NH90 NFH will also deploy lightweight torpedoes for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), likely the MU90 which is already integrated with the Italian Navy and French Navy’s NH90s.
For the record, a global order worth 5 billion euros (including 1 billion for missiles) was announced in August 2017. In addition to four air defense corvettes, the contract includes the construction of two OPV/FACM type ships based on the Falaj 2-class (selected by the UAE Navy) and an air defense LPD (fitted with long range L-band radar and ASTER 30 SAM) based on the “BDSL Kalaat Beni Abbes” (143 meters long, 9,000 tonnes displacement), which was delivered in 2015 by Fincantieri to Algeria.
Regarding Qatar’s NH90 helicopters, Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gear box hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions. Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system, as well as pintle-mounted gatling-type guns, for specific customers.