The NH90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter took off for its maiden flight on schedule on 8th December at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth, Germany.
Deliveries of NH90 Sea Lions to the Navy are due to start at the end of 2019. 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. The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) have ordered 18 NH90 Sea Lions, with the last due to go into service in 2022. The Germany Army is also due to receive 82 NH90s, about half of which have been delivered to date.
The second NH90 Sea Lion awaiting qualification testing is currently at the final assembly stage and series production at Donauwörth will commence in the summer of 2017.
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.
Thanks to its multi-role capability and future proofing, the Sea Lion is designed to significantly enhance the Navy’s operational capabilities compared with the existing Sea King Mk41 fleet.
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. A total of 129 NH90 NFH helicopters have been ordered to date.