Tag Archives: Airbus Helicopters

Racer

Airbus Helicopters continues to progress with the development of its Racer (Rapid And Cost-Efficient Rotorcraft) technology demonstrator, funded by European Union’s H2020 framework through the Clean Sky 2 program, and aiming to provide the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance.

Racer high-speed demonstrator passes preliminary design review milestone
Racer high-speed demonstrator passes preliminary design review milestone

After the validation of the demonstrator’s aerodynamic configuration last year, key subsystems have now successfully passed their Preliminary Design Review (PDR) giving way to the launching of first components manufacture. Final assembly of the prototype is planned to start in Q4 2019.

«I want to thank all of our European partners for the excellence of their work and for their commitment in this fantastic project», said Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research & Innovation at Airbus Helicopters. «The PDR marks a major achievement for the Racer program as it allows to freeze interfaces and 3D definitions of the main subsystems, prior to detailed design and manufacture of key components».

Long-lead items are the first ones to be manufactured. Airbus Helicopters teams already launched production of the lateral drive shaft, one of the Racer’s most innovative components. Among key subsystems, Italy’s Avio Aero, a GE Aviation Business, is launching procurement and manufacturing for the aircraft’s lateral gear boxes housing, while Hamble UK based GE Aviation Integrated Systems is taking care of the wing’s titanium cradle part. Romania’s INCAS/Romaero has already started manufacturing the Racer’s composite side panel and Spain’s Aernnova the tail parts primary structure.

Together with its partners, Airbus Helicopters is currently refining the content of the future Racer flight demonstration in Clean Sky 2 which will begin in 2020 and include about 200 flight hours. The first part will focus on the progressive opening of the flight envelope and on assessing key performance objectives as well as speed, handling qualities, stability and aerodynamics. The second phase will aim at demonstrating the aircraft’s suitability to carry out potential missions where increased speed and efficiency would bring significant added value, such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search & Rescue (SAR) and private transport. This second flight testing phase will also allow to mature low-noise flight procedures, unique to the Racer demonstrator formula.

H225M order

Airbus Helicopters has secured an additional order of four H225M (previously known as EC725) multirole utility helicopters from the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), as part of the fleet strengthening programme. This follow-on order will bring the RTAF’s H225M fleet to 12 units by 2021.

Royal Thai Air Force places order for two additional EC725s
Royal Thai Air Force places order for two additional EC725s

Specially equipped with emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, search light and electro-optical systems, these four new multirole H225M helicopters will join RTAF’s existing fleet of six H225Ms for combat search and rescue missions, search and rescue flights and troop transport operations. The air force will also be receiving two H225Ms from its earlier order, by end of this year.

This latest contract will also cover on-site technical support and continuing airworthiness management organisation services, fully supported by Airbus’ Thailand team.

«The H225Ms have served the Royal Thai Air Force well since the delivery of its first batch in 2015, and we are truly honoured by this renewed order, underscoring their continued trust and confidence in our helicopters and the committed support to their fleet. With its proven versatility, reliability and endurance, we know that the H225 will continue to capably fulfil the most challenging missions. RTAF can count on our Thailand-based customer centre for continued availability of the fleet», said Philippe Monteux, Head of Southeast Asia and Pacific region.

Featuring state-of-the-art electronic instruments and the renowned 4-axis autopilot system, the 11-ton-catergory twin-turbine H225M offers outstanding endurance and fast cruise speed, and may be fitted with various equipment to suit any role. Close to 90 units are in service, achieving 100,700 flight hours to-date.

 

Characteristics

CAPACITY
Troop transport 2 pilots + 1 chief of stick + 28 seats
VIP transport 2 pilots + 8 to 12 passengers
Casualty evacuation 2 pilots + up to 11 stretchers + 4 seats
Sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS
Length 16.79 m/55.08 feet
Width 3.96 m/13 feet
Height 4.60 m/15.09 feet
WEIGHT
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 11,000 kg/24,251 lbs
MTOW in external load configuration 11,200 kg/24,690 lbs
Empty weight 5,715 kg/12,600 lbs
Useful load 5,285 kg/11,651 lbs
Maximum cargo-sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
Standard fuel capacity 2,247 kg/4,954 lbs
ENGINES 2 TURBOMECA MAKILA 2A1
Take-off power per engine 1,567 kW/2,101 shp
PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, ISA*, SL**
Maximum speed (Vne***) 324 km/h/175 knots
Fast cruise speed (at MCP****) 262 km/h/142 knots
Rate of climb 5.4 m/s/1,064 feet/min
Service ceiling (Vz = 0.508 m/s = 100 feet/min) 3,968 m/13,019 feet
Hover ceiling OGE***** at ISA*, MTOW, take-off power 792 m/2,600 feet
Maximum range without reserve at Economical Cruise Speed 909 km/491 NM
Endurance without reserve at 148 km/h/80 knots >4 h 20 min

* International Standard Atmosphere

** Sea Level

*** Never Exceed Speed

**** Mode Control Panel

***** Out of Ground Effect

Japan Coast Guard

Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has signed with Airbus Helicopters for an HCare Smart full-by-the-hour material management contract, for a period of five years. Beginning in July, the contract will cover comprehensive maintenance support, including parts-bythe-hour for JCG’s H225 fleet. With the provision of all the parts needed for the maintenance of the rotorcraft in one single contract, this will yield better cost control and forecasting, as well as more efficient day-to-day management for JCG.

The H225 offers the industry’s best speed, range, payload and reliability in an 11-tonne-category twin-turbine rotorcraft
The H225 offers the industry’s best speed, range, payload and reliability in an 11-tonne-category twin-turbine rotorcraft

Earlier this year, JCG has placed an additional order of H225 helicopter, bringing its overall H225 fleet to a total of ten units by March 2021. The newly-signed HCare Smart contract will cover the entirety of ten H225s currently on order, of which five are already in service.

Olivier Tillier, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters Japan said: «This being the first and most large-scale adoption of the HCare Smart programme in the Japanese parapublic market, makes it exceptionally meaningful for Airbus. JCG has been a long-standing customer for more than two decades, and it is fast becoming the largest Super Puma operator in Japan today. We are strongly confident that our highly adaptive HCare Smart programme will deliver high fleet availability, reduce aircraft down-time and reinforce the capabilities of JCG’s fleet. Our Airbus Helicopters team in Japan is fully committed to ensure that JCG’s fleet is always performing at its maximum readiness level, while ensuring the highest level of safety for all missions».

JCG currently operates three AS332s and five H225s. Over the last 25 years, its Airbus fleet has been involved in a multitude of activities, ranging from security enforcement and territorial coastal activities to disaster relief missions in Japan.

Airbus Helicopters’ HCare services provide the most comprehensive aftermarket service coverage, grouped into five domains. Among them, HCare material management offers three different service packages – HCare Infinite, with a full availability commitment; HCare Smart, with four by-the-hour options; and HCare Easy, with on-request catalogue services.

 

Characteristics

CAPACITY
Troop transport 2 pilots + 1 chief of stick + 28 seats
VIP transport 2 pilots + 8 to 12 passengers
Casualty evacuation 2 pilots + up to 11 stretchers + 4 seats
Sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS
Length 16.79 m/55.08 feet
Width 3.96 m/13 feet
Height 4.60 m/15.09 feet
WEIGHT
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 11,000 kg/24,251 lbs
MTOW in external load configuration 11,200 kg/24,690 lbs
Empty weight 5,715 kg/12,600 lbs
Useful load 5,285 kg/11,651 lbs
Maximum cargo-sling load 4,750 kg/10,472 lbs
Standard fuel capacity 2,247 kg/4,954 lbs
ENGINES 2 TURBOMECA MAKILA 2A1
Take-off power per engine 1,567 kW/2,101 shp
PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, ISA*, SL**
Maximum speed (Vne***) 324 km/h/175 knots
Fast cruise speed (at MCP****) 262 km/h/142 knots
Rate of climb 5.4 m/s/1,064 feet/min
Service ceiling (Vz = 0.508 m/s = 100 feet/min) 3,968 m/13,019 feet
Hover ceiling OGE***** at ISA*, MTOW, take-off power 792 m/2,600 feet
Maximum range without reserve at Economical Cruise Speed 909 km/491 NM
Endurance without reserve at 148 km/h/80 knots >4 h 20 min

* International Standard Atmosphere

** Sea Level

*** Never Exceed Speed

**** Mode Control Panel

***** Out of Ground Effect

Manned-Unmanned
Teaming capabilities

Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel have tested Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) capabilities between an H145 platform and a CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS), thus becoming the first European helicopter manufacturers to demonstrate this technology with the highest level of interoperability (LOI°5).

Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel have tested Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM\u002DT) capabilities between an H145 platform and a CAMCOPTER S\u002D100 Unmanned Air System (UAS), thus becoming the first European helicopter manufacturers to demonstrate this technology with the highest level of interoperability (LOI°5)
Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel have tested Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM\u002DT) capabilities between an H145 platform and a CAMCOPTER S\u002D100 Unmanned Air System (UAS), thus becoming the first European helicopter manufacturers to demonstrate this technology with the highest level of interoperability (LOI°5)

The companies carried out test flights with the support of the Austrian Armaments and Defence Technology Agency. The two aircraft jointly flew different scenarios including the detection of objects hidden in places not accessible by traditional helicopters. The S-100 was controlled and piloted by an operator sitting in the helicopter. During the flights, the control was also temporarily handed over to a ground-based control station by the pilot in order to simulate the return of the manned helicopter for refueling.

The trials carried out by Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel went up to MUM-T LOI 5. This allows the manned platform to exercise full control of the UAS including its take-off and landing. LOI 1, the lowest level, is the indirect receipt and /or transmission of sensor data obtained by the UAS to the manned aircraft.

«Manned-Unmanned Teaming multiplies the capabilities of both systems», said Mark R. Henning, Program Manager at Airbus Helicopters. Smaller UAS with vertical take-off and landing capabilities can, for example, fly around obstacles as trees or buildings closer than a helicopter could. They are able to explore unknown territory and deliver information to the helicopter crew which is operating from a safe position and which can then step in with the helicopter’s superior effects, having received a clear picture from the UAS. Our airborne MUM-T management system will become a highly attractive feature for our entire product range including the NH90, NFH, and the Tiger together with the H145 as it adds an extremely valuable operational capability. The MUM-T capability can be implemented in any kind of helicopter and can interact with all types of unmanned systems, in particular Airbus Helicopters’ new VSR 700 UAS.

In the framework of the test, the challenges of data transfer interference and electromagnetic compatibility of the UAS with the helicopter as well as the integration of a complete UAS mission planning and control system into the helicopter’s architecture were successfully managed. The S-100 mission planning and control system was provided by Schiebel. The next step will be to optimize the human machine interface based on a thorough analysis of the crew workload using the results of the flight tests.

The H145 is a tried-and-tested, twin-engine H145 civil helicopter that was first delivered in 2014. It is a rugged workhorse and best in its class for rough EMS and police missions. The H145M is the helicopter’s military version.

Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel successfully demonstrate the highest levels of Manned-Unmanned Teaming capabilities
Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel successfully demonstrate the highest levels of Manned-Unmanned Teaming capabilities

Laser guided rockets

The successful capability enhancement for the H145M continues. In the first weeks of December 2017, Airbus Helicopters demonstrated the ability to fire laser guided rockets (FZ275 LGR from Thales) with its new H145M platform at the Älvdalen test range of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Flight test Centre. In a rough and challenging environment the system performed flawlessly.

H145M successfully launched 70mm Laser Guided Rockets during its firing campaign in Sweden
H145M successfully launched 70mm Laser Guided Rockets during its firing campaign in Sweden

The electro-optical system (MX-15D) from L3 Wescam with embedded laser designation enabled a deviation of less than a meter for all rockets fired at a distance of up to 4.5 km/2.8 miles. This 70-mm/2.75-inch laser guided air-ground rocket enhances the H145M’s engagement capabilities. It fulfils the precision strike needs of the armed forces worldwide by reducing the risk of collateral damage, particularly during asymmetric combat operations.

«The laser guided rockets from Thales performed incredibly well especially taking into consideration the weather conditions we experienced during the trials which were far from ideal with a lot of moisture in the air», said Raymond Laporte, test pilot at Airbus Helicopters.

Following the success of the ballistic firing tests, held in Hungary in October 2017, the achievement of this new milestone with laser guided rockets is in continuity of Airbus Helicopters’ HForce development strategy to boost the H145M mission capability.

Final qualification of the ballistic HForce system on the H145M is scheduled for end of this year, while the laser-guided rockets is planned for end 2019.

 

Characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Length (rotor rotating) 44.72 feet/13.63 m
Fuselage length 38.35 feet/11.69 m
Height 13.12 feet/4 m
Main rotor diameter 36.09 feet/11 m
Width (blades folded) 8.89 feet/2.71 m
CAPABILITIES
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg
Useful Load 3,900 lbs/1,769 kg
Sling load 3,307 lbs/1,500 kg
Maximum seating 1/2 pilots + 10/9 troops
ENGINE
2 × Turbomeca ARRIEL 2E turboshaft engines
Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) 2×771 shp/2×575 kW
Take-Off Power (TOP) 2×894 shp/2×667 kW
2 min One Engine Inoperative (OEI) 1×1,038 shp/1×775 kW
30 sec OEI-power 1×1,072 shp/1×800 kW
PERFORMANCE AT MTOW
Speed (Vne – never exceed speed) 135 knots/155 mph/250 km/h
Fast Cruise speed (Vh – maximum speed) 132 knots/152 mph/244 km/h
Maximum range 357 NM/411 miles/662 km
Hover ceiling OGE (TOP), ISA 8,858 feet/2,700 m

 

Maiden flight

The second prototype of the NH90 Sea Lion commissioned by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr) lifted off from the Donauwörth site for its maiden flight on 24 November 2017.

Second NH90 Sea Lion prototype completes maiden flight
Second NH90 Sea Lion prototype completes maiden flight

Airbus Helicopters is now entering a development testing phase of several months that will focus on avionics and software. Activities for the qualification of the delivery configuration will start over the course of 2018 once additional modifications have been made to the prototype.

Despite the very demanding timetable, the company is convinced that deliveries to the German Navy will start at the end of 2019. Final assembly of the first Sea Lion series production aircraft also started recently; this will run in parallel to the qualification.

 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

OVERALL DIMENSIONS (ROTORS TURNING)
Length 19.56 m/64.18 feet
Width 16.30 m/53.48 feet
Height 5.31 m/17.42 feet
WEIGHTS
Maximum Gross Weight 10,600 kg/23,369 lbs
Alternate Gross Weight 11,000 kg/24,250 lbs
Empty Weight 6,400 kg/14,109 lbs
Useful Load 4,200 kg/9,260 lbs
CARGO CAPACITY
Cargo Hook 4,000 kg/8,818 lbs
Single or dual Rescue Hoist 270 kg/595 lbs
Rescue Hoist on ground 400 kg/880 lbs
Crew (2 + 1); 20 troops in full crashworthy or up to 12 strechers
FUEL CAPACITY
7-Cell Internal System 2,035 kg/4,486 lbs
Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 400 kg/882 lbs
External Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 292 kg/644 lbs
or 500 kg/1,102 lbs
INTERNAL DIMENSIONS
Width 2.00 m/6.56 feet
Length 4.80 m/15.75 feet
Height 1.58 m/5.18 feet
Volume 15.20 m³/536.78 feet³
Sliding doors opening 1.60 × 1.50 m/5.25 × 4.92 feet
Rear ramp opening 1.78 × 1.58 m/5.84 × 5.18 feet
NH90 GENERAL PERFORMANCE (BASIC AIRCRAFT, AT 10,000 KG/22,046 LBS)
Maximum Cruise Speed 300 km/h/162 knots/186 mph
Economical Cruise Speed 260 km/h/140 knots/162 mph
Maximum Rate of Climb 11.2 m/s/2,200 feet/min
OEI (One Engine Inoperative) Rate of Climb 2 min Rating 4.3 m/s/850 feet/min
OEI Rate of Climb Continuous Rating at 2,000 m/6,560 feet 1.5 m/s/300 feet/min
Hover Ceiling IGE (In Ground Effect) 3,200 m/10,500 feet
Hover Ceiling OGE (Out of Ground Effect) 2,600 m/8,530 feet
Maximum Range 530 NM/610 miles/982 km
Maximum Range with 2,500 kg/5,511 lbs payload 486 NM/559 miles/900 km
Maximum Endurance 5 h
Ferry Range (with Internal Aux Fuel Tanks) 864 NM/994 miles/1,600 km
POWER SYSTEM
Twin engine with dual channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)
Two Turbomecca (RTM 322-01/9 or RTM 322-01/9A enhanced version)
or
Two General Electric (GE T700/T6E1 or CT7-8F5 enhanced version)
NH90 ENGINES POWER RATINGS (UNINSTALLED POWER DATA-ISA/SEA LEVEL)
RATING RTM 322-01/9
OEI 30 sec (100%) 2,172 kW/2,913 shp
OEI 2 min 1,855 kW/2,488 shp
OEI Continuous 1,781 kW/2,388 shp
AEO (All Engines Operating) TOP (30 min) (×2) 1,781 kW/2,388 shp
AEO Continuous (×2) 1,664 kW/2,231 shp
RATING GE T700/T6E1*
OEI 30 sec (100%) 2,095 kW/2,809 shp
OEI 2 min 1,842 kW/2,470 shp
OEI 60 min 1,692 kW/2,269 shp
AEO TOP (30 min) (×2) 1,692 kW/2,269 shp
AEO Continuous (×2) 1,577 kW/2,115 shp
ROLE EQUIPMENT
Door mounted pintle machine gun (7.62-mm or 12.7-mm)
Armour protection for cabin (modular)
Self-protection suite

* GE engines with Integrated Particle Separator (IPS)

 

First firing campaign

Airbus Helicopters has recently completed a ballistic development test of an HForce weapon system on a H145M on Pápa Airbase in Hungary. The tested system included guns (FN Herstal HMP400), unguided rockets (Thales FZ231) and cannons (Nexter NC621) as well as an electro-optical targeting system by Wescam (MX15) and a helmet mounted sight display by Thales (Scorpion). All planned and required tests were performed in a tight and demanding time schedule.

Airbus Helicopters completes first firing campaign with HForce-equipped H145M
Airbus Helicopters completes first firing campaign with HForce-equipped H145M

«This is an important milestone towards the qualification of HForce on the H145M, which is planned for end 2018», said Axel Humpert, Head of H145 Programme. «The positive results of this first ballistic development test are the outcome of a very good and professional cooperation between all parties involved, especially with the Hungarian Ministry of Defence».

Next steps prior to the qualification of HForce on the H145M are the development testing of laser-guided rockets in Sweden before the end of the year as well as additional live-firing trials in summer 2018.

HForce is an innovative, incremental and integrated high-performance weapon system that can easily be fitted («plug and play») into Airbus Helicopter’s military platforms such as H125M, H145M and H225M for ambitious and smart military operations where flexibility of mission equipment is a vital criterion. It is designed to meet the requirements of defence agencies seeking light attack mission capabilities or a complement to their existing fleet of specialized attack helicopters. Meanwhile, qualification of the core HForce system is on track for end 2017, following an extensive flight-test campaign carried out on a H225M testbed.

The H145M is a proven military helicopter, derived from the H145, a rugged workhorse and best in its class for rough EMS and police missions. First delivery of the H145 took place in 2014. The entire H145 fleet has now clocked up more than 80,000 flight hours. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes/8,157 lbs the H145M is an agile light attack helicopter. It perfectly matches the needs of Special Forces, can be used for a wide range of tasks, including armed reconnaissance, ground fire support, anti-tank warfare, escort, tactical transport, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC). Customers for the H145M include Germany – which in June received their 15th and final H145M LUH SOF helicopter on time and on budget – as well as the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Thailand.

Airbus Helicopters has recently completed a ballistic development test of an HForce weapon system on a H145M on Pápa Airbase in Hungary
Airbus Helicopters has recently completed a ballistic development test of an HForce weapon system on a H145M on Pápa Airbase in Hungary

 

Characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Length (rotor rotating) 44.72 feet/13.63 m
Fuselage length 38.35 feet/11.69 m
Height 13.12 feet/4 m
Main rotor diameter 36.09 feet/11 m
Width (blades folded) 8.89 feet/2.71 m
CAPABILITIES
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg
Useful Load 3,900 lbs/1,769 kg
Sling load 3,307 lbs/1,500 kg
Maximum seating 1/2 pilots + 10/9 troops
ENGINE
2 × Turbomeca ARRIEL 2E turboshaft engines
Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) 2×771 shp/2×575 kW
Take-Off Power (TOP) 2×894 shp/2×667 kW
2 min One Engine Inoperative (OEI) 1×1,038 shp/1×775 kW
30 sec OEI-power 1×1,072 shp/1×800 kW
PERFORMANCE AT MTOW
Speed (Vne – never exceed speed) 135 knots/155 mph/250 km/h
Fast Cruise speed (Vh – maximum speed) 132 knots/152 mph/244 km/h
Maximum range 357 NM/411 miles/662 km
Hover ceiling OGE (TOP), ISA 8,858 feet/2,700 m

 

Autonomous Guidance

In line with its strategy of innovation for the future of vertical flight, Airbus Helicopters is developing an experimental on board image processing management system aimed at performing automatic approaches and landing in challenging conditions, as well as paving the way for future sense & avoid applications on autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) systems.

Project Eagle aims at improving safety and automation capabilities for existing and future platforms
Project Eagle aims at improving safety and automation capabilities for existing and future platforms

Codenamed Eagle, for Eye for Autonomous Guidance and Landing Extension, this system federates the entire helicopter’s image processing functions and feeds them into the avionics system, thus improving the crew’s situation awareness and reducing the pilot’s workload by automating and securing approaches, take-off and landing in the most demanding environments. Ground tests of Eagle have been ongoing since May this year and initial flights tests on a testbed helicopter will begin shortly.

«While existing missions such as search and rescue and offshore transportation will benefit from Eagle’s capabilities, the system will also help address future requirements for operations in urban environments», said Tomasz Krysinski, Airbus Helicopters Vice-President Research & Technology. «Ultimately, thanks to its ability to provide increased situation awareness, Eagle will also contribute to improve the safety, autonomy and performance of future unmanned vehicles».

The system, which could be embedded in a variety of existing and future Airbus VTOL vehicles, relies on a gyro-stabilized optronics package, which includes three high resolution cameras and state-of-the-art processing units, as well as on-board video analytics providing advanced functionalities such as object detection and tracking, digital noise reduction as well as deep learning.

Future versions of the Eagle system will also integrate a laser, which combined with the high processing capability could open the door to other applications such as a new generation of search lights, obstacles detection and 3D terrain reconstruction.

Lion maiden flight

8 December 2016, the NH90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter took off on its on-schedule maiden flight at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth. Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland; Ralph Herzog, Director in the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, Chief of the German Navy welcomed this important milestone in the programme.

German Navy NH90 Sea Lion performs maiden flight
German Navy NH90 Sea Lion performs maiden flight

«We are proud to be delivering this state-of-the-art naval helicopter to the German Armed Forces on time», said Wolfgang Schoder. «This new generation of NH90 naval helicopters, the Sea Lion, has benefited from experience gathered by other countries who have been using it». The NH90 has an increased number of sensors and improved navigation and communications equipment, which means that this military helicopter will also be able to operate in civil air space. The military friend/foe identification has also been updated to the latest standards.

For the BAAINBw in Koblenz, the Sea Lion is also a special project: «We need to keep to a tight schedule if we are to replace the Sea King in time. This requires all those participating in the project to coordinate quickly and efficiently to achieve this», explained Ralph Herzog. «By using an existing NH90 model as the basis for the Sea Lion and adding the required additional functionalities to it, we have been able to significantly reduce the delivery process. This model is also configured not only to be an adequate replacement for the Sea King but is designed so that it can be adapted to future roles».

«The Navy is looking forward, as the first customer, to be receiving the NH90 Sea Lion on time by the end of 2019», said Vice Admiral Andreas Krause. «We are now expecting a successful test phase». Meanwhile, the Navy is preparing intensively for the acceptance of the helicopters with technical and flight personnel already training. Further measures have commenced at their future home, the Nordholz naval air base. Infrastructural changes and new buildings are necessary.

Deliveries of NH90 Sea Lions to the Navy will 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 have ordered 18 of these helicopters altogether, with the last due to go into service in 2022. 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 will not merely replace the Bundeswehr’s Sea King Mk41 fleet but significantly enhance the Navy’s operational capabilities. The electronic fly-by-wire flight controls of the NH90 Sea Lion reduce the crew’s workload. Other benefits of this control system are its high precision and ease of use, which particularly come to the fore in over-water hovering, even in poor weather conditions.

The NH90 Sea Lion shell is manufactured from advanced, high-strength composite materials. This offers optimum protection for the crew thanks to its excellent crash behaviour.

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: in humanitarian and SAR and military missions on land and on board naval vessels. The German NH90 Sea Lion programme has greatly benefited from the experience gained from these operations. Altogether 129 NH90 NFH helicopters have been ordered; the total for all NH90 models comes to 515. The whole NH90 fleet comprising 296 helicopters delivered so far has already completed over 120,000 flying hours.

 

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS

Overall dimensions (rotors turning)
Length 64.18 feet/19.56 m
Width 53.48 feet/16.30 m
Height 17.42 feet/5.31 m
Weights
Maximum Gross Weight 23,369 lbs/10,600 kg
Alternate Gross Weight 24,250 lbs/11,000 kg
Empty Weight 14,109 lbs/6,400 kg
Useful Load 9,260 lbs/4,200 kg
Cargo Capacity
Cargo Hook 8,818 lbs/4,000 kg
Single or dual Rescue Hoist 595 lbs/270 kg
Rescue Hoist on ground 880 lbs/400 kg
Fuel Capacity
7-Cell Internal System 4,486 lbs/2,035 kg
Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 882 lbs/400 kg
External Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (each) 644 lbs/292 kg or 1,102 lbs/500 kg
Internal Dimensions
Width 6.56 feet/2.00 m
Length 15.75 feet/4.80 m
Height 5.18 feet/1.58 m
Volume 536.78 feet³/15.20 m³
Sliding doors opening 5.25 × 4.92 feet/1.60 × 1.50 m
Rear ramp opening 5.84 × 5.18 feet/1.78 × 1.58 m
NH90 General Performance (Basic Aircraft)
Maximum Cruise Speed* 162 knots/186 mph/300 km/h
Economical Cruise Speed* 140 knots/161 mph/260 km/h
Maximum Rate Of Climb* 2,200 feet/min/11.2 m/sec
One Engine Inoperative (OEI) Rate Of Climb 2 min Rating* 850 feet/min/4.3 m/sec
OEI Rate Of Climb Continuous Rating at 6,560 feet/2,000 m* 300 feet/min/1.5 m/sec
Hover Ceiling In Ground Effect (IGE)* 10,500 feet/3,200 m
Hover Ceiling Out of Ground Effect (OGE)* 8,530 feet/2,600 m
Maximum Range 530 NM/610 miles/982 km
Maximum Range with 5,511.5 lbs/2,500 kg payload 486 NM/559 miles/900 km
Maximum Endurance 5 h
Ferry Range (with Internal Aux Fuel Tanks) 864 NM/994 miles/1,600 km

* At 22,046 lbs/10,000 kg

Indonesian Panther

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first three of the 11 AS565 MBe Panther helicopters to Indonesia, ahead of contract schedule, at a ceremony at Airbus Helicopters’ headquarters in Marignane, in the presence of representatives from Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence and the Indonesian Navy.

First three of 11 AS565 MBe Panther helicopters handed over to PT Dirgantara Indonesia
First three of 11 AS565 MBe Panther helicopters handed over to PT Dirgantara Indonesia

This follows the contract signature in late 2014 with PT Dirgantara Indonesia for 11 AS565 MBe helicopters. The delivery of the remaining helicopters will run through to 2018.

«We are excited to witness the handover of the first three AS565 MBe helicopters to our partner today», said Janick Blanc, Head of the Panther programme at Airbus Helicopters. «The AS565 MBe has been developed using state-of-the-art processes and this enhanced variant of the Panther will benefit from an increased maximum take-off weight at 9,921 lbs/4,500 kg. This will provide increased mission capabilities, specifically for the Anti-Submarine Warfare missions these rotorcrafts are expected to perform», he added.

Under the agreement, Airbus Helicopters will supply the AS565 MBe helicopters to its Indonesia industrial partner PT Dirgantara Indonesia, who will reassemble and outfit these rotorcraft in-country, acting as the design authority. This will notably cover the installation of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) suite which includes a dipping sonar and torpedo launch systems, allowing the Indonesian Navy to carry out its most demanding missions.

This Indonesian MBe Panther programme is the latest of a long-standing relationship between Airbus Helicopters and PT Dirgantara Indonesia, who celebrated their 40 years of strategic partnership earlier this month. The two companies have delivered more than 190 helicopters together, through joint programmes over the last four decades.

«We have been working with Airbus Helicopters on numerous projects for many years by now, and this milestone today further illustrates the commitment both companies have towards this programme», said Budi Santoso, CEO and President of PT Dirgantara Indonesia. «We look forward to receiving these green helicopters in Bandung, as we ready to start the installation of the mission equipment, and the subsequent qualification and certification of our future anti-submarine warfare helicopters», he added.

Recognised as one of the world’s most capable light/medium anti-submarine warfare platforms, the AS565 MBe is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, which enhance the helicopter’s performance in high and hot conditions, while enabling it to achieve a top speed of 165 knots/190 mph/305 km/h and a range of 485 miles/781 kilometres. It also boasts a new main gearbox, the latest-generation tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot that reduces crew workload and makes the most demanding missions easier to perform.

Deliveries to run through to 2018
Deliveries to run through to 2018

 

Characteristics

CAPACITY
Crew 2 pilot + 10 troops
Sling load: 3,527 lbs/1,600 kg
WEIGHT
Maximum Takeoff weight (internal or external load) 4,500 kg/9,921 lbs
ENGINE
2 Turbomeca Arriel 2N turboshaft engines, Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)
Maximum power per engine (OEI 30-second rating) 842 kW/1,129 shp
PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, SL, ISA
Fast cruise speed 143 knots/164 mph/264 km/h
Top speed 165 knots/190 mph/305 km/h
Range with optional auxiliary tanks (at RCS 145 knots/167 mph/269 km/h) 422 NM/485 miles/781 km
AS565 MBe will bring increased mission capabilities, specifically for anti-submarine warfare missions
AS565 MBe will bring increased mission capabilities, specifically for anti-submarine warfare missions