Tag Archives: NH90 Sea Lion

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.



Length 19.56 m/64.18 feet
Width 16.30 m/53.48 feet
Height 5.31 m/17.42 feet
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 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
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
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
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
Twin engine with dual channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)
Two Turbomecca (RTM 322-01/9 or RTM 322-01/9A enhanced version)
Two General Electric (GE T700/T6E1 or CT7-8F5 enhanced version)
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
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
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)


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.



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
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