The NHIndustries-developed NH90 Sea Lion has recently achieved two important milestones ahead of the official first delivery of the helicopter to the German Navy at the end of 2019.
As announced by Airbus, all ground and flight tests for the qualification of the new NH90 variant were concluded in the beginning of November.
The formal closure of the qualification is expected in the first quarter of 2019, followed by the military type certification by the German authorities in the second quarter of 2019.
The qualification aircraft, the second Sea Lion prototype, is now entering the lay-up phase for upgrading the helicopter to serial configuration and preparing it for delivery to the Bundeswehr. A total of 18 helicopters are on order.
Before completing qualification trials, the Sea Lion completed the first power-on of all electrical systems in the final assembly line at Airbus Helicopters in Donauwörth in October this year.
The NH90 helicopters will replace the old ‘Sea King’ which has been in service with the German Navy for 40 years. All 18 units ordered are expected to be in the fleet by 2022.
The helicopters will be used for search and rescue missions, flight operations for combat support ships and for deploying boarding- and special forces. Integration of medical equipment will allow the Sea King to start performing land-based SAR operations from 2022.
In addition to performing land-based SAR missions, the NH90 Sea Lion is also intended to operate on Type 702 (Berlin class) combat support ships.