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Second NH90 Sea Lion Naval Helicopter for German Navy Completes Maiden Flight

Naval Aviation News - Germany
Second NH90 Sea Lion Naval Helicopter for German Navy Completes 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.
NH90 Sea Lion German Navy Marine The second prototype of the NH90 Sea Lion Helicopter completed its maiden flight. Picture: Airbus Helicopter
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 seriesproduction aircraft also started recently; this will run in parallel to the qualification.

About NH90 Sea Lion
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 (Bundeswehr) 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.