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German Navy NH90 Sea Tiger makes first flight

The first NH90 Sea Tiger completed its maiden flight on schedule at Airbus Helicopters’ site in Donauwörth, Germany, on 30 November.

The German Bundeswehr had placed an order for 31 NH90 Sea Tiger multi-role frigate helicopters for the German Navy’s shipborne operations in 2020. Airbus Helicopters is now in the qualification phase, which will focus on flight testing the helicopter and new systems to be installed on board the NH90 Sea Tiger. Deliveries are expected to commence by the end of 2025.

The helicopters will replace the German Navy’s ageing Mk88A Sea Lynx fleet which entered into service in 1981. The Bundeswehr already operates 18 NH90 Sea Lion naval transport helicopters which were delivered on schedule between 2019 and 2023.

The Sea Tiger is the latest version of the proven NH90 NFH (Naval Version). It has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the German Navy for a state-of-the-art anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

The Sea Tiger comes with new features such as an Electro-Optical System and improved Electronic Support Measures (ESM). Additionally, it is equipped with a dipping sonar, sonobuoys, and weapons (torpedoes and missiles).

The shipborne Sea Tigers’ missions include reconnaissance, transport, and engaging targets above and below the surface. So far, 135 naval NH90 helicopters have been delivered to six nations and have completed over 90,000 flight hours in search and rescue, humanitarian, and military operations.

There are more than 500 NH90 helicopters in service worldwide, accumulating over 370,000 flight hours. NHIndustries is the largest rotorcraft joint venture, responsible for the design, manufacturing, and support of the NH90 helicopter, one of the leaders in the latest generation of military helicopters.

The company is owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%), and GKN Fokker (5.5%), each with a long aerospace pedigree and bringing their top skills and expertise to the end product.

“We are proud to equip the German Navy with the NH90 Sea Tiger. Operating both the NH90 Sea Lion and the Sea Tiger will allow the Navy to further streamline its operations and maintenance,” said Stefan Thomé, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Germany. “The NH90 Sea Lion, which is already in service with the Navy, has recently proven its capabilities during a first major rescue operation in the North Sea.”

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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