Showing posts with label NH90. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NH90. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Where snow giants play............The Finnish Defence Forces use the NH90 in the country’s cold, dark winters—proof it’s able to take a beating

At minus-30° C, there’s little room for waiting around. Either you’re prepared or you suffer. Either your helicopter starts or you pack it in.

It is the former for the Finnish Army, where wintertime in the northern latitudes promises below-zero temperatures, permanent snow cover, and less than six hours of daylight on the shortest days. In this unforgiving terrain, the army operates NH90 TTH helicopters from its base at Utti, near Finland’s southern coast.

In 2015, the Finnish Defence Forces received their 20th and final NH90 as part of a fleet replacement programme, retrofitting them over the next four years to become one of the first NH90 user nations with its fleet 100% at final operational capability.

As the only armed forces branch with a helicopter regiment (the Border Guard also operates rotorcraft), the Finnish Army is called on for the whole spectrum of missions. Special Operations Forces (SOF) make up the bulk, but they support all three branches as, for example, the Army with troop and cargo transport, the Air Force with search and rescue and, in a year’s time, the Navy with tactical sea mine drops. On the civil side, the army supports law enforcement, as well as the national health system doing medevac and search and rescue. Not to mention fire fighting with the Bambi bucket.

The Spanish NH90: ready for Mali

In September 2016 the Spanish Army received its first NH90 tactical troop transport helicopters (TTH). Since then, a total of 14 NH90s have been delivered in the Standard 1 and 2 configurations. Now that they are fully operational, these helicopters will be undertaking their first overseas deployment in the coming months to take part in the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali to support the Malian Army.

The NH90s operated by the BHELMA III (1) of the FAMET (2) will be tasked with providing tactical transport, support for special operations forces, combat recovery and combat SAR, electronic warfare, logistics support, medical evacuation operations and fire support with their two M3M MK3 12.7 mm machine guns.

Greater capacity for the FAMET

Brigadier Francisco Javier Marcos Izquierdo, Commander of the FAMET, had the following to say regarding the incorporation of the NH90: “The improvements offered by this latest-generation helicopter (enhanced speed, range and navigation, all-weather capacity, more secure communications, greater load capacity at high altitude and in hot conditions, etc.) enhance our effectiveness when carrying out missions such as tactical transport, aerial assaults and other special operations in the most demanding conditions.”

Over the last five years, the main focus has been on completing the training of pilots, specialists and on-board operators. More than 6,000 flight hours have been devoted to these tasks, while maintaining operational availability levels comparable to those of other fleets using this model. New mission systems have been progressively incorporated to optimise its features (ballistics protection, roller loading system, 12.7 mm machine guns, electronic warfare system, rappel and fast rope systems and a cargo hook). Meanwhile, the Standard 2 configuration of the Spanish NH90 includes new equipment such as the ultra-long-range electrooptical/ infra-red system, the IRIDIUM satellite telephone and a double rescue hoist.