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

14 April, 2023

In the eye of the storm.......New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) used Airbus NH90 throughout the rescue operations

No.3 Squadron rose to the challenge with the NH90 after Cyclone Gabrielle

In February 2023, Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle hit the North Island of New Zealand, devastating parts of the region and putting the inhabitants’ lives at risk. This severe weather event followed high rainfall in January that had already caused extensive damage to the North Island, including in Auckland. A key contributor to the disaster relief operations led by the National Emergency Management Agency and regional civil emergency authorities, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was able to rely on a significant ally throughout the rescue operations: the NH90.

Even before Gabrielle reached New Zealand, first responders were part of careful planning and organisation. Ahead of the cyclone, the NZDF had personnel on standby, ready to assist with the emergency response: air and land elements were quickly deployed to assist with the immediate response including the evacuation of residents, and provided reconnaissance flights to help authorities understand the impact of the cyclone and assist with planning relief efforts. At the height of the climatic event, extensive damage to roads, and widespread power and communications outages caused multiple operational challenges for all agencies engaged in the emergency response. The NZDF mobilised nearly 1,000 personnel, along with several ships, aircraft, and numerous military vehicles.

To sustain the disaster relief effort, No. 3 Squadron deployed three NH90 helicopters to Hawke’s Bay and one to Auckland. “By the end of the first week of emergency response, the Air Force’s NH90s had distributed more than 42.5 tonnes of essential supplies throughout Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti, flying for more than 120 hours and transporting more than 260 civilian and military personnel, along with 17 dogs and five cats, and had underslung more than 13 tonnes of equipment”, says Wing Commander Greg Jane, Commanding Officer of No.3 Squadron.

An essential contribution to the emergency response

11 September, 2022

Finnish NH90 proves its worth during international military joint exercises

The stakes were high this summer for the Finnish armed forces and their NH90s when the British Army and the U.S. Navy and Army air and ground assets showed up to perform the biggest helicopter test operation ever to take place in Finland.
Photo Airbus

The stakes were high this summer for the Finnish armed forces and their NH90s when the British Army and the U.S. Navy and Army air and ground assets showed up to perform the biggest helicopter test operation ever to take place in Finland. The exercise, code-named “Vigilant Fox” was set up “to train interoperability and to see where the Finnish armed forces stand on the international stage,” explained Lieutenant Colonel, Kimmo Nordberg, Chief of Army Aviation at the Finnish Army Command. Vigilant Fox consisted of four days of high-readiness exercises in early August 2022, as the local armed forces prepare to join NATO in the coming future. It focused on interoperability between air and land forces with both offensive and defensive missions set up. According to the British Army, it was a critical testing exercise to prepare allies for future joint operations.

Helicopters played a key role in the operations with up to 19 aircraft at the centre of various military scenarios including helicopter assaults and short-notice raids. Ten Finnish NH90s from the Utti Jaeger regiment were involved as well as 750 British, American and Finnish troops.

The NH90 up to the task

The stakes were high this summer for the Finnish armed forces and their NH90s when the British Army and the U.S. Navy and Army air and ground assets showed up to perform the biggest helicopter test operation ever to take place in Finland.
Photo Airbus
Twenty NH90s were delivered to Finland between 2008 and 2015. The first of these helicopters was assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Marignane, the 19 following helicopters were assembled by Patria in Finland. The NH90 is seen as a truly multi-mission platform: “the main task is troop and material transport, but we also conduct SOF (Special Forces) missions, tactical mine laying for the Navy, CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) for the Airforce, SAR (search and Rescue) in support of other authorities, support to special police, MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) etc.” says Nordberg. “The NH90 is a very capable helicopter. Along with transport capability, it is extremely fast and its high endurance means it can cover a great distance”, he added.

Careful planning for Vigilant Fox

Vigilant Fox was a unique opportunity for the Finnish crews to prove their worth - and the worth of the NH90 - in realistic large-scale exercises. “The NH90 performed very well. We had ten NH90s ready for operation and they worked perfectly. Troops were delivered right on schedule”. The exercise culminated with the ten Finnish NH90s flying together at the same time. “We had made the decision to aim for this number of helicopters back in the spring. The Helicopter battalion made careful preparations regarding how much they would fly and with which helicopters and then the maintenance cycles were adapted. It is all about careful planning for maintenance and flight duties - as well as having support from the industry to ensure the needed spare parts are available,” explains Nordberg.

A promising start to future collaborations with the NH90

In the end, the Finnish NH90s proved they were ready for high-intensity operations: “It wasn’t just the NH90s that needed to prove themselves - but also the crews! So our main goal was to train, plan, lead and execute this large-scale operation with 19 helicopters at the same time in the same area. If the NH90 proved itself, that means the crews did too. They did an excellent job”. A good aircraft and dedicated crews? Definitely a winning combination for the Finnish armed forces!
The stakes were high this summer for the Finnish armed forces and their NH90s when the British Army and the U.S. Navy and Army air and ground assets showed up to perform the biggest helicopter test operation ever to take place in Finland.
Photo Airbus

13 June, 2022

NHIndustries and NAHEMA sign innovative NH90 support contract

NHIndustries and NAHEMA sign innovative NH90 support contract

Photo  Patrick Heinz
NHIndustries has signed an innovative NH90 support contract with the NATO agency NAHEMA, acting as the contracting authority on behalf of the Direction générale de l'armement (the French Armament General Directorate) and the Direction de la maintenance aéronautique (the French Aeronautics Support Directory) for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces and the BAAINBww for the German Ministry of Defence. This contract will improve the availability rates of the NH90 naval (NFH) and tactical (TTH) helicopters.

The NH90 Operational Support (NOS) contract, which will be performance-based, will see both nations delegating a major part of their logistics and maintenance activity to NHIndustries, enabling them to focus on their operations. The agreement was also designed in a way that allows additional nations to join at any time.

"NHIndustries is fully committed to ensuring customer satisfaction, and the contents of this agreement have been carefully crafted in order to provide the French and German armed forces with the right set of services for improving NH90 operability, affordability and serviceability.  This new support contract will also strengthen our current relationship with our partner NAHEMA,” says Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, President of NHIndustries. “The contract includes support of the customers’ continuing airworthiness management organisations, which ensures the continued airworthiness of aircraft and their parts, and establishes an improved approach for supply chain management for spare parts and component MRO.”

“This agreement, made up of a harmonized set of services that cover the operational needs of several helicopter variants, marks a new phase of the dynamic engagement between NHIndustries and NAHEMA”, says Admiral Giorgio Gomma, General Manager of NAHEMA. “We are confident that this new approach will improve the effectiveness of NH90 fleets and could soon be expanded to other nations that operate these helicopters.”

18 December, 2021

The NH90 rescues six in the grip of an offshore storm

On Monday, 5 July 2021, radio and television reports issued warnings: Storm Zyprian was approaching Brittany, bringing with it winds of more than 110 km/h (60 knots). At the Lanvéoc-Poulmic naval air base everyone knew exactly what this meant. For several decades, the helicopters of Air Naval Squadron 33F have been standing guard. The outstanding Super Frelon that was in service from 1979 to 2010 was replaced in 2011 by the equally impressive NH90 Caïman. However, Public Service (PS) missions have remained essential: they still involve taking off in all weather conditions, facing the raging elements and providing assistance, far out to sea if necessary. Most of the 33F’s resources are based at Lanvéoc-Poulmic (Presqu'ile de Crozon, Brittany), but it also supplies the PS unit in Cherbourg, as well as aircraft and crews onboard multi-mission frigates.

Too far for SNSM’s star

“On 5 July, due to the storm, the Maritime Operations Centre in Brest had placed us on high alert to take off in less than an hour,” explains Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste, aircraft commander. “One aircraft was reserved for this alert, and we had also requested the preparation of a replacement aircraft.”

By the end of the day, the winds had strengthened over the Finistère department and swept relentlessly inland. Further west, on the open sea, it was hell for the occupants of the Don Quijote, a 12 meter Danish sailing vessel facing a force 7 sea, with 8 meter high waves. Shortly after 9 p.m., the vessel was overturned by a breaker and lost its mast. There was only one thing left for the crew to do: activate the distress beacon and wait, hoping that emergency services would be able to face the elements... In the next few minutes, the CROSS (Regional Operational Centre for Monitoring and Rescue) picked up the signal and gave the alert. The sinking vessel was located 80 nautical miles off the coast, west of the Crozon peninsula. This was too far for the SNSM rescue vessel: rescue by helicopter was the only option.

“I was at home, just checking the weather situation when the alert was triggered,” continued Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste. “They quickly explained the situation to me: we knew it was a sailing vessel, we knew its geographical position, but we didn’t know exactly what the problem was. I suggested to the CROSS that the helicopter should be medically equipped and sent out with the French Army Health Service’s SMUR maritime team put on call. I quickly called my helicopter diver and we agreed that we should also take a second diver as backup: the situation on the vessel could be very complicated...”

By the time the emergency crew had gathered and geared up, the aircraft was out of its hangar and ready to go. The procedure is well established: just 38 minutes after the first phone call from CROSS, the NH90 Number 17, call sign Rescue Cyclone Victor, was in the air, heading west. Onboard were the pilot (also aircraft commander), the TACCO (tactical coordinator and co-pilot), a winch operator, two divers, a doctor and a nurse.

01 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.