The Sea Lion variant of the NHIndustries NH90 helicopter has passed two important milestones towards first delivery to the German Navy at the end of 2019, Airbus announced on 21 November.
The German Navy version of the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) recently completed its service qualification trials, as well as the first electrical power-on of the first production-standard aircraft.
As noted by Airbus, with all ground and flight tests for the qualification of the Sea Lion having been concluded in early November, the formal closure of the qualification phase is expected in the first quarter of 2019. This will be followed by the military type certification by the German authorities in the second quarter of 2019 ahead of delivery to the navy in the fourth quarter of the year. 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, Airbus said.
Separately, on 24 October the first production-standard Sea Lion helicopter successfully completed the first power-on of all electrical systems in the final assembly line at Airbus Helicopters’ production facility in Donauwörth, southern Germany.
Launched at the ILA Airshow in Berlin in May 2014, the Sea Lion is largely similar in scope to the baseline NFH-variant helicopter but features some German-specific equipment such as radios and other communications systems. The Sea Lions are intended to provide continued anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface vessel warfare (ASuW), maritime surveillance, search and rescue (SAR), vertical replenishment, and transport capabilities for the German Navy’s F124 Sachsen-class frigates, the planned F125 Baden-Württemberg-class frigates, and the Berlin-class (Type 702) combat support vessels.
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