NHIndustries (NHI) has flown the first of 22 new NH90 helicopters for Qatar, with the consortium announcing in late December 2020 that both variants ordered by the Gulf state had made their maiden flights.
One of the two NH90s for Qatar that made their maiden flights in December 2020. The Gulf state is on course to receive 12 maritime NFH and 16 land-based TTH variant NH90s from later this year through to the end of 2025. (NHI)
According to NHI, the flights of the first NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) and Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) variant NH90 for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) included take-off, general handling, functional checks, and landing operations.
“The [first] flights were completed on 15 and 18 December  at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera plant and Airbus Helicopters Marignane (Marseille) plant respectively, setting a major milestone in the Qatar Ministry of Defence’s NH90 programme development,” said the European NHI consortium of Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo, and Fokker, adding that, “[The] crew reported that helicopters performed as expected.”
The QEAF is due to receive 12 maritime NFH and 16 land-based TTH variant NH90s under a USD2.8 billion deal signed in March 2018. While NFH usually denotes NATO Frigate Helicopter, in its press release NHI referred to the platform as the Naval Frigate Helicopter. NHI had not responded to a
request for clarification on this different nomenclature by the time of publication.
The acceptance of the first NH90s by the QEAF is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025. As part of the deal, an option remains for six additional aircraft of each type.