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Dutch NH90s to receive mid-life upgrade

All 19 Dutch NH90 helicopters are to undergo an mid-life upgrade to see them through to the mid-2040s. (Leonardo)

The Netherlands is to implement a mid-life upgrade (MLU) to its entire fleet of NHIndustries NH90 helicopters, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 15 April.

All 11 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) and eight marinised Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) NH90s will go through the process that is designed to remove obsolescence issues from the platforms that were received from 2010, but which date back to the 1990s.

“All 19 NH90 maritime combat helicopters are getting a major makeover,” Dutch State Secretary for Defence Christophe van der Maat said. “This so-called mid-life update is necessary to keep the devices operationally relevant.”

The Netherlands employs the NH90s across a range of roles, including shipborne combat support and reconnaissance, counter-narcotics, and anti-piracy missions, as well as humanitarian disaster relief.

According to the MoD, the MLU, which has been drawn up with other NH90 operators, will include an upgrade to the aircraft's software, modernisation of the sensors and navigation and communication systems, and improvements to the logistics and training systems, including the flight simulator.

“The equipment is now outdated,” the MoD said. “After the mid-life update, the [helicopters will] have been modernised and future-proof[ed] again.”

The first NH90s are expected to be modernised in 2027, with the programme expected to keep the type in service through to the mid 2040s.

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