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Eurosatory 2022: France showcases special forces configuration for NH90

A full-scale mock-up of the NH90 special forces configuration was displayed at the Eurosatory 2022 event in Paris. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The French Ministry of Armed Forces showcased the special forces configuration it is developing for the NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 helicopter, with a cabin mock-up displayed at the Eurosatory 2022 event in Paris.

France is to convert at least 10 of its 74 NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) platforms to a new special operations forces (SOF) configuration, to be designated Standard 2/NH90 FS (Forces Spéciales).

With the main cabin mock-up shown at Eurosatory from 13 to 17 June, the head of the NH90 programme at Airbus Helicopters and NHI, Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, outlined some of the significant features of the work, and noted that the consortium that builds the NH90 is to roll out the Standard 2 upgrade in two steps.

“The Standard 2 [being developed for French special forces] is about adding the Euroflir EOS [electro-optical system] from Safran, the provision of the future DAS [defensive aids suite] from Safran and a new [TopOwl] colour HMD [helmet-mounted display] from Thales, a new digital map, a new larger cargo door to allow special forces to exit much quicker, and an enlarged rear window on the side of the aircraft which can fit a gun,” Tarnaud-Laude told Janes and other defence media ahead of the event, adding, “There will be two steps, and Step 1 is the one we are currently passing. One of the requirements of us was that if we are going to do this in two steps, the second step would not involve a heavy retrofit.”

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