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Eurosatory 2022: NHI expects study agreement on NH90 lifetime extension ‘very soon'

As the newest operator of the NH90, Qatar could see its helicopters in service for the next 50 years under an upgrade path outlined by NHIndustries. (Leonardo)

The NHIndustries (NHI) consortium that manages the NH90 multirole helicopter project expects to shortly finalise a deal to study a proposed lifetime extension of the aircraft beyond its original 30 years, a senior official noted ahead of Eurosatory 2022.

Speaking at Airbus Helicopters' Marignane facility in southern France in late May, Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, head of the NH90 programme at Airbus Helicopters and NHI, said that she expected a deal to be signed with the NATO Helicopter Design and Development, Production and Logistics Management Agency (NAHEMA) “very soon”.

“We are now very confident that we can extend the lifetime of the aircraft – the airframe and the engines. This is something that was requested by the customers who want to continue to operate the aircraft until at least 2050, and longer for those that have just got their machines,” Tarnaud-Laude said. “The lifetime extension agreement should be signed very soon, in a matter of months. I think it is very close.”

Having entered operational service in 2007, the NH90 is halfway through its originally intended 30-year lifespan. NHI intends to extend this to 50 years with a raft of improvements detailed in a Future Evolutions road map. Significant elements of this road map comprise four main pillars of focusing on the mission and reducing crew workload; greater connectivity (to include manned-unmanned teaming); improved survivability; and the addition of growth potential via a new modular architecture.

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