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Maiden flight for German Sea Tiger helo

The first of 31 Sea Tiger helicopters for the German Navy departed Donauwörth production facility on its maiden flight on 30 November. (Airbus)

The NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 Sea Tiger for the German Navy (Deutsche Marine) made its maiden flight on 30 November.

The milestone took place at Airbus Helicopter's Donauwörth production facility in southern Germany, ahead of flight trials and delivery to the navy in 2025.

The Sea Tiger is an enhanced version of the German-specific Sea Lion that is itself an enhanced version of the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH). Modifications in the Sea Tiger fit include electronic support measures, a dipping sonar, sonobuoys, heavy-stores carriage, AS2u Marte Mk 2 missile, MU90 torpedo, additional internal and external fuel tanks, a stores management system, as well as a second mission console.

The Deutsche Marine is acquiring 31 Sea Tigers to replace its Westland Mk 88A Sea Lynx helicopters in the anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare roles and 18 Sea Lions to replace its Westland Mk 41 Sea Kings in the search-and-rescue, maritime surveillance, vertical replenishment, and transport roles. Sea Lion deliveries were completed earlier in 2023.

In securing the German order, the Sea Tiger beat off competition from Lockheed Martin, which was pitching the MH-60R Seahawk, and Leonardo with the AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat.

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