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NHIndustries delivers 500th NH90 helicopter

The 500th NH90 for the international programme was handed over to the French Army on 17 March. The programme has 97 more to deliver under current orders. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

NHIndustries delivered the 500th NH90 helicopter during a ceremony at the Marignane production facility in southern France on 17 March.

The consortium comprising Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%), and Fokker Aerostructures (5.5%) marked the milestone some 16 years after customer deliveries began, handing over the latest helicopter to the French Army.

β€œ[On this 500th delivery], the NH90 has much more to give,” Axel Aloccio, president NHI, said. β€œIt is only at the beginning of its life, so stay tuned for the future.”

The NH90 has its roots in NATO studies from the early 1980s (with the NH90 designation reflecting its then planned in-service date of the 1990s), and was avowedly European in its focus. Even with such a relatively tight geographic focus and having been developed to what were initially conceived of as common aims, the NH90 has been developed in a wide range of configurations to suit specific customer requirements. These range from relatively minor differences, such as seat layouts, to more complex mission suites, sensor packages, and weapon suites.

Although launched as a European requirement, the NH90 has seen global sales success in the decades since it was launched. A total of 597 NH90 helicopters of both the two primary Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) variants have been contracted to date, comprising partners Belgium (8), France (101), Germany (131), Italy (116), and the Netherlands (20), as well as export countries Australia (47), Finland (20), Greece (20), New Zealand (9), Norway (14), Oman (20), Qatar (28), Spain (45), and Sweden (18).

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