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Swedish Armed Forces recommends replacing NH90, buying additional UH-60M helos

Unable to bring its NH90s up to the required standard, the Swedish Armed Forces has recommended that the type be replaced entirely. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Sweden is set to replace its NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 maritime helicopters, at the same time as expanding its fleet of land-roled UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

The Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Micael Bydén, made the announcement on 1 November as part of a raft of wider planned capability enhancements delivered for consideration to the Swedish government.

“Air defence is proposed to be strengthened, among other things, through the acquisition of a new sea-operational helicopter, and an additional ground-operational helicopter 16,” Gen Bydén said, referring to the UH-60M's national designation of HKP 16.

The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) operates 18 NH90 helicopters that were acquired across a range of interim HKP 14A–E configurations, with the ultimate objective of fielding nine HKP 14E troop transport/assault/search-and-rescue (SAR) and HKP 14F anti-submarine warfare (ASW)/anti-surface warfare (ASuW)/SAR standard aircraft.

Sweden's NH90 fleet was to have been fully operational in 2008, but this has been progressively delayed and is still not achieved, with Janes World Air Forces noting that the SwAF has, on average, access to between 10 and 12 helicopters of differing configurations at any one time.

Speaking at a pre-Farnborough Airshow event in London on 17 July, SwAF Commander Major General Carl-Johan Edström said that the NH90 was not performing as required, adding that a review of the service's rotary-wing requirements later in 2022 would determine the type's future.

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