Airbus Helicopters conducts first flight with Qatari NH90 TTH Tactical Troop Transport helicopter

According to a press release published on December 23, 2020, the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s NH90 helicopter program marked a major milestone last week with the first flights of NH90 tactical troop transport (TTH) helicopter for Qatari air Force, assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane site in France. The flights allowed crews to evaluate general handling and basic systems and the helicopters performed as expected.

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Airbus Helicopters conducts first flight with Qatari NH90 TTH Tactical Troop Transport helicopter 925 001 First flight with the Qatari NH90 TTH Tactical Troop TRansport helicopter. (Picture source Leonardo)

Qatar’s NH90 program includes 16 NH90 TTHs for land operations, 12 NH90 NFHs for naval missions, comprehensive support, maintenance & training services package and associated infrastructure. The program has the potential to be extended in the future with the addition of 6 + 6 units in a mixture of TTH and NFH variants. Leonardo is the prime contractor for the overall program and is also responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice Tessera facility.

The company is also supplying simulators, training aids and extensive maintenance support and training services package for aircrews and maintenance technicians. Leonardo is providing, contributing to or supporting the integration of various avionics and sensor payloads, including the Leonardo LEOSS-T HD electro-optical system, HD Mission Video Recorder, Automatic Identification System, Tactical video link, and Full HD display for cabin consoles. Airbus Helicopters is responsible for carrying out the final assembly of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft. Acceptance of the first batch of NH90s by the Qatar Emiri Air Force is scheduled to start before the end of 2021, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025.

The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land-based operations. As of today, around 430 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, are in service worldwide. Aircraft on operations have logged over 270,000 flight hours in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea.

The NH90 is a twin-engine aircraft in the 10 tons class. It has been designed from the outset as a weapon system. Launched in 1990 with the signature of a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for the development phase, the NH90 is based on the operational needs jointly defined by the armed forces of France, Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands based on NATO Staff requirements.

The NH90 transport (TTH) and the naval (NFH) variants share a common basic helicopter in a modular design. Dedicated, specialized mission equipment packages allow for maximum flexibility in operations. Special emphasis has been given to features such as safety, reliability, availability, maintainability, testability, and supportability. The diamond shape of all composite (corrosion-free) airframe combines optimal aerodynamics with low detectability. An optimized man-machine interface significantly reduces pilot and crew workload. The NH90 superior handling qualities are enhanced by a fly-by-wire flight control system, making it the first production helicopter in the world to feature this advanced technology.

The NH90 TTH will serve as a tactical transport helicopter for personnel and materials (internal and external), for Search and Rescue missions (SAR and Combat SAR), heliborne operations, medevac, special operations, electronic warfare, airborne command post, parachuting, flight training, and VIP transport.