12 December 2003
NH90 Helicopter flies full Fly-By-Wire  

(Source: NH Industries; issued Dec. 12, 2003)

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France --- We are very proud to announce for the first time on the world that the NH90 PT3 successfully flies today in Marignane with full Fly-by-Wire (without mechanical back-up).

The trial started at 10.30 a.m. during 50 minutes, the NH90 was flown by :

- Philippe Boutry, experimental test pilot,
- Denis Trivier, flight test engineer, and
- Jean-Claude Rabany, flight engineer.

The PT3 has been converted to the full FBW configuration representative of the serial production. We remind that four NH90 prototypes (PT2, 3, 4 and 5) were equipped with an initial mixed system, FBW on the pilot station and mechanical back-up on the co-pilot station, fitted in the development phase for safety reasons.     In accordance with the NH90 Programme schedule the PT3 will be dedicated to the system qualification flights planned into the FBW maturity programme, together with the participation of the PT4, next to be transformed in full FBW.

The NH90 first flight of a medium size transport helicopter equipped with FBW ever happened in the world represents a major landmark for the NH90 Programme and for the whole community of NAHEMA, end users, industrial partners, and NHIndustries originating this success. On this occasion NHIndustries is very pleased to mark the concurrence with the Centennial commemoration of the first sustained controlled powered flight of the history of the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk (12-17 December 1903).

A hundred years of continuous technological evolution in aeronautics to which the NHIndustries Partner Companies largely contributed.


27 October 2003
Unison wins European contract

Agusta Aerospace Inc. of Italy awarded Unison Industries a contract for the design and development of two electrical wiring harnesses for Europe's new NH90 helicopters, Unison announced Monday. Unison will develop the FADEC to Engine Harnesses at its headquarters in Jacksonville and manufacture follow-on production harnesses at its facility in Saltillo, Mexico. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will not create jobs in Jacksonville, said Angela Milligan, marketing administrator.

The Agusta contract includes two Unison harnesses, one for each engine. The harnesses are multibranched to carry signals from the engine to the Full Authority Digital Electronic Control unit. Special connector contacts, which are included in the design, provide electrical conductivity.

"Unison has extensive expertise with the NH90 engine," said Dan Warchol, Unison's harness product line manager, in a news release. "This knowledge will be beneficial as we work the interface connection with Agusta."

The NH90 is a twin-engine, multirole helicopter developed to meet requirements of naval and tactical transport operations. The NH90 is managed through NH-Industries, which includes Agusta, Eurocopter, Eurocopter Deutschland, and Fokker. The Italian military will begin accepting delivery of the helicopters in 2004.

Ann Candler King © 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.


24 October 2003
25 Years of Helicopter Production in Donauwörth - Opening of the new Flight-Test Hangar signifies Growth at Eurocopter Deutschland

>> link to the news


27 September 2003
NHIndustries and Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA) signed a new contract

Naples (Italy) - On last september 27, NHIndustries and Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (CIRA) signed a contract for the performance of icing wind tunnel tests on the main rotor blade and main rotor blade tip cap of the NH90 helicopter. The contract also included options for additional icing tests on the tail rotor blade. The value of the contract was about 2.5 million Euro covering the cost of more than 100 icing tests aimed to achieve the qualification of the main rotor blade ice protection system. The tests will start at the beginning of 2004 and will take more than 10 months for their completion.

Ludovico Vecchione, CIRA Ground Testing Facility Manager, reminds that “This is the second contract in a row that CIRA garnered for NH90 icing qualification activities". In fact, last February 17, CIRA received a first contract from NAHEMA, the agency in charge of the production and logistics management of the NH90, for performing icing test on a full scale mock-up of the T700E1 air intake.”

At the press meeting, held after the signature cerimony, Gerard Matrepierre, NHIndustries General Manager, said: "We turned to CIRA for our testing needs since we found out they have both the tecnological and the management capability necessary for the execution of the NH90 rotary components icing test".

CIRA Icing Wind Tunnel (IWT) is a brand new facility capable to provide a very wide range of icing tests within the current FAR25 and FAR 29 certification envelopes. Being the world largest refrigerated tunnel having a size bigger than US icing facilities, the IWT allows full scale components tests. Vecchione reminds that: “Among the most peculiar features, the IWT facility may simulate altitude up to 21,000 feet, air velocity in excess of 400 kts, air temperature down to –40°C and relative humdity between 70% RH and 99.9 % providing a complete cloud simulation including droplet diameters and liquid water content”.

At the end of the meeting, Gerard Matrepierre added: “NHIndustries has been strongly impressed not only by the quality of the facility performance, but even more, by the competence of the facility team members“.

>> CIRA website


11 September 2003
Leading Contender in Maritime Helicopter Project - NH90 -Performs First Demonstration Flight in Ottawa
(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued Sept. 11, 2003)

OTTAWA --- A leading contender in the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Replacement Program (MHP) made its debut on the American continent today in Ottawa. NHIndustries NH90 helicopter demonstrated its outstanding maneuverability and superior handling capabilities to the media at the Canadian Aviation Museum.

The NH90 is along with the Tiger - an attack helicopter from Eurocopter - one of only two helicopters in the world capable of performing these flight maneuvers.

As announced in June of this year, NHIndustries, Lockheed Martin Canada and Thales Systems Canada have teamed up to assemble a bid that will fully satisfy all of the operational and performance requirements of the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP).

“NH Industries has teamed up with the only Canadian prime contractor in the competition to create an outstanding proposal benefiting from the strengths of the two world-wide leaders in helicopters and mission systems” said Olivier Francou, Area Sales Director for NHIndustries.

“The NH90 has been designed from start to finish as a maritime helicopter for deployment of medium sized frigates,” said Dan Spoor, President, Lockheed Martin Canada. “Nine NATO nations have already selected the NH90 and it has been successful in every competition it has entered against the two platforms competing for the Canadian program. We’re confident that this aircraft provides the best value and would be the responsible choice to replace the Sea King helicopters.”

The 9th European customer was confirmed just last week when the government of Greece signed a purchase contract for 20 NH90 helicopters plus an option for another 14. This contract now brings the NH90 sales record up to 325 firm orders and options for a further 86. These numbers were achieved within a very short period, two years after the first production contract was award.

Mr. Francou concluded: “The combined teaming between the world’s most technologically advanced helicopter and the world’s premiere system integrator will deliver an exceptional weapon system at an affordable price to the Canadian forces. The Lockheed Martin Canada / NHIndustries/Thales Systems Canada solution is clearly the best choice for Canada.”

Thanks to Vincent Pirard for the news


01 September 2003
Greece orders 20 NH90 (plus 14 in option) and becomes the 9th customer to be equipped with the NH90

The Hellenic Ministry of Defense has signed a contract for 20 NH90 helicopters for the Greek Army - 12 tactical transports and four Special Operations aircraft with deliveries starting in late 2005. An option for 12 more transports and two additional Special Operations helicopters will stretch deliveries through 2010. The latest contract gives the NH90 program 325 firm orders and 86 options. The helicopters will be powered by Rolls-Royce Turboméca RTM322 engines, making Greece the eighth of nine NH90 customers to select the RTM322. The RTM322 qualification program on NH90 will be finished by the end of this year to begin deliveries to Germany and Finland in early 2004.


24 June 2003
New photos of NH90 at the Paris Air Show 2003

>>>>> link to the photos


24 June 2003
Stork Aerospace Delivers First Tail Section For NH90 Helicopter
(Source: Stork Aero; issued June 3, 2003)

Stork Aerospace in Papendrecht today delivered the first complete tail section for the new NH90 helicopter. This delivery marks the start of series production for the European NH90 helicopter program by the Dutch industry. This program is a joint effort by the international NHI consortium, consisting of Eurocopter (France and Germany), Agusta (Italy) and Stork Aerospace (Netherlands). Production was initially intended to reach a total of 254 aircraft for use by the participating countries. In addition, the project is developing into a successful export program, with orders now received from 3 countries for a further 52 helicopters.

The contribution to the European consortium by the Dutch industry, for which Stork Aerospace acts as national consortium leader, comprises the design and production of:

--The complete tail sections (Stork Aerospace)

--The cabin doors (Stork Aerospace)

--The wheel housings (Stork Aerospace)

--The landing gear (SP aerospace&vehicle systems)

--A software module for the main computer (Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratory NLR)

The operating company involved in this project, Stork Fokker, part of Stork Aerospace, makes as much use as possible of advanced composite materials for the construction of the tail sections, sponsors and doors to reduce weight.

The Dutch participation in the project represents 5.5% of the total program value. The initial series production of 254 aircraft involves a turnover for Dutch industry of approximately Euro 200 million (as announced in 2000), to be spread over a period of 15 years. The 52 additional aircraft ordered by Finland, Norway and Sweden, represent a further turnover of approximately Euro 40 million. Interest is also being shown by other countries outside Europe.

The NH90 is a medium-weight military helicopter which will be used for tactical transport and anti-submarine operations. In the Netherlands the NH90 will replace the Lynx helicopters of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Characteristics of the NH90 include its excellent handling qualities (fly-by-wire) and the extensive use of composite materials, which enable maintenance costs to be significantly reduced throughout the lifecycle. All innovations have been successfully tested on a total of five prototypes during the Design & Development phase. The governments of France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands subsequently signed a production contract in 2000 with the consortium (which was joined by Portugal in 2001). The final assembly will take place in France, Germany and Italy. The first series-produced helicopter is scheduled to fly in 2004.

Stork Aerospace designs and produces structural components and wiring systems for commercial and military aircraft and aerospace applications. The group achieved a turnover of Euro 411 million in 2002 with 3,225 employees, out of the total Stork turnover of Euro 2 billion.


15 June 2003
(in french)

Au printemps 2003, le NH90 a réalisé la quasi-totalité de ses essais de développement et environ un tiers des essais de qualification, l'objectif étant de venir à bout de ces derniers avant le printemps 2004 pour la version terrestre (TTH) et environ un an plus tard pour la version marine (NFH).

Les derniers mois ont été marqués par quelques étapes importantes :

- L'essai de crash test (réalisé le 24 octobre 2002 à Ottobrunn), avec un impact vertical, train sorti, à la vitesse de 10.6 m/s (38.18 km/h).

- Les essais en vol avec emport de charges extérieures (faits avec le prototype PT2) simulant des réservoirs de 450 kg pour le TTH, des torpilles Murène françaises ou des missiles Marte italiens pour la version NFH.

- La campagne "temps froid", réalisée au début de l'année 2003 dans le Nord du Canada (cf. photo de spotter). Le prototype allemand PT4 a été soumis à des températures extrêmes (jusqu'à -40°C). Ce même prototype avait subi - auparavant - une série de tests "temps chaud", "temps froid" dans une chambre climatique à Bourges.

- Les essais de validation des entrées d'air à la neige, réalisés dans un centre d'essais privés près de Nantes.

- La troisième campagne d'appontages, débutée au priintemps avec le prototype italien PT5, et mettant pour la première fois en oeuvre tous les systèmes dédiés (harpon, éléments de flottabilité). Le PT5 sert également à finir la mise au point des systèmes navals sous-marins (sonar, bouées), après celle des systèmes de surface (radar, FLIR).

- La campagne "temps chaud", prévue cet été en Sicile avec le prototype italien PT5

- Les essais statiques de structure, qui débuteront cet été également en Allemagne sur une cellule construite spécialement

- Les dispositions du contrat de série ayant prévu une masse maximale acrrue de 10 à 10.6 tonnes, des essais seront conduits une fois les modifications du rotor et des commandes de vol effectués. Ces modifications concernent le prototype PT3.

- Des essais de commandes de vol uniquement électriques (sans "back-up" mécanique), donc en configuration "série" et non plus "prototype", seront prévus en juillet 2003 avec le PT3 et le PT4 (pour un totale de 200 heures de vol).

- D'autres essais de performances réalisés sur le PT3 d'ici à la fin de l'année.

- La phase finale de mise au point du système de mission de la version TTH, réalisée avec le PT4 sur lequel auront été installés un radar météo et un lecteur de cartes.

- Des essais relatifs à la maintenabilité des appareils, impliquant le PT2 ; le PT2 qui a pratiquement terminé son programme de vol.

- La validation du système de dégivrage, prévue lors de l'hiver 2003/2004.

(© Planet Aerospace n°3-2003)


15 June 2003
French defend maritime copter (in Canada)

A French-led helicopter consortium went on the attack yesterday to counter allegations that it is offering an inferior product to the Canadian Forces while benefiting from political favouritism in the $3-billion race to replace the Sea Kings.

NHIndustries broke its silence after weeks of negative publicity.

Olivier Francou said the European consortium's NH-90 is a state-of-the-art helicopter that compares favourably to the other two aircraft in the running. Mr. Francou pointed out that the Anglo-Italian EH-101 Cormorant, built by AgustaWestland, was designed in the 1970s, while the U.S.-built Sikorsky S-92 has yet to be sold to any military in the world.

Mr. Francou said the NH-90 has been sweeping contracts in recent years in Europe with its brand-new product, designed for members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

"It is the latest-available technology," he said. "Fifteen armed forces have selected this aircraft after a competitive process comparable to what's going on now in Canada.

" NHIndustries felt it had to speak out after the Canadian Alliance, top military officers, Liberal MPs and former bureaucrats came out in support of Cormorant and accused the government of rigging the process in favour of the NH-90. Critics said that Ottawa has bowed to French requests to dilute the requirements for the new helicopter to allow the NH-90 to be in the running.

While the NH-90 and the S-92 operate on two engines, the Cormorant flies on three and offers more power and size. The Cormorant is more expensive, however, and is at a disadvantage in the race given that the contract will be awarded to the lowest-cost bidder.

Mr. Francou said his helicopter meets all of Canada's requirements for new naval helicopters, and deserves to win if it is least costly.

"There is sometimes the impression that there is only one product that meets the needs of the Canadian Forces," Mr. Francou said, referring to the Cormorant. "That is totally absurd.

" In 1993, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien scrapped a deal signed by the previous Conservative government awarding AgustaWestland a $4.8-billion contract to replace Canada's Sea Kings and Labrador search-and-rescue helicopters. Critics have accused Mr. Chrétien of doing everything in his power to prevent AgustaWestland from getting the new contract.

A briefing memo to Defence Minister John McCallum last year shows the tight links between federal officials and the French government.

The memo contains several deletions.

Under the heading "current consultations," officials told the minister that they had had "extensive dialogue with [blank] and senior French bureaucrats on action required to enable [their helicopter's] participation."

Mr. Francou said that it was standard for governments to lobby on behalf of their companies and that he expects all countries with companies in the running to do the same.

Asked about the helicopter deal during an interview last week, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was clearly on top of the issue. He immediately brought up the case of Montreal-based Bombardier Inc.

Mr. Raffarin noted that Bombardier had won a $2.3-billion deal in 2001 to supply France's state-owned railways with 500 Regional Express trains even though Alsthom, a major competitor of Bombardier in the rail equipment market, is based in France.

Mr. Raffarin said that France could have taken a "closed attitude" to the contract, implying that the outcome for Bombardier might have been different.

The Globe and Mail revealed last month that France's Eurocopter -- the main player in NHIndustries -- had lobbied Canada's ambassador to Paris, Raymond Chrétien, in 2001. Mr. Chrétien relayed the company's concerns directly to the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office, where action was quickly taken to address them.

The Department of National Defence has lowered the specifications for the new helicopters to allow more companies to qualify.

Federal briefings to Mr. McCallum showed the specifications on the new helicopter's lift capabilities were reduced by about 1,000 kg, as the government has decided to require the helicopter to carry a smaller payload than first planned.

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc.

>>>> direct link to the news


20 May 2003
Rumor : NH90 for RNZAF (New Zealand) ??

The New Zealand military would be seriousely interested for the purchase of 12 NH90's for their air force....


## Feb 24, 2003 ## 24 Fév 2003
Eurocopter records an increasing number of "plantings" of calculators on its helicopters Tigre and NH90 in production. If the origin of the problem were identified (German supplier), the European helicopterist still did not find a solution with the problem... (source: La Lettre de l'Expansion n°1647 (French)).

Eurocopter enregistre un nombre croissant de "plantages" de calculateurs sur ses hélicoptères Tigre et NH90 en cours de production. Si l'origine du problème a été identifiée (fournisseur allemand), l'hélicoptériste européen n'a toujours pas trouvé de solution au problème... (source : La Lettre de l'expansion n°1647).

## Feb 13, 2003 ## 13 Fév 2003
Airbus Beluga F-GSTC transported several helicopters for Eurocopter for display at the 2003 Australian International Airshow, including the NH90 seen being towed.
The NH90 prototype is the PT2 (F-ZWTI).
Le Beluga a acheminé plusieurs hélicoptères Eurocopter dans le cadre du "Australian International Airshow. On aperçoit le NH90 en avant-plan à gauche. Le prototype présenté est le PT2 (F-ZWTI).

Avalon (Geelong) - Australia - Victoria, February 13, 2003
Photographer : George Canciani
Photo Copyright © George Canciani -

## Feb 11, 2003 ## 11 Fév 2003
NH90 helicopter and A340-600 both photographed in Iqaluit Canada. Both aircraft were conducting cold weather trials in the airfield. L'hélicoptère NH90 et l'Airbus A340-600 photographiés à Iqualuit au Canada. Les deux appareils sont soumis à des essais en conditions givrantes.

Iqaluit CYFB - Canada - Nunavut, February 11, 2003
Photographer : Mikko Pietilä

Photo Copyright © Mikko Pietilä -


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