MILAVIA > Aviation News Last updated: 17 August 2007
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13 Aug 2007

First Flight NH90 Helicopter for the Royal Netherlands Navy

The first series produced NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) for the Royal Netherlands Navy made its maiden flight on Friday 10th August at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate facility in Italy. The helicopter (NNLN001) took off at 14.45h and the flight duration was about 20 minutes.

The Dutch government ordered 20 NH90 naval helicopters for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN) in June 2000, with the first delivery scheduled for 2007. Assembly of NNLN001 started in May 2006. By this time the scheduled delivery date had slipped to April 2008. When in February 2007 concerns about the delay were expressed by the Dutch Ministry of Defense, NH Industries confirmed another delay of four to six months. Although NHI has taken steps to address the problems and increase production rates to overcome previous delays, deliveries to the RNN are not expected to commence until 2008.

Initially all 20 NH90 ordered would be NFH variants to replace the RNN fleet of 21 SH-14D Lynx helicopters, however in 2004 this was changed to 12 NFHs and eight Maritime Tactical Transport Helicopters (MTTHs). The transport variants will be operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) from Gilze-Rijen Air Base. Gilze-Rijen AB will become the air force's main helicopter base, combining all helicopter squadrons. Although the NFH variants will still be based at Naval Air Station De Kooy and operated under RNN command, it is planned all logistics support and maintenance will also take place at Gilze Rijen AB.


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