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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Naval NH90 Faces More Delays

MILITARY

The NHIndustries partnership has proposed a new schedule to customers that would delay first delivery of the maritime version of the helicopter by two years, to 2009

Deliveries were to have begun this year. But customers in France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway have had to wait while the industrial partners — Eurocopter, AgustaWestland, and Stork Fokker Aerospace — and their subcontractors struggle with the design and certification of the aircraft’s mission systems.

"The Tactical Transport Helicopter, we have basically got the blockages out of the way," Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling told Rotor & Wing. "We received certification for the German helicopter last year. We have now delivered four, and by year’s end they will have eight helicopters. We have got certification for the Greek helicopter, and will get certification for the Swedish helicopter this month. Australia, Finland, and Italy will also get their first helicopters for acceptance this year, and deliveries will follow once the customers have completed the acceptance process.

"The naval helicopter, NFH, is another story, as there is a well-known problem with the mission system. The radar is not meeting specified performance levels. Together with our partners, we are working to solve this, but initial deliveries will not take place before the second half of 2009.

"This is of course not where we should be, but in addition to the radar problems, we also have very complex acceptance procedures, with industry partners from four nations and official services from four nations that have to agree on everything."

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