The NH90 already is being used across the world as a special operations platform. It will now benefit from new features developed specifically for the special forces. In October 2020, NHIndustries and its partner companies (Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker), signed a firm contract with the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) for the development of an upgraded version of the NH90 Tactical Troop Helicopter (TTH) for the French Special Forces (TFRA Standard 2). The Standard 2 will build on the features of the NH90, one of the most modern military helicopters in the world.
The new standard will include equipment and systems developed specifically for special forces, with its configuration incorporating a new-generation electro-optical system EuroFLIRâ„¢ from Safran, with displays and controls for the pilots, commandos, gunners, and loadmasters. In addition to the enhanced cockpit, the cabin will also provide extra capabilities of fast roping with protective fire from side-mounted machine guns. Other improvements serving the French Special Forces and the French Army Aviation include a new-generation digital 3D map, folding boarding steps and additional ceiling-mounted rope anchor points. The NH90 Standard 2 will complement the capabilities of the French Army’s Cougar and the H225M.
The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter. It was developed in response to NATO requirements for a battlefield helicopter which would also be capable of being operated in naval environments. The NH90 was developed and is manufactured by NHIndustries, a collaborative company owned by Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland) and Fokker Aerostructures. The first prototype conducted its maiden flight in December 1995; the type first entered operational service in 2007. As of November 2020, the NH90 has logged 265,372 flight hours in the armed forces of thirteen nations.
The NH90 is the first production helicopter to feature entirely fly-by-wire flight controls. There are two main variants, the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) for army use and the navalised NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH); each customer typically has various alterations and customisations made to their own NH90 fleets, such as different weapons, sensors and cabin arrangements, to meet their own specific requirements. The helicopter is equipped with emergency floats which deploy in case of a water landing and are designed the buy the crew enough time to exit the helicopter before it sinks.