Airbus and Kongsberg of Norway have signed a long-term strategic agreement to collaborate over support and services for the Norwegian Armed Forces. Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between Airbus Helicopters, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, and Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services, the companies will work to strengthen the deployment of local maintenance capabilities with the objective to optimize the availability of the NH90 helicopter.
EVP of Kongsberg Aerostructures & MRO, Mr Terje Bråthen, says: “Kongsberg has a proven capability in production, manufacturing, repair and overhaul activity for the aerospace industry. Kongsberg is also a strategic partner to the Norwegian Armed Forces for sustainment and logistics. We are looking forward to our enhanced cooperation with Airbus with the overall goal of increased operational capability for NH90 users.”
Airbus Helicopters Regional Director Industrial Cooperation, Damien Lamy said: “This agreement is the beginning of an ambitious partnership with Kongsberg which will strengthen Norway’s autonomy and sovereign support capability in this specialized field.”
As an initial activity, Airbus is developing and qualifying Kongsberg’s facilities to provide deep maintenance of the NH90 tail gearboxes for the Norwegian fleet and to bring business opportunities for the Nordics where a total of 52 NH90s are operated by Norway, Sweden and Finland. The move will position Kongsberg as prime contractor for this support contract and the first entity outside Airbus to be qualified for the work. In subsequent steps, Airbus and Kongsberg have identified further paths to exploit a range of additional cooperation opportunities with the objective of enhancing Norway’s support provision.
The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter. 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. 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.