NHIndustries has signed an innovative NH90 support contract with the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA), acting as the contracting authority on behalf of the Direction générale de l’armement (the French Armament General Directorate) and the Direction de la maintenance aéronautique (the French Aeronautics Support Directory) for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces and the BAAINBww for the German Ministry of Defence. The NH90 Operational Support (NOS) contract, which will be performance based, will see both nations delegating a major part of their logistics and maintenance activity to NHIndustries, enabling them to focus on their operations. The agreement was also designed in a way that allows additional nations to join at any time. This contract will improve the availability rates of the NH90 naval (NFH) and tactical (TTH) helicopters. Additionally, the contract includes a variety of catalogue services that can be activated as required by the entire community or by individual nations, thus allowing maximum flexibility.
“This agreement, made up of a harmonized set of services that cover the operational needs of several helicopter variants, marks a new phase of the dynamic engagement between NHIndustries and NAHEMA”, says Admiral Giorgio Gomma, General Manager of NAHEMA. “We are confident that this new approach will improve the effectiveness of NH90 fleets and could soon be expanded to other nations that operate these helicopters.”
“NHIndustries is fully committed to ensuring customer satisfaction, and the contents of this agreement have been carefully crafted in order to provide the French and German armed forces with the right set of services for improving NH90 operability, affordability and serviceability. This new support contract will also strengthen our current relationship with our partner NAHEMA. The contract includes support of the customers’ continuing airworthiness management organisations, which ensures the continued airworthiness of aircraft and their parts, and establishes an improved approach for supply chain management for spare parts and component MRO,” says Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, President of NHIndustries.
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. 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. Since its introduction into service, the NH90 has suffered several technical issues, which have delayed active deployment of the type by some operators. The first prototype conducted its maiden flight in December 1995; the type first entered operational service in 2007.
Through the contract, NHIndustries takes full responsibility for ensuring the continuous flow of spare parts to France and Germany through a flight-hour-based service. It will manage the inventories of both nations, while also allocating resources to ensure that scheduled inspections and maintenance run seamlessly. The agreement covers five years of support with two optional extensions of five years each, for a total duration of 15 years. It will serve up to 100 NH90s in France and up to 131 NH90s in Germany. NHIndustries is the largest rotorcraft Joint Venture in European history and it is responsible for the design, manufacturing, and support of the NH90 helicopter, one of the leaders in the latest generation of military helicopters. The company takes the best from European rotorcraft and Defence Industry through its ownership comprising Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%) and GKN Fokker (5.5%). Each company has an extensive aerospace pedigree and brings the top of its skills and expertise to the product.