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French Navy / Marine Nationale
NHIndustries NH90 Caiman
 

nh90 caiman helicopter french navy nfh marine nationale nhindustries 31 33 flottille
 
 
Units:

21 NH90 Caiman helicopters in service

Flottille 31F  Flottille 33F
flottille 31f french navy marine nationale aeronavale hyeres crest insignia  flottille 33f french navy marine nationale aeronavale lanveoc crest insignia 
based at Hyeres (SAR) based at Lanveoc (ASW/SAR)
  
 
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, which is 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 January 2017, the NH90 has logged 127,000 flight hours in the armed forces of thirteen nations.

The NH90 has the distinction of being 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. In early service, the NH90 has suffered several teething issues, which has in turn delayed active deployment of the type by some operators.


The NH90 was designed to fulfill a NATO staff requirement for a multi-role, medium-sized military helicopter for both land and maritime operations. According to Flight International, the NH90 has the distinction of being the first helicopter in the world to be developed in line with NATO requirements. As such, the design of the NH90 meets with multiple national and international standards, including military airworthiness processes in Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands; conformance with FAR 29 and MIL-STDS design standards, as well as DEF-STN 00-970 icing conditions performance and electro-magnetic compatibility. It is produced in two principal variants, the battlefield Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and the maritime NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH).

One key innovation of the rotorcraft is the four-channel fly-by-wire control system employed; the NH90 is the first helicopter in the world to be equipped with full fly-by-wire flight controls. A four-axis autopilot is also integrated with the fly-by-wire system, as are mission and navigation systems to enable greater autonomy during operations and to reduce pilot workload. The flight envelope of the NH90 is capable of all-weather day-and-night operations, ship-borne operations during high sea states, across a temperature range from −40 °C to +50 °C, and up to a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet. Power is provided by a pair of turboshaft engines, dependent on customer selection, the NH90 is either fitted with Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 or General Electric T700E powerplants; exhaust gases from the engines are filtered through an infrared suppression system for decreased sensory visibility. According to Airbus Helicopters, the NH90 possesses the lowest radar signature in its class, principally due to its diamond-shaped composite fuselage.

The NH90 featured an advanced composite airframe, designed for ballistic tolerance, a high level of crashworthiness, lower weight, and 30 per cent greater endurance than a metallic counterpart. The four main rotor blades are also composed of composite materials, increasing fatigue strength and lifespan while providing for greater damage tolerance. The unobstructed main cabin area is entered either by large sliding doors on either side of the fuselage or via a rear ramp, the cabin is designed to accommodate modular equipment packages to enable the rotorcraft to be rapidly reconfigured, providing for operational flexibility. In a troop-transport capacity, the cabin can accommodate up to 20 fully equipped soldiers, or up to 12 stretchers in a medical evacuation role, some light vehicles may also be transported; the main cabin is equipped with environmental control systems and sound proofing measures to improve passenger conditions.

The NH90 can be equipped with various mission-specific systems, including modular armor plating around the cabin area for undertaking high-risk missions and an ice protection system for operations within cold climates. It can also make use of the In-Hover Flight Refuelling System (HIFR) as well as additional internal and external fuel tanks to conduct extended range missions. Other equipment includes a wire strike protection system, rappelling system, hoist, cargo hook, search light and various seating options, including crashworthy foldable seats. For performing maritime operations, such tasked NH90s are typically equipped with the Harpoon deck-locking system, automatic main rotor blade and tail folding mechanisms, and other deck handling systems to conduct all-weather ship-borne operations; it is also typically outfitted with dipping sonar and sonobuoy processing equipment.

The NH90 features a range of customizable avionics systems, dependent on customer selection and purpose. On some models, French firm Thales Group provides various parts of the avionics, such as the glass cockpit, full-colour multifunction displays, tactical mission and encrypted communication systems, the TopOwl helmet-mounted sight/display, IFF and autonomous navigation systems, and the electrical power generation system. Other systems include a forward looking infrared (FLIR), weather radar, digital map generation system, enhanced ground proximity warning system, personal locator system, and VHF/UHF/HF tactical radios. In 2015, the NH90 became the first helicopter to receive an laser-based airborne collision avoidance system. Onboard mission systems feature a dual-redundant databus, are compliant with MIL-STD 1553, and are comprehensively managed via sensor fusion functionality. Customer demand for future avionics improvements such as new data links and communication systems, as well as additional electro-optical sensors, have been anticipated by the manufacturer.


The French government had initially ordered a total of 34 NH90 TTHs, for the Army and 27 NFH for the Navy. Both versions will be named "Caïman" and final assembly will be carried out by Airbus Helicopters. The French Army had intended to buy 68 NH90; however, the April 2013 defence review could have cancelled the contract for the second batch of 34. Under the "Bonn rebate" deal, France receives a 12% discount on its 68 Army helicopters; a November 2012 Senate report put the French TTH per unit price at €28.6M after discount, set on the assumption of total orders of 605 aircraft by 2020. Cuts to France's order would result in workshare reallocation; possibly including French Navy NFH90s being assembled in Italy and Fokker performing maintenance of French TTHs. On 29 May 2013, France formally ordered the second batch of 34 NH90 TTHs for just under €1 billion. In January 2016, France placed an order for six additional NH90 TTHs.

The French Army took delivery of its first NH90 TTH in December 2011. On 21 December 2012, the French Navy received their first NH90 NFH in final operating capability. In December 2010, the NH90 formally achieved in-service status with the French Navy, being initially used to perform search and rescue and maritime counter-terrorism operations. The first seven aircraft were delivered to an interim "Step A" configuration; following aircraft were delivered to the "Step B" standard and are forecast to be delivered at a rate of two per year until 2020. The French Navy formally cleared the type to perform anti-surface warfare duties in 2012, clearance to perform anti-submarine warfare missions followed in 2013, allowing the NH90 to take over the missions previously performed by the Navy's Westland Lynx and Aérospatiale Super Frelon helicopter fleets.


Characteristics:
Crew: 2 pilots (and possible sensor operator on NFH)
Capacity: 20 seated troops; or 12 medevac stretchers; or 2 NATO pallets; or 4200 kg (9260 lb) external slung load
Length: 16.13 m (52 ft 11 in)
Rotor diameter: 16.30 m (53 ft 6 in)
Height: 5.23 m (17 ft 2 in)
Empty weight: 6400 kg (14100 lb)
Useful load: 4200 kg (9260 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 10600 kg (23370 lb)
Powerplant: 2 x Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9 turboshaft, 1662 kW (2230 shp) or 2 x General Electric T700-T6E turboshaft, 1577 kW (2115 shp) each
Maximum speed: 300 km/h (162 knots, 186 mph)
Range: 800 km (497 mi) TTH / 1000 km (621 mi) NFH
Service ceiling: 6000 m (20000 ft)
Rate of climb: 8 m/s (1574 ft/m)

Armament:
2 x door gun / anti-submarine and/or air to surface missiles (NFH version) / torpedoes


source: wikipedia
 
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EuroTorp MU90 torpedo was loaded
  
 
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