Posts Tagged navy

Belgium gets first Navy-variant Eurocopter NH90

Eurocopter NH90 NFH. © Charles Abarr

The Belgian Armed Forces have taken delivery of their first Eurocopter NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter), a variant of which is flow by the Australian Army and Navy as the MRH-90 Taipan.

The Belgian aircraft is the first built at Eurocopter’s factory in Donauwörth, Germany.

Eurocopter says Belgium is the fifth country to put the European-developed NH90 NFH version into service, joining France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. The aircraft is rated at Full Operational Capability (FOC), meaning it can be used for the full range of Belgium naval missions, such as Search and Rescue (SAR) or military missions at sea.

Belgium has ordered eight NH90s in total, including four NFH naval versions to replace the Belgian Navy’s Sea King helicopters. Training of flight and maintenance crews will begin next month, with the helicopters going operational next year.

The NH90 features a redundant fly-by-wire system, a full composite corrosion-free airframe, two powerful engines, a fully integrated weapon system as well as a wide, easily reconfigurable cabin. It can operate from a shore base or a frigate up to sea state 5.

“The NH90 NFH is operationally proven, and Belgium will benefit from this helicopter’s already validated performance, reliability and versatility,” said Michel Polychroniadis, Director of the NH90 Programme at Eurocopter. “The Belgium acceptance teams and flight crews have been impressed by the NH90 NFH’s flight stability and its capabilities, providing a preview of the operational enhancements that will be provided.”

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SAAB’s unmanned Skeldar set for naval mission

Sweden’s Saab has signed a contract to deploy the Skeldar Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for maritime operations with an unnamed customer later this year.

The defence and security company says the helicopter drone will be used in naval operations needing the benefits of Vertical Take Off and Landing.

The Skeldar V200 system consists of two air vehicles and a mobile UAS Control Station. The aircraft have medium range and can hover for hours while providing real-time information to a control station or to remote video terminal.

The helicopters are fully autonomous, commanded by high-level-commands such as “Point and Fly” and “Point and Look”, and designed for a range of land, maritime and civil applications. The airframes are 5.2m long (including rotor), stand 1.3m high and have a maximum take-off weight of 235kg.

Powered by a heavy fuel, two-cylinder, in-line, 625 cc, two-stroke engine, the Skeldar can carry a 40kg payload to a service ceiling of 3,500m and has a maximum speed of 140km/h (75 knots). Its mission radius is 100km, and it has a six-hour endurance.

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First of Navy Seahawk Romeos completes test flight

The first of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters destined for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has successfully completed its first test flight, six months ahead of schedule.

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly said this week that the helicopter passed a range of tests including controllability, engine performance, vibration analysis and navigation as well as the ‘Contractor Flight Acceptance’ phase during the flight at Sikorsky’s production facility in Connecticut, US, on June 26.

“The Federal Government has invested over $3 billion in acquiring 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters, representing a sizeable commitment toward Australia’s ongoing air combat capability,” Dr Kelly said. “The MH-60R Seahawk Romeo will replace the 16 Seahawk ‘Classic’ helicopters and will introduce an air-to-surface strike capability.

“The US Navy and its industry partners have worked hard to accelerate the Romeo acquisition program and this first flight occurred only two years after contract signature, some six months ahead of the original schedule approved by Government in 2011.”

With the first two due for delivery this December, the 24 Seahawk Romeos will allow the RAN to provide at least eight helicopters embarked at any one time with Australia’s Anzac Class frigates and the new Hobart Class air warfare destroyers, with the remainder based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW.

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