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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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