The NH90 – developed by Europe’s NHIndustries partnership (Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters, and Fokker Aerostructures) – was designed to meet NATO’s requirement for a modern, medium-sized multi-role military helicopter in both land and maritime operations.
The core vehicle for the TTH and NFH versions is a twin-engine rotorcraft incorporating innovative features such as advanced mission flight aids and a fly-by-wire control system with 4-axis autopilot, along with on-board monitoring and diagnostics systems.
Benefitting from a modern approach to materials, the NH90’s composite fuselage has fewer parts and a lower structural weight, resulting in 30% more endurance compared to a metallic fuselage, plus increased resistance to battle damage – among other benefits. The composite rotor blades have greater fatigue strength, damage tolerance and component lifetimes, as well as improved aerodynamic performance.
Versatile and compact, it is small enough to fit in the hangar of a NATO frigate, but with a cabin volume to accommodate 20 fully-equipped troops or a maritime mission system. Its wide modular cabin, large sliding doors on each side, and rear ramp make it the most accessible military helicopter available.
Detection avoidance: The NH90 features the lowest radar signature in its class thanks to the helicopter’s diamond-shaped, full-composite airframe. In addition, infrared suppressor devices and vertical engine air intakes further contribute to lowering the NH90’s acoustic and infrared signatures.
Self-protection: The helicopter’s advanced self-protection suite is composed of laser and radar warning receivers, a missile launch detection system, and chaff/flare dispensers.
Survivability: The inherent redundancy of fly-by-wire controls (four segregated analogue/digital channels) greatly increases survivability if the NH90 is engaged by small arms fire. All systems and subsystems are redundant and segregated; while armour plating is provided for both crew and troops.
The crashworthy composite structure (which prevents heavy components from breaching the cabin) – combined with highly effective floatation gear – gives a best-in-class level of crew survivability.