The German Navy has received its first NH90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter from Airus Helicopters, with two more to follow by the end of the year.
In total, 18 Sea Lions have been ordered for the German Navy, with deliveries expected to be completed in 2022.
The selection of the Sea Lion as the successor to the Sea King was made in March 2013 and the corresponding contract was signed in June 2015.
After picking NH90 as Sea King successor, Germany announced earlier this year that the NH90 would also be replacing the Sea Lynx Mk 88A combat helicopters.
The first frigate helicopter version, to be referred to as the multi-role frigate helicopter (MRFH), is to be delivered in 2025, according to the navy.
“During the summer, we successfully completed demonstration flights involving the German Navy and BAAINBw to verify the Sea Lion capabilities for search and rescue as well as special forces missions,” said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland.
When deployed, NH90 Sea Lions will take on a wide range of roles including search and rescue (SAR), maritime reconnaissance, special forces as well as personnel and material transportation missions. In addition to its land-based use, the Sea Lion will also operate on Type 702 (Berlin class) combat support ships.
Thanks to its multi-role capability and growth capability, the Sea Lion will not only replace the German Navy’s Sea King Mk41 fleet but significantly enhance its operational capabilities. The fly-by-wire flight controls of the NH90 Sea Lion reduce the crew’s workload thanks to its high precision and ease of use, which particularly come to the fore in over-water hovering, even in poor weather conditions.
Five nations are already using the NH90 in its naval NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) version and have completed more than 50,000 flying hours in SAR, humanitarian and military missions, with the 90 helicopters that have been delivered so far.