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NH90 debuts on a Norwegian frigate after years of delays

NH90 flying from HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Norwegian defense ministry

A Royal Norwegian Navy Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate recently embarked an NH90 helicopter for the first set of qualifications and trials.

The milestone comes after the Norwegian defense ministry set up a maritime helicopter squadron earlier this year, and almost twenty years after the NHIndustries-built helicopters were ordered in 2001.

The first shipboard trials took place off Bergen. The NH90 is expected to serve as the frigates’ extended sensor platform, providing primary defense against submarines.

Norway ordered a total of 14 helicopters, eight for operations on coast guard ships and six for the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates. The coast guard is expected to declare an initial operational capability this year, after starting operations with the helicopter in 2019. A full operational capability for both the coast guard and the navy is expected to be achieved by 2024-2025.

While all the helicopter fleet had initially been scheduled for delivery by 2008, the navy is now expected to receive its final NH90 in 2022.

Photo: Norwegian defense ministry