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German Army NH90 helos getting electronic warfare, SatCom upgrades

German Army NH90
Photo: German Army

German Army NH90 helicopters will be receiving electronic warfare and satellite communications (SatCom) system upgrades based on requirements identified during operations.

On July 29, the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) and the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) signed a contract with NATO Helicopter Industries (NHI) to integrate the upgrades on the helicopters.

The electronic warfare systems will be delivered by Hensoldt AG, while the new satellite communications systems will come from Collins Aerospace.

The upgrades will give the Army’s NH90 TTH (tactical transport helicopter) capabilities adapted to current operational requirements, BAAINBw said. The EWS provides the helicopters with self-protection by detecting threats from radar, infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV)-based countermeasures systems and initiating countermeasures. The new SatCom system will enable global communications connectivity.

The introduction of the two systems are part of the upgrade program, which consists of some 60 individual measures, to adapt the NH90 TTH to current threat situations, such as those identified during missions in Afghanistan and Mali.

“I am pleased that we have now been able to commission these two important capabilities, as they contribute significantly to mission success in operations. The new EWS provides the helicopter with significantly increased self-protection over the currently scaffolded EWS. With the SatCom system, the crew can communicate with the other units in the area of operations at any time via a stable and topology-independent connection,” says Gero Anthe, head of the NH90 systems management unit at the BAAINBw.

The German Army received its first NH90 in 2006 as a replacement for the Bell UH-1D. The 10.6-ton NH90 can lift four tons and has a maximum range of close to 1,000 kilometers. In addition to the army, the country’s navy will be operating two variants of the helicopter, the Sea Lion which will perform search and rescue (SAR), maritime reconnaissance and transportation missions, and the new Sea Tiger, which will perform anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare tasks.