The Italian Navy celebrates the completion of NH90 helicopter deliveries, marking a milestone in the nation’s rotorcraft capability. 

Concurrently, a full crew simulation training centre is unveiled at Maristaeli Luni Base, promising training and operational readiness for NH90 crews.

Assembled at Leonardo‘s facility in Venice Tessera, this helicopter was formally introduced during a ceremony held at the Maristaeli Luni Base on 29 September. The event was graced by Italian Navy dignitaries, Leonardo representatives, and NHIndustries officials.

The arrival of the SH-90A ASW/ASuW aircraft enhances the Italian Navy’s operational capabilities. It joins a fleet of ten MH-90As, optimised for tactical transport and special operations. With this latest addition, the Italian Navy’s NH90 helicopter fleet stands at 56, solidifying its position as a premier operator of this rotorcraft. 

The journey began in 2011 with the delivery of the first NH90 helicopter to the Italian Navy. Since then, this fleet has collectively logged over 35,000 flight hours, participating in numerous domestic and international operations.

However, completing NH90 deliveries is just one facet of this moment for the Italian Navy. The Maristaeli Luni Base now welcomes a full crew simulation training centre. 

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This facility will host a Level D full flight simulator, designed in the MR 1 configuration to represent the latest avionics standards. Every element of this simulator has been crafted by Leonardo, explicitly tailored to meet the Italian Navy’s exacting requirements.

The full crew simulation training centre aims to provide training fidelity and precision, with one simulation hour mirroring the experience of one actual flight hour. This attempts to empower both SH-90 and MH-90 crews, encompassing pilots and specialised personnel, to undergo training replicating diverse operational scenarios. This ensures heightened mission effectiveness, safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

Moreover, this advanced system remains adaptable for future evolution. Plans include the potential for integration with other simulation assets fostering joint and multi-domain networked mission training. Furthermore, the full crew simulation training centre extends its services beyond Italian borders, offering training opportunities to NH90 crews from other nations.

As Italy celebrates their achievements, it’s worth noting that the NH90 programme has faced its share of challenges. Norway’s decision to cancel its order for NH-90 helicopters in 2022 due to delays and maintenance issues is a stark reminder. Other nations, including Belgium, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand, have also reconsidered their NH-90 orders or phased out existing models earlier than planned, citing concerns over mechanical faults.

Qatar has also procured the NH90 helicopter and took the delivery of their first two NH90 helicopter last year, with the deliveries expected to continue until 2025.