The second prototype of the NH90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter has carried out its maiden flight in serial configuration for the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr).
The flight test marks the commencement of the naval aircraft’s qualification phase in collaboration with the Bundeswehr’s official authorities.
Following the completion of the qualification phase, the German Navy is expected to release a military type certificate in order to enable the first serial delivery of the aircraft.
The second prototype of the helicopter has been commissioned by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr).
Bundeswehr has placed an order for the delivery of a total of 18 NH90 Sea Lion helicopters to the navy.
The delivery of the helicopters is scheduled to commence at the end of next year, while the final unit is slated to be delivered in 2022.
The NH90 Sea Lion aircraft has been designed to replace Bundeswehr existing fleet of Sea King Mk41 helicopters.
It is intended for deployment on-board the German Navy’s Type 702 Berlin-class combat support ships.
The NH90 aircraft has been developed by the NHIndustries partnership, which comprises Airbus Helicopters, Agusta Westland and Fokker, and can be used to carry out land-based search and rescue (SAR) missions.
The helicopter is also able to support maritime surveillance and control, logistic transport and utility support activities, as well as special operations such as counter terrorism and anti-piracy missions.
Furthermore, NH90 Sea Lion is integrated with electronic fly-by-wire flight controls, which help reduce workload for the crew members.
The final assembly and series production of the second aircraft prototype commenced last year in Donauwörth, Germany.
The initial Sea Lion prototype originally conducted its on-schedule maiden flight at Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Donauwörth in December 2016.