The Italian Army is one of the first and largest NH90 operators, with 31,096 flight hours logged in Italy and abroad to date. The UH-90As have played a critical role for years delivering outstanding operational capabilities, both in-country and abroad in demanding conditions with impressive availability rates and mission effectiveness. The fleet is distributed over three main Italian Army Aviation’s bases and its versatile configuration enables a range of missions, such as tactical troop transport, logistics support, special operations, cargo resupply and hoist operations, MEDEVAC (Medical Evacuation) and light tactical vehicle transport. The aircraft has also supported disaster relief and emergency response operations in years. In recent years, the collaboration between the Italian Army and Leonardo has further evolved with the capability to deliver NH90 crew training to other operators.
Carlo Gualdaroni, Chief Business Officer at Leonardo Helicopters, said: “We’re extremely excited to achieve this crucial milestone with the Italian Army. This result is testament to the long-established effective partnership between industry and the operator to deliver the required capabilities and to support its use, thus maximising the advantages of its outstanding performance and technologies. We’re committed to staying closer and closer to the Italian Army to ensure its UH-90A fleet accomplishes its missions at its best in any condition now and into the future.”
Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility, covering 24,000 m2, is the Italian final assembly of the NH90s for various operators, including the Italian Army and the Italian Navy. The new plant started assembly of NH90s in 2010 and delivered its first aircraft in June 2011. The Venice Tessera plant is also playing an important role to deliver retrofits to the in-service helicopters for various operators.
Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gear box hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions. Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system (also selected by the German Navy for their new NH90 Multi Role Frigate Helicopter Programme), as well as pintle-mounted Gatling-type guns, for specific customers.
The largest military helicopter programme in Europe, the NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its fully composite airframe with a large cabin, its excellent power-to-weight ratio and its wide range of role equipment. It features a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics. The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land based operations. As of today, around 490 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, are in service worldwide carrying out missions in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea.
NHIndustries is the largest rotorcraft Joint Venture in European history and it is responsible for the design, manufacture and support of the NH90 helicopter, one of the leaders in the latest-generation of military helicopter. The company takes the best from European Rotorcraft and Defence Industry, being owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%) and GKN Fokker (5.5%). Each company has aerospace pedigree and brings the top of its skills and expertise to the end product.