Eurocopter’s extensive range of helicopters for naval and maritime missions will take pride of place at Euronaval 2012, the 23rd Naval, Defense and Maritime Exhibition and Conference, with the company displaying models of the NH90 NFH, the AS365 N3+ and the AS565 MB/Panther (Hall 2A – Stand G70).
Eurocopter’s participation in this biennial event, to be held October 22-26 at Le Bourget Exhibition Centre near Paris, will underscore the decades of experience the company has acquired in naval and maritime helicopters. With a diversified product line tailored to numerous operational requirements, Eurocopter helicopters are counted on for such missions as anti- submarine and anti-surface warfare, anti-piracy and anti-smuggling missions as well as coastal or deep-sea maritime search and rescue operations.
Built by NHIndustries, a consortium formed by Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and Fokker, the NH90 is just one of the models on show. To date 122 NH90s have been delivered to customers, 18 of them the NFH naval version. The fleet has now clocked up a total of 30,000 flight hours, mainly in SAR missions performed in especially demanding environments and also in the Afghan theater of operations. Compatible with 80 types of NATO frigates, the naval version of the NH90 capabilities in a wide range of missions, from reconnaissance, ship identification and tracking to rescue and transportation of passengers and troops.
“With more than 30,000 flight hours already behind it, the land and naval versions of the NH90 have shown their highly extensive operational capabilities in the most taxing conditions,” said Maudet, Eurocopter Group Executive Officer for France. “We pay very close attention to the feedback we receive from the armed forces, which have been very positive,” he added. “Italian forces have been particularly impressed by the NH90 TTH they have deployed in Afghanistan, while the NFH, which is set to receive its final qualification in the very near future, has already carried out a number of sea rescue missions, notably in France, in extreme flight conditions – saving many lives in the process.”
Eurocopter will also be displaying models of its other naval and maritime helicopters, among them the AS565 MB Panther and the AS365 N3 Dauphin. A militarized version of Eurocopter’s twin-engine Dauphin helicopter, the Panther is a multi-purpose, medium-weight aircraft designed for applications such as anti-submarine and anti-surface missions, SAR, surveillance and Zones (EEZ), maritime counter-terrorism, casualty and medical evacuation, and troop and cargo transport. The N3+ version of the AS365 was recently fitted with a four-axis autopilot system; when used in SAR modes, this gives it the same mission capability as the civil version of the Panther.