German helicopters get the chop

Our Flightglobal colleague and self-confessed rotorhead Dom Perry has filed a news update about Germany finally resolving its planned orders reductions for the NH90 and Tiger helicopters, and the end result is pretty eye-watering stuff.

Original plans had called for the Bundeswehr to acquire 122 NH90 transports for the air force and army, but this expectation has now been slashed to just 82 of the NH Industries (NHI) type.

UPDATED: Also under the agreement, the German navy is now to receive 18 NH90s in the NFH variant, to replace its aged Sea Kings. That’s bad news for Sikorsky, which had viewed Berlin as a possible future customer for its maritime S-92.

The Tiger situation is no better, with an original commitment for 80 UHT examples now having been re-pegged at 57 (Rex Features image below, showing the type on duty in Afghanistan). I’m surprised that this number didn’t drop further though.

tiger 560.jpg
German chancellor Angela Merkel has been lambasted in Greece for inflicting economic reforms and cuts in a bid to protect the euro zone members, but the spending axe is certainly being wielded in Berlin too.

There’s still the small matter to resolve of what will happen to the 13 A400Ms deemed surplus to German air force requirements from the nation’s current contract for the Airbus Military type. Combined with a seven-aircraft cancellation already made, this will see its original 60-aircraft deal reduced by one-third, with an eventual 40 of the transports to replace more than 70 Transalls.

With such austerity being felt, I’m curious to see whether Berlin will feel the need to proceed with its Euro Hawk unmanned air vehicle acquisition, when the time comes for a main investment decision on that programme. The situation is probably also going to be bad news for anyone hoping to see a Tranche 3B order of Eurofighters for the Luftwaffe.


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