Belgium takes delivery of first naval-variant NH90

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Belgium has taken delivery of its first NH Industries NH90 in the NFH naval variant, which is due to enter operational service next year.

Handed over at Eurocopter's Donauwörth final assembly site in Germany on 1 August, aircraft RN-01 is the first of four naval NH90s on order as replacements for the Belgian Air Component's aged Westland Sea King helicopters. Once introduced, the new type will perform tasks including flying search and rescue missions.

 

Charles Abarr/Eurocopter

Identical in configuration to the NFH-version aircraft already being flown by the Netherlands, the Belgian helicopter has been delivered in the full operating capability standard.

"Training of Belgian navy flight and maintenance crews will begin next month, with operations to be initiated in 2014 using the first two helicopters," Eurocopter says.

Belgium is also acquiring four NH90s in the tactical transport helicopter configuration, the first of which was delivered in December 2012. The nation also has an option to acquire a further two NH90s.

The NH Industries consortium has now delivered the NFH-variant NH90 to Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. The operators have so far received a combined 24 of the type, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database. Germany and Sweden are also under contract to introduce examples of the naval type.