The Netherlands' NH90 programme has taken two major steps forward, with the NH Industries type having embarked on its first operational mission on board the navy frigate HMS de Ruyter on 21 January.
Although the helicopter is still in the so-called meaningful operational configuration (MOC) standard, it will perform mainly intelligence and reconnaissance operations in support of EU anti-piracy mission Atalanta off the coast of Somalia.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Defence Helicopter Command received its first NH90 in the full operational configuration standard on 30 January, with aircraft N-234 having been flown from France to its home base at De Kooy.
The new standard should solve issues currently limiting the MOC version, such as short range radar performance, and also has a full electronic support measures suite installed.
The newly-delivered aircraft will be used to test the new features, and once all remaining deliveries have been made the Netherlands' earlier fleet of seven earlier standard NH90s will all be brought to the same standard.