Leonardo and the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) have marked an early milestone in the service’s employment of the NH Industries (NHI) NH90 rotorcraft, with its operational use having passed 2,500 flight hours.

The QEAF currently has 18 of an eventual 28 NH90s in operational use, with deliveries having started in 2021.

Leonardo – which in addition to assembling some of Doha’s aircraft also provides pilot training and maintenance support – cites “serviceability above 80%” for the nation’s current examples.


Source: Craig Hoyle/FlightGlobal

NFH-variant NH90 can carry MBDA’s Marte ER anti-ship missile

Cesare Caccia, Leonardo Helicopters’ senior vice-president military sales, international campaigns, says Qatar has so far received nine aircraft each in the NH90’s NFH naval and TTH tactical transport configurations. Its full fleet will feature 10 and 18 of the variants, respectively.

A Qatar-operated example of the twin-engined rotorcraft, registration QA274, is on display outside the DIMDEX venue. The anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare variant is shown carrying a EuroTorp MU90 torpedo and MBDA Marte ER anti-ship missile.

Meanwhile, NHI managing director Cristian Naso tells FlightGlobal that the Gulf nation’s 19th aircraft has recently been accepted. The NFH-model helicopter will soon be transferred from Italy aboard one of the QEAF’s Boeing C-17 strategic transports, he adds.

Qatar’s aircraft undergo final assembly by NHI partners Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo Helicopters respectively for the TTH and NFH models, with Leonardo acting as prime contractor for the nation’s acquisition.

A dedicated training centre for the type built at Doha air base features two full flight simulators, developed with CAE, along with additional mission training equipment.

The QEAF’s rotorcraft inventory also includes 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, plus Leonardo’s AW109 and AW139 utility types.