The Dutch defence ministry has announced a further 15-month delay to the delivery schedule for its first of 20 NH Industries NH90 maritime helicopters until July 2009. It blames the late integration of mission systems, a delayed qualification programme and a platform weight 400kg (880lb) above original projections.

The nation's first two aircraft should now be delivered during 2009, to be followed by four in 2010, five each during 2011 and 2012 and a final four in 2013. It will spend around €6.5 million ($8.6 million) to extend the service lives of its 10 navy AgustaWestland Lynx helicopters as an interim measure.

Delays to the Dutch NH90 project could yet worsen, with the NATO steering committee responsible for overseeing the project to perform an analysis of its master schedule for the type's NATO Frigate Helicopter variant next month.

Patria has, meanwhile, conducted the first flight of a Finnish-assembled NH90 for the Swedish armed forces.

Source: Flight International