Flight tests have commenced of a new special forces-roled variant of the NH Industries (NHI) NH90 helicopter that is being developed for the French army.

Conducted by NHI consortium member Airbus Helicopters, flight testing of the Standard 2 configuration will run until the end of the year.

NH90 SF-c-Airbus Helicopters

Source: Airbus Helicopters

Standard 2 modification features new sensors and equipment for French army

France has ordered a total of 18 NH90s in the new configuration, which includes Safran’s Euroflir 410 electro-optical/infrared sensor, a new digital map generator, installation for a third crew member and enlarged rear sliding windows able to accommodate self-protection guns.

In addition, the Standard 2 prototype is equipped with mechanical and electrical provisioning to enable the future integration of a distributed aperture system – Safran’s infrared-based Eurofl’Eye suite – and a new helmet-mounted sight digital display, should France give the go-ahead.

Delivery of the first NH90 Standard 2 helicopter is due in 2025. France initially ordered 10 examples but in 2023 added a further eight units to its commitment.

NHI comprises Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo Helicopters and GKN/Fokker.