The Royal New Zealand Air Force on 6 December received the first two of eight NH Industries NH90 TTH helicopters dating from a 2005 order.

The aircraft were flown to the RNZAF's Ohakea air base from Eurocopter's Marignane plant on board an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft. The European airframer is a partner in NH Industries with AgustaWestland and Fokker Aerostructures.

New Zealand NH90 

 © New Zealand Defence Force

Early delivery of the first two examples was driven by the closure of Marseille airport to heavy cargo flights in January for maintenance work.

NHI remains responsible for the helicopters until the start of test and evaluation flying, which will take place after reassembly of the helicopters and when the required support elements are available and operational in New Zealand under NHI's supervision.

New Zealand NH90 2 

 © New Zealand Defence Force

It is planned that NH90 flights will begin this month.

Six more NH90s will be delivered during 2012.

New Zealand NH90 3 

 © New Zealand Defence Force

Source: Flight International