FURTHER PROGRESS on the Finnish Army NH90 programme came on July 13, when a successful first flight was made by the first Patria-assembled example, KH-202 at Halli, Jamsa, Finland, where the helicopter took off at 0930hrs for a 1hr 5min sortie. This is the second NH90 for Finland, the first (KH-201) having been built by Eurocopter at Marignane, France, where it first flew as F-ZWTF last September. The second NH90 for Finland, KH-203, was built by Agusta at its Vergiate production facility in Italy, though the remaining 18 (KH-204 to KH-220), all in Tactical Transport Helicopter configuration, will be assembled by Patria.
The company will also assemble a minimum of 50 NH90s under sub-contract to Eurocopter, including most of the 18 for Sweden. At present Patria has five NH90s under assembly in Halli and is scheduled to deliver the last of the 50 currently contracted for, in 2011.
Following the early morning flight of the first Patria-assembled NH90, the first NH90 for the Hellenic Army, wearing test registration F-ZWTH, was flown later the same day at Eurocopter’s Marignane facility in France, taking off at 1648hrs for a 1hr 35min sortie. Greece has on order 16 NH90s in Tactical Transport configuration and four for Special Operations: options are held on a further 12 Tactical Transport and two Special Operations variants. Four role-change medical kits enable the helicopters to be quickly converted to a medevac variant.
All 20 of the firm order helicopters are due for delivery on schedule between late 2005 and the beginning of 2009, deliveries continuing to the end of 2010 if all 14 options are taken up.