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Tue, Mar 22, 2005

First Flight: Swedish AF NH90

Eurocopter tells ANN that the first production NH90 helicopter in the high cabin version for the Swedish Armed Forces has performed its maiden flight at Eurocopter’s plant in Marignane, France, on March 18.

The maiden flight lasted 55 minutes and was performed by a Eurocopter flight test crew consisting of Philippe Boutry (pilot), Denis Trivier (flight engineer), and Jean-Claude Rabany (flight technician).

At the end of the flight, the crew declared that it was completely satisfied with the behavior of the aircraft.

To mark the occasion, Fabrice Brégier, Eurocopter President and CEO, stated: “Today’s successful maiden flight of a significantly modified variant of the NH90, as compared to the standard version, confirms the remarkable development potential of this aircraft. NH90 is the major player in the medium-class military helicopter category and has already established itself as the NATO standard helicopter of the 21st century.”

To date, a gross total of 443 NH90s have been ordered, including 86 existing options, and the 12 aircraft selected by Australia.

This NH90 is the fourth production aircraft to take to the skies, following the German, Finnish, and Italian production helicopters which successively performed their maiden flights in 2004.

Sweden has ordered a total of 18 NH90s, all of which are in the high cabin version: thirteen will perform troop tactical transport (TTT) and search and rescue (SAR) missions, and the other five anti-submarine warfare (ASW) duties.

The Swedish high cabin version of the NH90 increases the usable cabin height by 24 centimeters, from 1.58 meters in the standard version to 1.82 meters. The high cabin NH90 also offers an increase in volume of 2.5 cubic meters, providing a total volume of 17.5 cubic meters. The increased cabin height means that missions requiring on-board operations, such as SAR work, can be performed in a more comfortable environment.

The NH90 is currently the most modern helicopter in its category. It is the world’s first production helicopter with a full fly-by-wire control system, a crash resistant all-composite airframe, completely integrated aircraft/avionics/mission systems; and a series of the most up-to-date systems available for performing the multi-purpose operations and multi-national cooperation tasks, which are fundamental to modern military scenarios.

The NH90 programme is managed by NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) representing France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Portugal, and by the industrial consortium NHIndustries consisting of Eurocopter (62.5%), Agusta (32%) and Stork Fokker (5.5%).

FMI: www.eurocopter.com

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