Germany Selects NH90 ASW Variant for Sea Lynx Helicopter Replacement

Following an extensive evaluation process, the German Navy has selected the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) as its preferred platform to replace its 1980s-vintage Westland Mk 88A Sea Lynx helicopters used in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission. The NH90 variant beat out options offered up by Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky (MH-60R Seahawk) and Leonardo Helicopters (AW159 Lynx Wildcat).

The selection fits with an earlier procurement decision involving 18 NH90 “Sea Lions” acquired as a replacement for the Navy’s aging Westland Sea Kings utilized in the transport, maritime reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue (SAR) roles. These are due for delivery between late 2019 and 2022 and are being assembled at Airbus Helicopters’ Donauworth plant.

The NH90 replacement for the Sea Lynxes – designated Multirole Frigate Helicopter (MRFH) – is expected to be delivered from 2025 onward. The platform is described by the German Defense Ministry as the option being the closest to the French naval variant of the NFH, the “Caiman,” utilized in the ASW mission.

A vote on a bill supporting the acquisition will be presented to the German Parliament in 2020, as per Germany’s so-called 25 million bill which requires any project costing at least EUR25 million to be subject to a separate approval by the Budget Committee of the Bundestag (federal parliament).


About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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