Germany Receives First NFH90 Sea Lion Helicopter

Germany took delivery of its first new NFH90 (NATO Frigate Helicopter) Sea Lion variant from Airbus Helicopters on October 24 during a handover ceremony with the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) at Donauwörth.  Germany ordered 18 NFH90 Sea Lions in June 2015 with an eye on a replacement for the German Navy’s aging fleet of Westland Sea King Mk 41 search-and-rescue helicopters.

The Sea Lions will tackle multiple roles for the German Navy, including search and rescue (SAR), maritime reconnaissance, Special Forces missions, and transport. The helicopters will operate from both land and sea, with at-sea missions conducted from the Type 702 (Berlin class) auxiliary ships.

Following official handover of this first unit, another two NFH90s are expected to be delivered prior to the end of the year.

According to an Airbus Helicopters statement, the full 18-unit complement will be delivered by 2022.

In addition, Germany intends to procure 31 additional NFH90s to replace the German Navy’s legacy Westland Sea Lynx Mk 88A onboard helicopter fleet that was delivered in 1981. That procurement is being made under the Sea Tiger program, which the German Defense Ministry hopes to finalize within the next 12 months in order to allow for service entry in parallel with the Sea Lynx phase-out.

The Sea Lynx fleet is due for retirement in 2025.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s International Military Markets Group Leader. Specializing in history and political science with a background in finance and economics, Dan provides insight into the military markets of both the Europe and the Asia, Australia and Pacific Rim regions. Dan's work has been cited in Aerospace and Defense News, Aerotech News and Review, Defense Talk, Global Defense Review, and Small Wars Journal, among others, and by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In addition, Dan has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The National, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. He has also contributed commentary to Defense News and appeared as a guest on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line. As editor of International Military Markets, Europe and International Military Markets, Asia, Australia & Pacific Rim, Dan brings a wealth of expertise on the political and economic forces shaping these markets.

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