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).
#Germany announces @NHIndustries NH90 as replacement for navy's Sea Lynx maritime helos. Beats-off competition from @LockheedMartin MH-60R #Seahawk and @LDO_Helicopters #LynxWildcat https://t.co/NpbxuXYMzE pic.twitter.com/6LFOBPv1Wr
— Gareth Jennings (@GarethJennings3) August 1, 2019
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).