Marignane – NH Industries (NHI) and the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) have signed a contract to launch the development and qualification of the NH90 Block 1 upgrade, also known as Software Release 3.

This programme, part of the NH90 evolution roadmap, represents an enhancement in capabilities for both the TTH and NFH variants of the NH90 combat helicopter, according to a press release from NHI.

NAHEMA, acting on behalf of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, facilitated this contract.

Axel Aloccio, President of NHI and Head of the NH90 Programme at Airbus Helicopters, stated, “The signature of the SWR3 contract, which marks the launch of the NH90 Block 1 upgrade, is an important milestone for the NH90 programme and is a clear sign that our NATO customers trust the NH90 and plan on operating it for many more decades to come.”

He added, “We have a clear plan to extend the lifespan of the NH90 up to 50 years and we will need to upgrade the aircraft to make sure it stays relevant on the battlefield of tomorrow. The Block 1 programme will cover the next ten to fifteen years. Beyond that horizon, we are also planning the Block 2 upgrade that will define the future evolutions of the platform and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the battlefield of tomorrow.”

The first phase of this €600 million programme includes upgrading the NH90 communication suite and integrating Data Link 22, which allows beyond line-of-sight interoperability without using satellite communications. The latest version of the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, IFF Mod 5 Level 2, will also be integrated.

Other available upgrades include the integration of a latest-generation electro-optical system, a new dipping sonar, and the integration of the MK 54 torpedo and the Marte ER anti-ship missile. The NH90 Block 1 will be capable of navigating with a civil-grade global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and a flight management system.

The second phase, currently being finalised, will involve deploying the Block 1 configuration improvements on approximately 200 NH90s, both NFH and TTH variants.

NH Industries, the largest rotorcraft joint venture, is responsible for the design, manufacturing, and support of the NH90 helicopter, which is one of the leading models in the latest generation of military helicopters. The company is owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%), and GKN Fokker (5.5%), each bringing extensive aerospace expertise to the programme.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Knight7572
Knight7572 (@guest_827235)
16 days ago

Honestly given the Australians are getting rid of the NH90, yeah the British were right to not adopt this helicopter

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_827236)
16 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Your right but it doesn’t mean that some bright spark will say let’s buy the ‘improved’ version!

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827246)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Please god no!!!

The Austraians are literally burying their fleet, tells you all you need to know about that flying junk heap..

They can’t wait to get rid of the equally awful Tiger and buy the Apache E, the helo the Australian army wanted in the first place, before some backroom deal meant they got lumbered with euro trash instead….

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_827256)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

👍😂

Tullzter
Tullzter (@guest_827262)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

you are from Europe too, make you Eurotrash as well i guess

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827308)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

No, not me, I’m quite good at basic engineering, but I wouldn’t know where to start designing and building a very unreliable medium helicopter that buckles it’s cabin load floor and rusts at sea….

That takes a special sort of European engineering, ineptitude and incompetence!

Tullzter
Tullzter (@guest_827313)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

You are European lol, no matter how much you deny it

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827316)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

What’s that got to do with the price of fish?

Tullzter
Tullzter (@guest_827318)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

if the fish is Icelandic, the price will be triple that of a British fish?

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827319)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

Err, OK….

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_827882)
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

is it British? it certainly sounds like bent, rusty, and overpriced. the very kind of thing even our shambolic procurement office might have gone for.

Knight7572
Knight7572 (@guest_827264)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Seriously burying them, why not sell them to the Europeans

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_827286)
16 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

They are burying the Airframes, all usable spare parts are being recycled for other users. The Australians seem to make a habit of this sort of thing (see F111 for details).

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827309)
16 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Yep, our antipodean cousins have a thing about burying aircraft for some reason……

Tullzter
Tullzter (@guest_827263)
16 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

More crashes and incidents on the Black Hawk, the Apache and the Osprey if you compare the same period as the NH 90, around 5 times more crew deaths as well

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_827267)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

It was not safety that was the deciding factor it was spares availability, reliability, availability and that all led to very high costs per flight hour. The bare Airframes are being buried they have been pretty well stripped of all salvageable parts which go back to NH to bulk out spares availability. NZ has the same issues with costs ph as 2.5 x their previous Helicopter, but they are sticking it out as they are beginning to see some improvements. Not sure it’s a fare comparison as the previous were old Huey’s. Norway on the other hand has taken theirs… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_827322)
16 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Even better, I heard somewhere that they’re eyeing up more AW101/Merlin, which is good for us!

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_827296)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

Hang on a sec that’s not really a fair comparison is it ?
Firstly Osprey isn’t a Helicopter it’s a Tilt Rotor so completely different technology ( not sure I’d want to fly in one though ).
Secondly there are NH 90 515 built, Apache over 2,500 built, Black Hawk over 5,000 built. And a lot of the ones in your time scale for comparison are now in there 3rd of 4th decade of use.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827310)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

Blimey, defending the undefendable!

The NH90 is junk and it’s being dumped left, right and center…..

Tullzter
Tullzter (@guest_827314)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

it’s not though…

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827315)
16 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

Junk or being dumped??

I can give evidence for both….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_827381)
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I recall MoD looked at it for DSF. Thank God we rightly rejected it.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827404)
15 days ago

Thank god for small mercy’s mate!!

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_827346)
15 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

I suppose you could say if it can’t fly it can’t crash😉

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827403)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

🤣😂🤣😅, it certainly can’t crash if it’s buried in a field in Australia….

Safest place for it I think….

BlueMoonday
BlueMoonday (@guest_827872)
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Not the only thing the Aussies buried by all accounts. According to an investigation by an Australian TV company, the ADF denied allegations that they had ignored safety warnings from their own pilots regarding some of the avionics which may have contributed to the most recent accident leading to the type being grounded and then withdrawn from service.

Chris
Chris (@guest_828072)
13 days ago
Reply to  Tullzter

Surely you realize the difference in fleet sizes? The Blackhawk might have 20x the number in service, if not more.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_827242)
16 days ago

Interestingly France are not on it.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_827247)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

That is interesting, are they planning to dich theirs too in the next 10 years instead of upgrading I wonder….

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_827276)
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

No, they, Italians and Germans are the most invested on it.

Alternative is to have to buy American and that means a whole lot of higher level disgust for them.

Last edited 16 days ago by AlexS
Jim
Jim (@guest_827291)
16 days ago

I always loved the idea of the NH90, basically a twin engined Merlin that could do the role of the Merlin and Wildcat.

However the reality seems to have been very different.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_827505)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Indeed, a real disappointment. It should have been the heir of Blackhawk.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_827324)
16 days ago

So, if I read it right, this upgrade will bring it in line with our Merlin (assuming that we can finally get Sea Venom into IOC)? I’m not seeing anything there that we don’t already do- unless I’m missing something?

Hugo
Hugo (@guest_827343)
16 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Merlin won’t get sea venom. Its pretty much dedicated to ASW. Wildcat will though. Other than that I’m not sure.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_827372)
15 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Oh, my mistake, I thought it was.
It still baffles me how stingy we are with getting our equipment cleared more widely across vehicle fleets. I get that it costs money, but not making most use of our vehicles and weapons not only limits us in any future scrap, but also doesn’t do UK PLC any good either in terms of potential for export.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_827506)
15 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Does the British Merlin have Link 22, that iFF level. I very much doubt it.
I know the Italian one have Marte but i think it is the MK2 and not the ER variant.
I also suspect the sonar in Merlin is older.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_827543)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

No idea on the Link22- concerningly I’m of the understanding that only Wildcat got Link16, although I hope I’m wrong. I guess there is some kind of data link on Merlin to get the acoustic data back to the surface ships, but don’t know what that is. I would be very surprised if they fit a sonar older than Merlin’s! I’d hope it’s a newer model. Although that’s not necessarily an indication of better- depends what ended up in their spec. The Horizon air defence frigates (I think) have received newer radars than T45, but their specification is different due… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_827562)
15 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

What i am saying is that i don’t recall any major update to RN Merlins at this level.