points out that a few frames are being tried out in Afghanistan and that production is (finally?) ramping up, but:
But the timing of the NH90's introduction could not have been more adverse. The many European governments that rushed to order the aircraft during the last decade were enjoying the wealth that the euro had bought them, but now are struggling to bring their debt under control as a result of the economic crisis. Spain, whose government invested in a new facility to build both the NH90 and Tiger, wants to reduce its NH90 buy to 22 from 45, offsetting the reduced number of aircraft through a logistics deal.
Germany has settled on a deal to reduce the number it is buying to 100 from 122, but this also includes 18 naval helicopters, which were not part of the original deal. Portugal wants to pull out of the program altogether, and the consortium is now negotiating what Lisbon needs to pay in order to exit.
I guess that points out the truth of the old saying "You should make hay while the sun is shining", no?
Such cutbacks are tough, but it's not all doom and gloom:
Maudet is confident of further export success for the NH90. Despite issues with delays of its aircraft for the country's coast guard, Maudet claims that Norway is satisfied with the model and could look to the type to replace its search and rescue Westland-built Sea Kings, as part of the Norwegian All-Weather Search and Rescue Helicopter program. NH Industries submitted its bid late last year and a decision is due in 2014. Another opportunity lies in Qatar, where the Amiri Air Force is looking for tactical transport and naval helicopters. According to Maudet, Qatari pilots conducted a thorough evaluation of the aircraft. India is also a potential customer, but the type faces stiff competition from Sikorsky's UH-60 Black Hawk and MH-60R Seahawk
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12951 posts, RR: 79 Reply 3, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3215 times:
The Afghan deployment has been going on for some time.
Question, if the NH-90 is really not worth the extra money compared to a Blackhawk, why did Australia, a long term Blackhawk (and Seahawk) user, with very deep ties to the US in military and security affairs, buy it?
When we talk about Blackhawk exports, though of course it's a very capable, well tried machine (a classic of the last 30 years even), do we include ones as effectively US military aid to some countries?
Not slagging the Sikorsky machine, I for one would have liked to have seen the proposed Westland built, RTM engined version, adopted for the UK. (I remember seeing the RTM engined one at Farnborough years ago).
Including some SF/CSAR versions. Better yet, a few of those stealth conversion kits as used on operation 'Neptune Spear', though maybe that's me having just got 'Zero Dark Thirty' on DVD.
(If RAF exchange pilots could fly the F-117 before it was revealed in 1988, provision of them should not have been a problem).
The reason the RAF did not order some of these WS-70's 20 years ago was not just funding and the historical neglect of helicopter procurement, it was also the army changing it's mind (more than once), about the size of the next support chopper.
Nothing wrong with buying the Merlin's as happened but extra choppers in the Blackhawk size range were needed from the middle of the last decade. Hence the RAF upgrading the Puma fleet.
Back to the NH-90, we've read of the delays to the naval version, which seems to be coming good now, however how is that any different to the travails of the Aussie Seasprites or more competitively with the NH-90, the Canadian S-92 saga?
Seeing the NH-90 up close at Farnborough 08, it's an impressive machine.
In size, it's somewhat larger than a UH-60 though still in the same general class of choppers.
Again, apart from funds and muddled policy, that would mitigate against a UK NH-90 purchase for support operations, it's a bit too close to the Merlin.
Ozair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 755 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3142 times:
Quoting GDB (Reply 3): Question, if the NH-90 is really not worth the extra money compared to a Blackhawk, why did Australia, a long term Blackhawk (and Seahawk) user, with very deep ties to the US in military and security affairs, buy it?
That is a question that gets asked here a lot. I have a friend who worked on the Tiger purchase, where the decision to purchase the Tiger over the Apache was purely political, and, given the poor performance of the local contractor, was shocked when Australia chose the NH-90. Perhaps it came down to fleet commonality, especially the engine that the two airframes share.
Interestingly though, the ADF had had enough of the contractor and the development and in service issues that by the time the replacement for the SeaHawks came around they ordered the MH-60R.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12951 posts, RR: 79 Reply 5, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3063 times:
Quoting Ozair (Reply 4): That is a question that gets asked here a lot. I have a friend who worked on the Tiger purchase, where the decision to purchase the Tiger over the Apache was purely political, and, given the poor performance of the local contractor, was shocked when Australia chose the NH-90.
I'd have thought that any political factors would have favoured the US machine?
Revelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 11406 posts, RR: 24 Reply 6, posted (5 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2985 times:
Quoting GDB (Reply 3): The Afghan deployment has been going on for some time.
Not really, relative to the length of the NH-90 development phase!
Actually I was just pointing out that as far as I recall we hadn't had an NH90 thread in a while so the Afghanistan deployment wasn't really talked about here. Either that or I missed it. In any case, it seems to be a nice bit of kit that is suffering from coming into production during lean times. Hopefully in a few years the economy will pick up and the program will get some if not all of the funding back.
Ozair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 755 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (5 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2862 times:
Quoting GDB (Reply 5): I'd have thought that any political factors would have favoured the US machine?
Australia has typically always swung both ways. Within the 2000s from the US, Australia chose the E-7, Abrams, Hellfire, WGS and Super Hornet to name a few. Australia chose the Tiger, MU-90, MRH-90, KC-30B, Air Warfare destroyer and LHD from the Europeans.
So it really depends on who is the flavour of the month and perhaps whether Australia are looking for a seat on the security council or additional exports of Australian goods.