LONDON – NHIndustries and one of NATO’s divisions, NAHEMA, acting as the contracting authority on behalf of the “Direction générale de l’armement (the French Armament General Directorate) and the Direction de la maintenance aéronautique (the French Aeronautics Support Directory) for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces and the BAAINBww for the German Ministry of Defense.”
The NH90 Operational Support (NOS), as it’s called, will be performance-based and see both nations provide some of their logistical and maintenance activities to NHIndustries, which will enable them to focus on their operations.
The contract is also made in such a way that any new members could easily join at any time.
“NHIndustries is fully committed to ensuring customer satisfaction, and the contents of this agreement have been carefully crafted in order to provide the French and German armed forces with the right set of services for improving NH90 operability, affordability, and serviceability. This new support contract will also strengthen our current relationship with our partner NAHEMA,” says Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, President of NHIndustries.
“The contract includes support of the customers’ continuing airworthiness management organizations, which ensures the continued airworthiness of aircraft and their parts, and establishes an improved approach for supply chain management for spare parts and component MRO.”
“This agreement, made up of a harmonized set of services that cover the operational needs of several helicopter variants, marks a new phase of the dynamic engagement between NHIndustries and NAHEMA”, says Admiral Giorgio Gomma, General Manager of NAHEMA.
“We are confident that this new approach will improve the effectiveness of NH90 fleets and could soon be expanded to other nations that operate these helicopters.”
The contract includes a variety of catalog services that can be activated as required by the entire community or individual nations, thus allowing maximum flexibility.
The NH90 program is a collaboration between Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland, and Fokker Aerostructure in response to NATO requirements for a battlefield helicopter that would also be able to operate in naval conditions.
With a relatively great service record, this helicopter is not only in use with many NATO member states but is also operative in a couple of non-NATO states, such as Oman, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand.
Norway, however, has decided to terminate its contract with NHIndustries as they saw the helicopter “not meeting contractual obligations, and announced that the NH90 is taken out of operation with immediate effect.”
While that, in general, is considered a bad move, it won’t affect the operations of the new deal, as while the contract may be advertised in such a way to handle new members, it must also be handled for any members that would leave the program.
The move to leave the program also has a suspiciously weird timing. It would seem logical to think that Norway may not be in favor of the new program, as the deal would benefit France and Germany a lot.
Despite this, the deal has a major advantage for the nations operating the program, as they would be able to swiftly get spare parts in times of need or repair the helicopters in other nations without losing too much time for combat.
The nations giving up part of their logistics to the manufacturer would also mean that NHIndustries would be able to build the helicopter at a much faster rate than before.