The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) has received the first of 20 new NH90 helicopters as part of its fleet expansion plans.

A multipurpose aircraft, the NH90 will replace both the Lynx naval helicopters and the AB-412-rescue helicopters in 2012.

Equipped with infrared and night vision systems, the NH90 can operate in darkness and adverse weather.

It features a sonar to detect submarines and self-defense systems such as flares against radar-guided missiles.

Its armaments include two torpedoes and a heavy 12.7mm machine gun.

The first helicopter will be primarily used for training, operational testing and evaluation.

Out of the 20 NH90s, 12 will be operated from navy frigates in various support and anti-submarine warfare missions based at Marine Air Station De Kooy.

The other eight aircraft, based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base, will be used for transport duties over sea and land.