Belgium has announced the initial operational capability (IOC) of its four NH90 medium transport helicopters (MTH).
NHIndustries president Vincent Dubrule said: "This IOC milestone means that Belgium is today able to deploy the NH90 anytime, anywhere and we are very proud of that.
"We reaffirm here our commitment to support Belgian Armed Forces throughout the lifespan of this outstanding helicopter."
Currently, Belgium has ordered four tactical transport NH90s and four naval NH90s. The country has also taken steps to train its aircrews.
NHI has developed two main variants of NH90, including the NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopter (NFH), which is intended for naval operations and a tactical transport variant for land-based operations.
The multi-role, medium-sized, twin-engine NH90 helicopters are capable of carrying more than twice the Iroquois’s payload and can operate in harsh military environments, over land and sea, day or night.
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The aircraft is also equipped with four-axis auto-pilot and advanced mission flight aids that serve as specific mission and role-fit equipment, infrared and night-vision systems, on-board monitoring and diagnostic systems.
To date, NHI has delivered approximately 245 helicopters that are in service in Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greece, Oman, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand.
The NH90 helicopter programme is managed by the consortium NHIndustries, owned by AgustaWestland (32%), Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), and Fokker (5.5%).
In November last year, NHI delivered the final NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
Image: A NH90 multi-role, medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter. Photo: courtesy of NHIndustries.