Nato Helicopter Industries (NHI) has delivered the final NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

Assembled at Airbus Helicopter’s facility in Marignane, the TTH will be based in Oakeha. The helicopters aim to help New Zealand’s military meet minimum capability levels.

The NH90 is intended to replace the ageing fleet of 12 Vietnam War-era UH-1 Iroquois helicopters that have been in service since 1966.

NHI delegated managing director Xavier Poupardin said: "This ninth delivery is an important milestone in the life of the NH90 programme since it is the first time an NH90 operator is ready to operate all the aircraft ordered. Today, the Royal New Zealand Air Force operates eight NH9 TTH in final operational configuration. This is the result of our commitment to deliver the helicopter the customer needs.

"This ninth delivery is an important milestone in the life of the NH90 programme."

"The completion of the delivery process does not mean the contract is over, NHI and its partner companies are closely following the customer needs, in terms of support and evolutions throughout the life of the helicopter."

The multi-role, medium-sized, twin-engine NH90 helicopters are capable of carrying over twice the Iroquois’s payload and can operate in harsh military environments, over land and sea, day or night.

Four-axis auto-pilot and advanced mission flight aids are included on the aircraft, as are specific mission and role-fit equipment, infrared and night-vision systems, on-board monitoring and diagnostic systems. Fly-by-wire control technology is also another addition.

NHI has to date delivered more than 216 helicopters that are in service in Belgium; Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greece, Oman, Australia and New Zealand.

Defence Technology