The Qatar Emiri Air Force has received the first NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) from Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Marignane, France.

Announced by Leonardo, the delivery marks a major milestone in the country’s NH90 helicopter programme and follows the maiden flights of the first NH90 TTH and Nato Frigate Helicopter (NFH) naval version conducted last month.

In March 2018, Qatar signed a contract exceeding €3bn to purchase 28 NH90 military helicopters. The deal includes an option to acquire six additional aircraft of each type.

Being acquired as part of Qatar’s military helicopter fleet modernisation plan, the contract includes the procurement of 16 NH90 TTHs and 12 NH90 NFHs.

Leonardo is serving as the overall programme’s prime contractor. The NH90 programme is managed through the NHIndustries joint venture.

NHIndustries is a company jointly owned by Airbus Helicopters with a 62.5% stake, Leonardo with 32%, and GKN Fokker with 5.5%.

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Leonardo noted that the first NFH for Qatar is planned for delivery in the coming few months following its qualification.

Under the contract, Airbus Helicopters is performing the final assembly and supply of the 16 NH90 TTH aircraft from its Marignane facility.

Leonardo is responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFHs. Work on the naval version is being carried out at Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility in Italy.

The company said the deliveries of the helicopters will continue through to 2025.