The German Navy has welcomed the state-of-the-art NH90 Sea Lion, which will take maritime capabilities to a new level


On January 26, 2023, the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) in Donauwörth took delivery of the last of a total of 18 NH-90 Sea Lion naval multi-role transport helicopters. The delivery to the Navy was commissioned by the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) in 2015 and was completed on schedule and on budget. The Sea Lion is the Naval Transport Helicopter (NTH) variant of the NH90. Delivered since 2018, it replaces the Mk41 Sea King helicopter that has been in use for almost 50 years. After the handover of the final aircraft, the new, state-of-the-art helicopter is expected to take over the Search And Rescue (SAR) service from mid-2023, initially in parallel operation. In addition, the Sea Lion, like the Sea King up to now, serves in its main military task for the transport of material or people. And, thanks to its far-reaching sensors, it can also be used for reconnaissance and thus make an important contribution to situational awareness.

In order to master potential challenges when introducing the Sea Lion, the BAAINBw and the Naval Aviation in Nordholz worked very closely together from the start. This coordination between the office and end users, as well as efficiently adapted processes, have made it possible to master many challenges quickly and consistently.In contrast to its predecessor, the Sea King, the Sea Lion has a stern ramp. This makes it even more flexible in its function as a transport helicopter. In addition, experts from the industry were involved at the user’s site. This improved their ability to react to unforeseeable questions in technical operations. The material situation for the weapon system is also improving because the Bundeswehr and industry have placed the supply of spare parts and ground equipment on a new basis by concluding a contract for performance-based logistics.

The ZtQ Center for Technical Quality Management department of BAAINBw. It supports the project areas in the other departments during procurement with official quality assurance directly on site in the industry. In the case of the procurement of the NH-90, the Donauwörth regional office was responsible for supporting and advising the project management in the BAAINBw. The ZtQ center for technical quality management aviation experts from Donauwörth can carry out tests in accordance with national and European aviation standards and NATO requirements at any time. Pilots from the WTD 61 military technical service center for aircraft and aeronautical equipment in Manching supported the experts from the ZtQ center for technical quality management. Based on many years of experience, the testing team of the BAAINBw ensures the contractually agreed quality of the products and services for the German Armed Forces.

The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter. It was developed in response to NATO requirements for a battlefield helicopter which would also be capable of being operated in naval environments. The NH90 was developed and is manufactured by NHIndustries, a collaborative company owned by Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland) and Fokker Aerostructures.The NH-90 program is based on the harmonized requirements of Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, which founded the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) in 1992. The basis for the procurement of the NH-90 product family is a development and procurement contract between NAHEMA and the industrial consortium NH Industries, signed in the year 2000. The project management organization for the NH-90 weapon system is based in Group L8 of the Air Department in the BAAINBw. It is thus responsible for the development, procurement and use of all the NH-90s of the German Armed Forces – both the Army and the Navy.

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