Press Release


NH90 Helicopter - 3rd Prototype in Flight -

Marignane, 27.11.1998

NH90 Helicopter - 3rd Prototype in Flight -

The maiden flight of the third prototype of the NH90 (PT3) took place successfully on 27 November 1998 : the NH90 Programme, which represents a landmark programme for Europe's aircraft industry, has added a further important step forward. The trial started at 17.05 p.m., and during .30. minutes, the NH90 PT3 was flown by :

the experimental test pilot:Philippe BOUTRY

the flight test engineer : Denis TRIVIER

the flight engineer Jean-Claude RABANY.

The PT3, under Eurocopter responsibility, was assembled with modules and components contributed by Agusta, Eurocopter Deutschland, and Fokker, the other three industrial partners in the programme.

The PT3 is completely fitted with the basic Avionic Core System consisting of Fly-By-Wire controls with Automatic Flight Control, Navigation, Communication and Identification, Plant Management, full glass cockpit, and the basic aircraft systems such as Hydraulic, Environmental Control, Electrical, and Fuel. The PT3 is powered by two Turbomeca RTM322 engines.

The power plant system is of latest state-of-the-art technology : computerised control and monitoring systems based on the Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC).

All those systems installed on the PT3 are representative of the final serial configuration. PT3 will be dedicated to the qualification of above said basic Core Avionic System and aircraft systems. In addition a specific lightning strike electronic magnetic interference test campaign will be performed.

The instrument panel lay-out complies with the common basic configuration featuring four 8x8 inch liquid crystal Multifunction Displays (TTH version), with the complete provision for the fifth one (NFH version).

As a first general equipment the PT3 will also be equipped with a rescue hoist. NHIndustries, prime contractor for the quadrinational NH90 helicopter Programme (launched by France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands), is pleased to say that the crew and the engineers, present at the flight trial, confirmed their overall satisfaction for the NH90 in flight behaviour.

This important step and the flight test results allow the stabilisation of the vehicle design and the consolidation of the achievements in all the NH90 development areas :

The PT1 has been subject to installation of the General Electric-Alfa Romeo T700/T6E engines as the alternative motorization. With its 100th flight on 26 November in this configuration it has satisfactorily logged more than 84 flight hours to be added to 160 flight hours already totalized with Turbomeca RTM322 engines.

The PT1 has also performed during last summer a Ship Trials campaign in Italy. Within 2 days, 62 deck landings were performed on the Le Courbet (La Fayette-class French frigate) under various speeds and attitudes, demonstrating the excellent manoeuvring capabilities of the NH90.

The PT2 flying activity for Fly-By-Wire development has totalized more than 120 hours.

Flight envelope has been opened up to 20.000 feet altitude, at speeds up to 190 kts, at extremes centre of gravity, at a max gross weight of 10.000 kgs, 12 deg slope landings, and rolling landings at speeds exceeding 50 knots.

The general impression of the industry flight test crew, military pilots, and test engineers of the Four Nations, is that they are impressed by the NH90 excellent performance, handling qualities, and general behaviour.

The Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) achieved a total of 424 running test hours, contributing to obtain the clearances for the flight of PT1, PT2, and PT3.

PT4 and PT5 final assembly is well progressing as well as other ground test activities contributing to the mission systems development and qualification.

For the naval version (NFH) of NH90 development work is concentrating on the evaluation of the Tactical Control System using the NH90 NFH Simulator, on the cabin lay-out optimisation, on the detailed definition of the Helo/Ship interface, on the main rotor blades and tail boom automatic folding system optimisation, and on the commissioning of the NFH Mission Integration Rig.

For the tactical transport version (TTH) particular effort is dedicated to the evaluation of the Tactical Control System using the NH90 TTH Simulator, to the instrument panel and cabin lay-out optimisation, and to the completion and commissioning of TTH Mission Integration Rig.


1990/1991 - Signature of the MoUs among the Four Nations.

1991 - Design & Development Contract preparation.

1992 Mar. - Signature of the Intercompany Agreement (ICA) by the four Companies involved : Agusta (Italy), Eurocopter (France), Eurocopter Deutschland, Fokker Aviation (The Netherlands). Feb. - Creation of NAHEMA. Aug. - Creation of NHIndustries (NHI). 1 Sep. - Signature of the NH90 D&D contract by NAHEMA and NHI.

1993 - Preliminary Design of NH90 in both TTH and NFH versions. - Detailed design of the helicopter by the 4 Companies. - Wind tunnel tests.

1994 - Presentation of the first main rotor blade. - Manufacturing of the mechanical parts and detailed subsystems definition in the plants of the four Partner Companies. - Joining of the main fuselage modules of first prototype PT1 (October).

1995 - Laboratory and ground tests. Preparation of simulators and integration facilities. - Completion of the PT1 assembly. - Completion of the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV). - Progress of the PT2 manufacturing. - Beginning of the PT3 manufacturing. 28 Sep. - 1st run of the" GTV. 29 Sep. - Roll-out of the PT1. 6 Oct. - Signature of the Additional Work and National Customisation contract by NAHEMA and NHI. 18 Dec. - Maiden flight of the PT1.

1996 15 Feb. - First Flight Ceremony with in flight presentation to the Directors of Armament of France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. May - Daily flight during ILA Berlin exhibition. - In flight presentation to the French President M. Chirac. Nov. - Roll-out of the second prototype PT2.

1997 19 Mar. - Maiden flight of the PT2. June - Daily flight display at the Paris Airshow. 2 July - 1st flight of PT2 with Fly-By-Wire system. 29 July - PT1 transfer to Agusta for 2nd engine installation. Dec. - NHIndustries receives ISO 9001 certification

1998 13 Mar. - 1st flight of PT1 with T700/T6E engines May - Daily flight display at ILA-98 in Berlin and Berlin confirmation of the nations of their NH90 needs : 642 helicopters with first delivery in 2003. June - Issue of the RFP for industrialisation and first production batch of 151 helicopters. July - NHI answer to the RFP. 22-23 July- PT1 ship trial campaign with 62 landings on a Frigate class ship during 2 days.

Eurocopter (France) assembles and tests the first three prototypes representing the "common helicopter". Eurocopter Deutschland has the same responsibility for the prototype No. 4, representing the Tactical Transport version and Agusta (Italy) for the Ground Test Vehicle, and the prototype No. 5 representing the naval version and the qualification trials of the T700 engine installation on PT1.

For further information, please contact :

Alain Gauthier
Tel (+33) 4 42 95 97 02
Fax (+33) 4 42 95 97 49
Jean-Louis Espes
Tel: (+33) 4 42 85 95 55
Fax: (+33) 4 42 85 95 64

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