Europe’s NH Industries (NHI) has signed a contract with the NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA) to develop an upgraded version of the NH90 troop transport helicopter (TTH) for the French Special Forces.
Under the contract, NHI will supply 10 NH90s specially configured for the special operations role from 2025. Dubbed TFRA Standard 2, the aircraft will feature new EuroFLIR sensors and enhanced display screens, a digital 3D map, folding boarding steps, new removable ‘leaf’ cabin doors, a fast-rope beam, and additional ceiling-mounted rope anchor points.
A follow-on development will include a fixed distributed aperture system (DAS) to provide 360 degree situation awareness of threats onto the pilots’ helmets.
“This opportunity brings transformative digital technologies to the NH90 which will make it even more capable in precisely the kind of challenging conditions that can be faced today by Special Forces,” Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, Head of NH90 program at Airbus Helicopters and President of NH Industries said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing it in service with the French Army and to offering it to other NH90 customers.”
One of these customers may include the Australian Army. Many of the improvements planned for the French TFRA Standard 2 – in particular the leaf doors and rope anchor points – would go some way towards addressing the issues Australia has experienced integrating the MRH 90 into the special forces role with 6 Aviation Regiment (6Avn) at Holsworthy in Sydney.