ROME, June 29 (UPI) -- The Italian navy has taken delivery of the first of 56 NH90 NFH helicopters for anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and utility roles.
Helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland said the NH90 NFH will give the Italian navy increased operational capability and mission effectiveness due to aircraft's technology and performance.
The Italian navy is the second Italian service to receive the NH90. The Italian army has a total of 60 NH90 TTH helicopters on order.
AgustaWestland said other countries choosing its NFH naval variant include the Netherlands, Norway, France and Belgium.
A total of 111 NH90 NFH naval helicopters have been ordered by these nations.
Other countries that have ordered a total of 529 NH90s in different variants include the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greece, Spain and Belgium in Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Oman.
The NH90 NFH variant is primarily designed for autonomous and joint anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare missions as well as search and rescue, maritime patrol, vertical replenishment, troop transport, medical evacuation and amphibious support roles.
The helicopter is designed for day and night operations in adverse weather conditions from the decks of ships. Because of its optimal weight and dimensions, the deck-lock system, the deck traversing system and the automatic blade and tail folding system, it can operate from small frigates even in high seas, AgustaWestland said.
The NH90, developed in the TTH utility transport and NFH naval versions, proves the ideal solution to meet requirements from many potential additional customers worldwide for a number of duties.
The NH90 program is managed by NAHEMA, the NATO Helicopter Management Agency, representing France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal, and by the NH Industries industrial consortium comprising AgustaWestland, Eurocopter and Fokker Aerostructures.
AgustaWestland is responsible for the production of the main transmission, tail drive shafts, hydraulic system, automatic flight control system, rear ramp, rear fuselage, the T700/6E1 engine solution installation and on-board computers.
In addition, AgustaWestland is responsible for the overall integration of the NH90 naval mission system for all NFH variants.
AgustaWestland's Venice Tessera plant in Italy is the new final assembly line for the NH90s ordered by Italy, the Netherlands Norway and Portugal.
The twin-engined NH90 first entered service in 2006 and was designed to meet NATO requirements.
It has a carbon fiber fuselage, a four-blade main rotor design, twin doors and a rear ramp, composite rotor blades, modular avionic system, and a fly-by-wire control system.
The aircraft's flight ceiling is about 20,000 feet and can operate in temperatures between -40 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.