PARIS, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The French military is continuing to build its fleet of NH90-TTH helicopters, ordering six additional tactical transport aircraft.
The order to NH Industries from the French defense procurement agency DGA, bringing the number of Caiman model helicopters ordered to 74, of which 44 will have been delivered by 2019.
"The French armed forces have deployed the NH90 operationally in Mali where its outstanding endurance, versatility and maneuverability have been greatly appreciated", said Guillaume Faury, president and chief executive officer of Airbus Helicopters. "This additional order for six NH90s, to be delivered in 2017 - 2019, confirms the essential role that new-generation multi-role helicopters play in modern operations."
Airbus Helicopters is a member of a consortium comprising NH Industries and manufactures the NH90 at a facility in France.
Mali is a former French colony in France where French forces are conducting counter-insurgency operations against Islamic militants.
The NH90 is a twin turbine helicopter developed in cooperation by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. It is the first military helicopter to adopt fly-by-wire flight controls. It is available in two variants: a tactical transport for ground forces and a naval variant for missions such as anti-submarine operations and search and rescue.
They are fitted with the full range of combat equipment, including night vision sights, armor protection and electronic counter-measures.