Airbus Helicopters announced the delivery of first of the 18 ordered NH-90 Sea Lion naval multi-role helicopter to the Germany navy, on Thursday.
The rotorcraft was delivered to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw).
The selection of the Sea Lion as the successor to the Sea King was made in March 2013, and the corresponding contract was signed in June 2015. The new aircraft with fly-by-wire flight controls, will replace the navy’s ageing fleet of Sea King Mk41 helicopters.
The company will ship two more choppers by year-end. Delivery of all 18 choppers is expected to be completed in 2022, Airbus said in a statement.
When deployed, NH90 Sea Lions will take on a range of roles including search and rescue (SAR), maritime reconnaissance, special forces as well as personnel and material transportation missions. In addition to its land-based use, the Sea Lion will also operate on Type 702 (Berlin class) combat support ships.
The German Navy has also recently opted for the naval version of the NH90 to succeed its 22 Sea Lynx Mk 88A on-board helicopters that have been in service since 1981.