NH Industries’ (NHI) first naval-variant NH90 to have been produced for Belgium made a 45min flight debut from Eurocopter‘s Donauwörth production site in Germany on 5 April, launching a test programme for the nation’s Westland Sea King replacement.
“The crew successfully tested the basic systems of this new generation aircraft,” NHI says. “During the next few weeks, this first Belgian NH90 NFH will perform several other test flights in order to check the aircraft behaviour and its mission system, with industry and customer crews.”
Belgium will introduce four NH90s as replacements for its maritime Sea Kings, with the Step B standard aircraft to be in a similar configuration to the NFH aircraft acquired by the Netherlands. Brussels is acquiring another four NH90s in the tactical transport helicopter variant, with the first of these having been delivered to the Belgian Air Component on 21 December 2012.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database records Belgium as operating four Sea King 48s, all of which were first flown in 1976.