German Navy’s New Sea Tiger Helicopter Completes First Flight

The German Navy’s first NH90 Sea Tiger multi-role frigate helicopter has completed its maiden flight in Donauwörth, Bavaria.

The test is part of a 2020 contract signed with Airbus Helicopters that ordered 31 Sea Tigers for the service’s shipborne missions.

Delivery of the remaining helicopters will run until 2025. The fleet will replace the navy’s aging Mk88A Sea Lynx twin-engined helicopters commissioned in 1981.

The Sea Tigers will operate alongside 18 NH90 Sea Lion transport helicopters also procured from Airbus, with deliveries completed earlier this year.

The NH90 Sea Tiger

The Sea Tiger system is the upgraded version of the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter operational in over 10 countries.

According to Airbus, the Sea Tiger was designed to address German Navy requirements for anti-submarine warfare.

The helicopter includes a new electronic support measure and electro-optical system, as well as sonobuoys, dipping sonar, and advanced armaments to further support combat vessels against sea and submersible targets. It can also support reconnaissance and transport tasks.

Sea Lion
NH90 NFH Sea Lion naval helicopter. Photo: Airbus

Qualification Follows

After the Donauwörth demonstration, Airbus will undergo a qualification phase to validate the flight performance of the helicopter and new systems to be installed.

“We are proud to equip the German Navy with the NH90 Sea Tiger. Operating both the NH90 Sea Lion and the Sea Tiger will allow the Navy to further streamline its operations and maintenance,” Airbus Helicopters Germany Managing Director Stefan Thomé stated.

“The NH90 Sea Lion, which is already in service with the Navy, has recently proven its capabilities during a first major rescue operation in the North Sea.”

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