Germany finalises cuts to NH90, Tiger helicopter orders

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Germany has massively reduced its orders for troop transport and attack helicopters under a long-discussed "reorientation" plan for its armed forces.

Berlin initially ordered 122 NH Industries (NHI) NH90 TTHs and 80 Eurocopter Tiger UHTs in separate deals, but decided in 2011 to substantially alter its commitments, ushering in years of negotiations with industry.

 

Eurocopter

Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed on 15 March between the German defence ministry and manufacturers NHI and Eurocopter, those orders will fall to 82 NH90s and 57 Tigers - reductions of 33% and 29%, respectively.

As part of the agreement, Eurocopter will repurchase 11 previously delivered Tigers. Flightglobal's World Air Forces Directory 2013 records the German army as operating a total of 21 of the type, although one was destroyed in a training accident earlier in March.

 

Eurocopter

Under the adapted procurements, Germany will additionally acquire 18 of the NH90 NFH maritime variants for operation by the German navy, with the aircraft to replace its AgustaWestland Lynx and Sea King fleets.

A contest had previously been proposed for the naval helicopter procurement, with the service seeking up to 30 rotorcraft, but the new deal effectively brings that to an end.

Describing the agreement as an "important step", the defence ministry says the changes implemented should "avoid any negative impact" on other nations involved in the NH90 and Tiger programmes.