Airbus Helicopters reported that the first NH90 Sea Lion helicopter for the German Navy is out of the paint shop. The helicopter is expected to fly for the first time in November 2016.
The first helicopter with 17 others and from 2019 onwards, replaces the Sea King helos still in use with the Marine.
The naval variant differs from German Army NH90s as it has a stronger landing gear for deck landings, plus provisions for the installation of a full anti-submarine warfare (ASW) kit and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) kit. The German government still has to decide on the exact specifications, though. The Netherlands, France, Italy, Norway and Sweden already operate ASW-versions of the NH90.
The Sea Lions are intended to provide continued anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface vessel warfare, ASW, maritime surveillance, search and rescue (SAR), vertical replenishment, and transport capabilities for the German Navy’s F124 Sachsen-class frigates, the planned F125 Baden-Wurttemberg-class frigates, and the Berlin-class (Type 702) combat support vessels.