French Navy Nh90 Nick Jennings

NH90 NFH Caiman

The NH90 was formerly a product of the NHIndustries conglomerate, which is now part of Airbus Helicopters. This multi-role machine is available in two main versions, the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) and NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter). Developed as a partnership between France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and later Portugal, the NH90 first flew in 1995 and eventually entered service in 2007. Currently 13 nations operate an NH90 variant however its development has not been without trouble with the 14th nation - Norway - retiring their helicopters during 2022 due to poor aircraft availability.

Replacing the Lynx and Super Frelon fleets, the French Navy operate a fleet of 27 NH90 NFHs which they call the Caiman. The Caiman performs a wide range of roles from shore and ship based operating locations including Search and Rescue, maritime counter terrorism, anti-ship warfare and anti-submarine warfare. French Caimans are equipped with droppable sonar buoys, a dipping sonar and torpedoes allowing them to both locate, track and attack submersed targets. The entire fleet when not deployed aboard ships is based at Lanvéoc on the west coast of Brittany.

The French Navy will be providing one of their Caimans for static display at this year's Air Tattoo. This will be the first time a French Navy Caiman has attended RIAT.

Photo Credit: Nick Jennings

On display