Italian Navy’s NH90 helicopter deliveries complete as state-of-the-art mission simulation centre is established at Maristaeli Luni Base

Rome,  02 October 2023 10:48

56 NH90 helicopters delivered, including 46 SH-90s for ASW/ASuW, and ten MH-90s for tactical utility transport 

Wholly developed by Leonardo, the Full Crew Simulation Training Centre allows high fidelity customised mission training in all scenarios 


The Italian Navy achieved a major rotorcraft capability enhancement milestone with the completion of deliveries of its NH90 helicopters combined with a dedicated simulation centre for its NH90 crews. The 46th SH-90A ASW/ASuW aircraft, assembled at Leonardo’s facility in Venice Tessera, has been deployed at the Italian Navy’s Maristaeli Luni Base and presented during an official ceremony attended by Italian Navy’s, Leonardo’s and NHIndustries’ dignitaries and representatives on 29 September. The helicopter also joins a fleet of ten MH-90As optimized for tactical transport duties and special operations bringing the total fleet of NH90s to 56 in service with this prime operator. The first Italian Navy’s NH90 was delivered in 2011. Since then, the whole fleet has logged in excess of 35,000 flight hours in multiple operations in Italy and internationally. 

The completion of deliveries occurs as a unique Full Crew Simulation Training Centre is established and opened at the base, featuring a dedicated Level D Full Flight Simulator of the type in full MR 1 configuration (therefore, representative of the latest avionics standard), all fully developed by Leonardo and tailored to the Italian Navy’s needs. The new simulation environment allows for the SH-90 and MH-90 crews (including both pilots and specialised personnel) to be trained with the highest level of fidelity and accuracy (1 simulation hour being equal to 1 real flight hour) to carry out missions in any kind of operational scenarios to the benefit of effectiveness, safety, efficiency, and sustainability. The system is suitable for further evolution in the future, such as the possibility to be linked to other simulation assets in order to develop joint and multi-domain networked mission training. Additionally, the Full Crew Simulation Training Centre will deliver training services to NH90 crews from other countries. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said: “The completion of the NH90 deliveries and the handover of this one-of-a-kind simulation environment marks a major step forward, which further reinforces our long-established partnership with the Italian Navy. I want to thank all Navy and industry personnel who made these results possible. We now look forward to continuing this collaboration with the Italian Navy towards new important goals and capability enhancement to meet evolving requirements.” 

Leonardo is responsible for, or contributes to, the design, production and integration of a wide range of critical NH90 components and systems. These include the rear fuselage, main gear box hydraulic system, upper modes of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), plant management system, power plant integration, NFH mission system (integrating sonar, radar, electro-optics, tactical link, electronic warfare system, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, mission video recording and weapon systems management including air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine (ASW) missions. Leonardo also integrates additional capabilities such as the Laser Obstacle Avoidance Monitoring (LOAM) system and the LEOSS-T electro-optical system as well as pintle-mounted Gatling-type guns, for specific customers.

The largest military helicopter programme in Europe, the NH90 is the optimal choice for modern operations thanks to its full-composite airframe with a large cabin, its excellent power-to-weight ratio and its wide range of role equipment. It features a quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system for reduced pilot workload and enhanced flight handling characteristics. The NH90 is available in two main variants: one specified for naval operations, the NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) and the TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land based operations. As of today, over 500 NH90 helicopters, a mixture of both variants, have been delivered worldwide carrying out missions in a wide range of weather and environmental conditions, over land and sea, and have amassed in excess of 380,000 flight hours. 

NHIndustries is the largest rotorcraft Joint Venture in European history and it is responsible for the design, manufacture and support of the NH90 helicopter, one of the leaders in the latest-generation of military helicopter. The company takes the best from European Rotorcraft and Defence Industry, being owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), Leonardo (32%) and GKN Fokker (5.5%). Each company has aerospace pedigree and brings the top of its skills and expertise to the end product.