NL NH90 N 228 EHKD 15Sep12 Richard Baas 640Upgrade programme Dutch NH90 helicopters

All nineteen NH90-NFH helicopters of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) will receive a Mid-Life Update (MLU). This MLU programme will start in 2028 and will keep the helicopters operationally relevant for another fifteen years.

The MLU programme includes both hardware and software adjustments, including new communications equipment, an improved sonar system, the integration of a new torpedo (Mk54, which the Royal Netherlands Navy will also use), and improved Electronic Support Measures System (ESM), or electromagnetic surveillance and collection equipment. The current data link system Link 11 will be repaced by Link 22, which has many more options and is more secure. This system is necessary to share the large amounts of data that the NH90 collects with other flying and sailing units.

The programme consists of two parts. The first is the development and qualification of the MLU, for which the Netherlands supplies one NH90. When this process is completed, the second process takes place, a so-called retrofit for the remaining eighteen aircraft.

Unlike a number of other countries, the Netherlands continues to use the NH90. The helicopters are operated by 860 Squadron Arcens affligo as part of the Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) at Den helder/De Kooy.

Credit photo: Richard Baas (Scramble Archive)

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