German Navy’s NH90 Sea Tiger performs maiden flight

The first NH90 Sea Tiger took off on schedule for its maiden flight, at Airbus Helicopters’ site in Donauwörth, Germany.


The German Bundeswehr ordered 31 NH90 Sea Tiger multi-role frigate helicopters for the German Navy’s shipborne operations in 2020.

Airbus Helicopters is now entering a qualification phase that will focus on flight testing the helicopter and new systems to be installed on board the NH90 Sea Tiger. Deliveries are scheduled to begin at the end of 2025.

“We are proud to equip the German Navy with the NH90 Sea Tiger. Operating both the NH90 Sea Lion and the Sea Tiger will allow the Navy to further streamline its operations and maintenance,” said Stefan Thomé, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Germany.

“The NH90 Sea Lion, which is already in service with the Navy, has recently proven its capabilities during a first major rescue operation in the North Sea.”

The helicopters will replace the German Navy’s ageing Mk88A Sea Lynx fleet which entered into service in 1981. The Bundeswehr already operates 18 NH90 Sea Lion naval transport helicopters which were delivered on schedule between 2019 and 2023.

The Sea Tiger is the latest version of the proven NH90 NFH (Naval Version). It has been specifically designed to match the needs of the German Navy for anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

Novelties include a new Electro-Optical System and improved Electronic Support Measures (ESM). On top, the Sea Tiger is equipped with a dipping sonar, sonobuoys, and weapons (torpedoes and missiles). The shipborne Sea Tigers’ missions include, in addition to reconnaissance and transport, engaging targets above and below the surface. 

135 naval NH90 helicopters have already been delivered to six nations and have completed  over 90,000 flight hours in search and rescue, humanitarian, and military operations.