NH90 Sea Lion enters service with German Navy

By Dan Parsons | June 4, 2020

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 2 seconds.

The NH90 Sea Lion multi-purpose helicopter officially entered service with the German Navy on June 4, eight months after Airbus delivered the first aircraft in October 2019.

The German Navy assumed operation of the first three aircraft, that will eventually replace the Sikorsky Mk.41 Sea King from the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr. Naval Inspector Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, had approved of the handover on May 27. An official ceremony for the Sea Lion’s commissioning with the Naval Forces will follow on June 25.


One of Germany’s first NH90 Sea Lions at the Airbus manufacturing site in Donauwörth, Germany. Airbus Helicopters Photo

Germany’s Naval Aviation Squadron 5 currently has three Sea Lion Naval Transport Helicopters (NTH) at its base in Nordholz. The German Army’s version of the NH90 NATO helicopter is called the “Tactical Transport Helicopter”or TTH.

In total, 18 Sea Lions have been ordered for the German Navy, with deliveries expected through 2022. The selection of the Sea Lion as the successor to the Mk 41 Sea King was made in March 2013 and the corresponding contract was signed in June 2015.

The German Navy has also recently opted for the naval version of the NH90 to succeed its 22 Sea Lynx Mk 88A on-board helicopters that have been in service since 1981.

Five nations are already using the NH90 in its naval NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) version and have completed more than 50,000 flying hours in SAR, humanitarian and military missions, with the 90 helicopters that have been delivered so far. The 399 helicopters that make up the worldwide NH90 fleet have already completed over 230,000 flying hours. This first Sea Lion delivered to Germany in October 2019 was the 400th NH90 helicopter to be delivered.

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