German Navy accepts first Sea Lion

The Marineflieger (the German naval air arm) has taken delivery of its first NHIndustries NH90 Sea Lion maritime multi-purpose utility helicopter.

The aircraft – which is the first of 18 for the air arm – was handed over to the navy by the Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw, Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support) on June 4.

An official ceremony to commission the Sea Lion into German service will take place on June 25.

NH90 Sea Lion [Airbus Helicopters/Christian Keller] #1
The NH90 Sea Lion - serial 98+51 - during the type's maiden flight in late 2016. Airbus Helicopters/Christian Keller 

In service, the Sea Lion – which is the German name for the NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) variant of the NH90 – will replace the nation’s ageing Westland WS-61 Sea King Mk41 search and rescue (SAR) helicopter fleet. 

As of June 15, four Sea Lions had been handed over to Germany, three of which have been fully delivered to the naval air arm’s Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (MFG 5, Naval Aviation Wing 5) at Nordholz air base.

Germany is also procuring a number of NH90 NFHs to replace its Westland Super Lynx Mk88A fleet. The quantity of aircraft being ordered has yet to be confirmed.