The Royal Netherlands Navy was the first to receive the naval variant of the NH90 and the first to deploy it at sea. After some initial difficulties, the helicopter is maturing to become a capable multi-mission platform, explains Jeroen van Veenendaal.
In 2000, the Dutch MoD signed a production contract for 20 NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) maritime helicopters. They were bought to replace the ageing fleet of Westland Lynxes that had been in use with the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) since 1976. The NH90 was developed and is manufactured by NHIndustries, an international collaboration, which is owned by Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker Aerostructures. The first prototype conducted its maiden flight in December 1995; the type began operational service in 2007 and, in 2010, the Netherlands became the first country to receive the NFH variant. The type was declared fully operational in Dutch service in January 2013.