On January 23, at the Maristaeli Luni helicopter base in Sarzana, the first MH-90 tactical transport helicopter was delivered to the Fifth Helicopter Group in the presence of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Valter Girardelli, and the Commander of Naval Aviation, Rear Admiral Giorgio Gomma.
Industry was represented by the CEO of Leonardo’s Helicopter Division, Dr. Daniele Romiti, who said: "With the NH 90 MITT program, the Navy has provided industry with the opportunity to create an innovative product in response to the needs of the Armed Forces, and which international customers are already looking at with interest."
This particular variant of the NH-90 is designated MH-90, and contains the most important features of the naval version, such as the landing gear and rotors optimized for shipboard use, and of the land-based version, such as the rear ramp and the mission equipment package.
The specific handling characteristics, thanks to the fly-by-wire flight controls, and the presence of the piloting FLIR, slaved to the pilot's helmet that allows images to be projected directly onto the visor, make it particularly suitable for tactical, nap-of-the-earth flight at very low altitude. In fact, the new MH-90 version has been specifically designed to support the amphibious operations of the San Marco Marine Brigade and of the Special Forces, "without losing the use of multi-role and dual-use capabilities that distinguish all of the Navy’s equipment," Adm. Gomma pointed out.
The helicopter, identified by the its 3-51 fuselage number, is the first of ten MH-90s assigned to the Navy’s aviation component, and entered into service today at the Fifth Helicopters Group.