The NH90 had a successful 2020 with the Bundeswehr placing an order for 31 naval helicopters to replace the ageing Sea Lynx fleet due to be retired. The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) confirmed the development of a new Standard 2 version to equip the French Special Forces and the first NH90 for Qatar performed its maiden flight at the end of the year.
On the customer support and service side, once again there was a strong showing for HCare support contracts, with new customers joining the ranks such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Air Methods Corporation. Facing the global pandemic, the company mobilised to keep its military and civil customers flying thanks to elevated levels of technical and logistics support, new distance learning solutions, and direct assistance from Airbus Helicopters in making protective equipment available to pilots and crews. A new AirbusWorld collaborative customer platform was launched based on feedback from customers, offering a streamlined user experience and new functionalities aimed at fostering open dialogue among operators and with the company.
Airbus Helicopters’ resilient business model allows the company to continue investing and preparing the future. In 2020, innovation milestones included the first fully automatic flight of CityAirbus, a demonstrator that will play an important role in developing zero-emission flight and in preparing the future urban air mobility market. The VSR700, the company’s rotary-wing unmanned aerial system, performed its first free flight in July and autonomous deck-landing trials at the end of the year.