As base of the German Army Aircorps, the school is responsible for the training and future development not only of Army aviators and their support teams but of all German Navy and Air Force helicopter personnel, too – and, increasingly, of those from abroad.
One major driving force behind this expansion of this Weapons System School is the introduction of the NH90, a new twin-engined multi-purpose tactical transport helicopter originally specified by France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. This aircraft’s modern design and extensive flexibility of role in land and sea-based missions alike has already helped it capture a total of more than 500 orders from 14 armed forces, plus options for almost 200 more. Germany alone has signed for a force of 120 army and air force versions so far, powered by Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 engines, and more are set to follow.
The benefits are emphasised by the fact that when the German Army’s full force of 80 NH90 tactical transport helicopters are in service they will deliver, as a unit, a massive 250 per cent increase in the lift capability of the Army’s current light transport helicopter force. Today this comprises more than 130 German-built UH-1D machines that have proved tough, dependable and valuable servants for more than 40 years, but their drawbacks include their cost of ownership and their unsuitability to meet intensive and complex modern theatre-of-combat demands.
Compared with the UH-1D, the increase in payload and range of the NH90 will contribute powerfully to air mobility and especially to air assault capability – personnel recovery and casualty evacuation. The command and control capability of the NH90 will be a very important asset to the Air Assault Commander.
Support of the NH90’s RTM322 engines, too, will provide a changed competitive model of the future, helping to energise the transformation process of the German armed forces. Rolls-Royce Deutschland and its facilities at Oberursel, will become their single-source industrial service provider for the RTM322.
Two pilots prepare the NH90 for another training flight
All German Army, Navy and Air Force helicopter crews are trained at the Army Aircorps base at Buckeburg