New Belgian Air Force helicopters less frequently deployed: too expensive

25/06/2020, 10:39
Een NH-90 heli van de Belgische luchtmacht
© Cuppens

The Belgian Defense Department will reduce the number of flights of four expensive transport helicopters. The four NH-90 helicopters (TTH version) are hardly five years old, but it is costing an arm and a leg to use them, VRT NWS reports. They often have to be repaired, and there is not enough staff for this continuous task. On average, one hour of flying with this type of helicopter costs about 12,000 euros.

The TTH is the version of the NH-90 designed to carry out transports. Several problems emerged ever since the helicopters were purchased five years ago.

Each helicopter cost 30 million euros. And keeping them in the air also costs a pretty penny: 12,000 euros per hour, compared to 5,000 euros for the Sea King, the predecessor of the NH-90. Moreover, the TTH is often nursing problems, and repairs have to be done on such a frequent basis that the army does not have enough staff to maintain them.

This triggered the decision to use them less often: there are talks of 600 hours per year instead of 1,000. It will also be discussed whether the helicopters will be kept altogether.