LONDON — The German army has begun operations with its medevac-configured NHIndustries transport helicopters in northern Afghanistan.
The aircraft were officially declared “operationally capable” on June 23, allowing them to be used by regional commanders in the northern provinces, where German troops are currently stationed. Germany becomes the second country to operate its NH90s in theater after the Italian army, which currently uses five NH90s on transport operations in the west of the country from Herat.
The aircraft were due to be operational by June 30.
Germany has deployed four NH90s to Afghanistan, and will operate the aircraft from Mazar-e-Sharif. Two are operational and the other two are held in a technical reserve status. Typical missions will see a single NH90 in a medevac configuration, with the second acting as an armed escort.
The medevac aircraft have been retrofitted byinto what officials call a “Forward Air MedEvac” configuration allowing for the transport and treatment of injured personnel. The equipment includes two stretchers, medical equipment, transport boxes, oxygen and additional seats for medical staff. The aircraft also have been fitted with extra ballistic protection.
Earlier this year, the German government green lighted the deployment of theTiger attack helicopter to theater.
Four of the helicopters were transported to Mazar-e-Sharif in late 2012 and began full operations in February armed with a pod-mounted gun, unguided rockets and the MBDA HOT-guided missile.
The Tigers were specially modified for the mission by Eurocopter into a new operational configuration, called Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment (Asgard-F) (F for Full). The first batch of Asgard aircraft was delivered to the Germany army in August 2012. The configuration adds sand filters, a mission recorder and a new radio set to improve interoperability with coalition forces in the region.