Italian NH-90 Helicopters Achieve 5,000 Flight Hours In Iraq

Italian NH-90
Five Italian UH-90A helicopters perform a flypast over Erbil airport to mark the completion of 5,000 flight hours in Iraq. (Photo: Italian MoD)

The helicopters are assigned to the Airmobile Task Group Griffon for Operation Prima Parthica, the Italian contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Italian Army’s UH-90 helicopters (as the NH90 is designated by the Italian MoD Mission Design Series) deployed to Erbil airport, Iraq, completed 5,000 flight hours in the country in support of the multinational coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve, a little more than a year after achieving the 4,000 hours milestone. The helicopters are assigned to the Airmobile Task Group Griffon as part of Operation Prima Parthica, the Italian contribution to OIR.

The UH-90 helicopters satisfy the transport needs of the deployed Italian military contingent, as well as contributing to the Air Mobility mission in support of the international forces in Iraq for OIR and NATO Mission Iraq. The Task Group Griffon operates in synergy with the U.S. Army Aviation Task Force Gamgler, also based at Erbil.

The Italian helicopters were deployed to Erbil in 2014, initially with the only roles of Personnel Recovery and Combat Search And Rescue in support of the international coalition. The unit was placed at the dependence of the coalition’s Combat Aviation Brigade, although all its activities are coordinated and directed by the Italian Comando Operativo di Vertice Interforze (Joint Operations Headquarters).

The Esercito Italiano is one of the NH90’s first and largest operators, as the UH-90A helicopters have logged more than 31,096 flight hours during operations carried out both at home and abroad, including Afghanistan and Iraq. The Italian Army has been the first operator to fly the NH90 in combat and is one of the operators that has been more vocal about their satisfaction in the helicopter.

However, not all its operators are fully satisfied. In fact, some of them, already decided to retire the European helicopter, with the most recent being Australia that grounded the MRH90 Taipan fleet after a recent deadly incident. Some other operators, like France and Spain, are even buying new NH90 to increase their fleets.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.