An internal German Army report made a damning assessment of the German Military's new NHIndustries NH90 multi-purpose Helicopter. The 103-page document assesses the Helicopter's current operational capability as extremely limited, and highlights a range of deficiencies. Compiled by the Luftlande- und Lufttransportschule (Airborne and Air Transport School), the report recommends using alternative aircraft whenever possible in an operational scenario.Key problems outlined by the military include excessively limited ground clearance that prohibits soldiers' entry and exit except when on hard surfaces that are free of obstacles greater than 16 centimeters. Within the cabin, the seats are considered capable of accommodating only soldiers who weigh less than 110 kilograms with their gear. The German Army's latest Infantrie der Zukunft (Future Soldier) personal equipment weighs 25 kilos.
Limited internal dimensions mean that an infantry team can be carried only if team members leave their personal weapons and kit on the floor, where the items cannot be secured. The floor has proven so sensitive that it can be damaged by dirty boots, and the rear ramp is unable to support fully equipped soldiers, limiting its use for rapid entry and disembarkation.
Heavier infantry weapons, such as the Stinger man-portable surface-to-air missile and MILAN anti-armor missile, cannot currently be transported, since strap-down attachments are not provided. The transport of combined loads of troops and cargo is also prohibited.
The limited cabin space means there is no defensive machine gun and door-gunner.
The Helicopter's winch is not powerful enough for the fast-roping of commando teams or boarding parties. The NH90 is also unable to deliver paratroops using automatic release, the report states.