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NHIndustries and partners Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker, have delivered the first NH90 to the Spanish Air Force, the companies announced on 14 October. The aircraft will boost the service’s search and rescue (SAR) and combat SAR (CSAR) capabilities.

The Air Force will receive 12 NH90s, intended to replace its aging fleet of AS332 SUPER PUMAs: they will be based in Cuatro Vientos, near Madrid. Spain has ordered a total of 45 NH90s in the tactical transport version, to be operated by the three armed forces: 13 have already been delivered to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) for Manoeuvre Battalion III in Agoncillo.

Gen Javier Salto Martínez-Avial, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, commented that “For the Spanish Air Force, the NH90 provides an essential asset capable of performing a wide range of missions, including tactical transport of troops and logistics support in peacekeeping or reconstruction missions and, of course, the main search and rescue missions in hostile conditions, which is one of the most demanding and complex missions for helicopter units.”

Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, Head of the NH90 programme at Airbus Helicopters and President of NHIndustries, added that “The NH90 is particularly suited to operating in hot and high conditions and will prove to be a real asset to the critical missions performed by the Spanish Air Force.”

The NH90 will provide all three services with a versatile and modern transport helicopter that offers unrivalled military capabilities. The Spanish variant of the NH90 features next-generation General Electric CT7 8F5 engines, a personalized communications system and a sophisticated EW system developed by Indra. It will be supported by training devices (including full flight simulators), automatic maintenance equipment (SAMe), and an automatic mission planning system (AMPS), also developed by Indra. Airbus Helicopters in Spain is involved in manufacture of the fuselage, as well as the avionics software development and integration.

Over a dozen NH90s have already been delivered to Spain, though this is the first to be received by the Air Force. (Photo via Airbus/Anthony Pecchi)

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