Airbus Helicopters has completed official delivery of the first two Tiger helicopters in the new HAD-E version and the first NH90 GSPA tactical transport helicopter destined for the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET).
These three helicopters were assembled in the Spanish plant in Albacete, which successfully carried out the industrial phase, airworthiness certification and technical acceptance.
“The delivery of these three helicopters is a very important milestone for our company and we wish to thank the Spanish Ministry of Defense for trusting in us,” declared Francisco Vergé, CEO of Airbus Helicopters España. “Our close relationship with the Spanish Army and the different departments of the Directorate-General of Armament and Equipment (DGAM) has been crucial to ensuring the success of these two high-tech programs”.
The NH90 is the backbone of the industrial projects at Airbus Helicopters España. It was the first program to be promoted by the Spanish Secretariat of Defense, with the support of the Ministry of Industry through the DGAM. Its aim is to meet the operational needs of the three branches of the Spanish Armed Forces through a common platform adapted to the requirements of each mission and featuring all the latest technological developments. In this way, it seeks to improve effectiveness and streamline operating expenses by reducing and modernizing the current fleet of helicopters and ensuring their sustainability over time.
Airbus Helicopters España will supply a total of 22 NH90 helicopters to the Spanish Armed Forces under a delivery schedule that continues through to 2021. The Spanish plant is responsible for assembly of all the NH90 helicopters for the Spanish Armed Forces, along with manufacture of the front fuselage section both for the Spanish helicopters and for those destined for export.
The Spanish version of the NH90, the GSPA, has been designed to perform technical missions such as troop transport, search and rescue missions, personnel recovery and medical evacuation. It is equipped for day and night operations in all types of environments.
As for the combat helicopters, Tiger deliveries belong to the new HAD-E version, which offers numerous advantages compared to the HAP-E Tigers currently in service: a new MTR-E turboshaft with 14% more power, an improved optronic vision system, Spike air-to-ground missiles, an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system coupled with an interrogator and a new electronic warfare and countermeasure system.
The Spanish Army purchased a total of 24 of these helicopters. To date, six HAP-E Tiger helicopters have been delivered to the Attack Helicopter Battalion. Their satisfactory deployment in Afghanistan during 2013 represents an important milestone for this helicopter.
The Industrial Participation Plan designed for these programs has ensured that Spanish industry, headed by Airbus Helicopters España, is fully involved in the entire life cycle for these helicopters, from the design stage through to flight testing and certification, component manufacture, the final assembly line and integrated support. Albacete is the only site that manufactures the rear fuselage section of the Tiger helicopter and the front fuselage of the NH90.