Spanish Air Force receives first NH90

Airbus Helicopters announced on October 14 that the first of 12 NHIndustries NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters (TTHs) has been delivered to the Spanish Air Force.

Spain ordered the platform to boost the air force’s search and rescue (SAR) and combat search and rescue (CSAR) capabilities and replace its ageing fleet of Aérospatiale AS332 Super Pumas. In Spanish service, the 12 SAR-configured NH90 TTHs will operate from Cuatro Vientos air base, near Madrid.

In the statement, Spain’s General of the Air Force Javier Salto, said: “The NH90 provides an essential asset capable of performing a wide range of missions.” The platform’s core role will be to support SAR operations in hostile environments, “which is one of the most demanding and complex missions for helicopter units,” Salto added. It will also be used for troop transport and logistics support in peacekeeping or reconstruction missions.

Spanish Air Force NH90 [Airbus]
The Spanish Air Force's SAR-configured NHIndustries NH90 TTHs are being produced at Airbus Helicopters' facility in Albacete, Spain. There, the company manufactures the fuselage and handles the avionics software development and integration process. Airbus

In total, Spain has ordered 45 NH90s for use across all three of its military air arms. The Spanish Air Force will receive 12 and the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) has ordered 26 NH90 TTHs, 13 of which have already been delivered. The Spanish Naval Air Arm has seven examples of the NH90 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) variant on order and is yet to accept its first aircraft.

Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, head of the NH90 programme at Airbus Helicopters and president of NHIndustries, added: “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 Spanish variants of the NH90 are powered by GE Aviation’s CT7-8F5 turboshaft engines and feature a personalised communications system. Spain-based Indra Sistemas provides the helicopter’s electronic warfare system, along with training devices (including flight simulators), automatic maintenance equipment and an automatic mission planning system.