The Spanish Air Force is set to take delivery of the first NH90 helicopter from NHIndustries and its partners, Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker.

The aircraft is expected to increase capabilities for the airforce’s search and rescue (SAR) and combat search and rescue (CSAR) missions.

The country placed orders for 45 NH90 tactical transport variants for use by the three services.

Of the total, 13 helicopters were handed over to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) for the Maneuver III Battalion in Agoncillo.

The Spanish Air Force will receive 12 NH90s that will replace the existing fleet of AS332 Super Pumas.

Spanish Air Force general Javier Salto said: “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.”

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The Spanish version of the aircraft is equipped with General Electric CT7 8F5 engines, a personalised communications system and an electronic warfare system.

Additionally, it will feature training devices such as full flight simulators, automatic maintenance equipment (SAMe) and Indra-developed automatic mission planning system (AMPS).

NHIndustries president and Airbus Helicopters NH90 programme head Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude 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.”

In November 2018, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace opened a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and test facility for AW101 and NH90 helicopter transmissions.