Airbus Helicopters delivered the first H215 helicopter to the Spanish Air Force in a ceremony in Albacete, Spain on Monday, the company said Tuesday.
The purchase for the helicopter was negotiated in July by the Spanish Minister of Defense through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
The H215 is based on the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma family and features a twin-engine, heavy rotorcraft design with multi-functional digital screens, and advanced 4-axis autopilot for flight envelope protection, and stability in harsh operating conditions, the company said.
This helicopter performed final test flights at the Albacete plant on Sept. 22, where it was also painted and fitted with specific mission systems aimed at enhancing the H215 search and rescue (SAR) and personnel recover/combat SAR (CSAR) missions. It also features additional fuel tanks extending the range to nearly 348 miles, an emergency buoyancy system, high-frequency radio, hoist, and cockpit compatible with night vision goggles, Airbus said.
This new H215 will be assigned to the Spanish Air Force’s 802 Squadron/RCC Cnarias and is expected to arrive at the base in Grando, Gran Canaria before the end of 2016.
Airbus highlighted the Air Force currently operates several other rotorcraft in the Super Puma family within 3 SAR Squadrons and the 402 Air Force Squadron, which transports senior government officials.
This first Spanish H215 is set to enter service immediately following a short training program for crews already experienced flying other version of the Super Puma.
Airbus did not disclose how many additional H215s may be included in the purchase agreement.
“We are very grateful to the Air Force for its renewed confidence, and I am proud to be here today to deliver a helicopter that is not only powerful, rapid and reliable, but also cost-effective, offering a highly optimized operating costs,” Francisco Vergé, general manager of Airbus Helicopters in Spain, said in a statement.