Airbus Helicopters delivered the first NH90 GSPA tactical transport helicopter and the first two HAD-E version Tiger helicopters to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET), the company said on Thursday.

Airbus is set to supply 22 NH90 helicopters to the Spanish Armed Forces through 2021. The GSPA is the Spanish version and is designed to perform technical missions like troop transport, search and rescue, personnel recovery, and medical evacuation. It is equipped for both day and night operations in all environments, the company noted.

NH90 GSPA and HAD-E Tiger helicopters, the two models delivered to Spain. Photo: Airbus Helicopters.
NH90 GSPA and HAD-E Tiger helicopters, the two models delivered to Spain. Photo: Airbus Helicopters.

The NH90 was the first program to be promoted by the Spanish Secretariat of Defense, with the support of the Ministry of Industry through the Directorate-General of Armament and Equipment (DGAM). This helicopter is meant to meet the operational needs of the three branches of the Spanish Armed Forces through a common platform adapted to each mission and featuring all the latest technological developments, Airbus said.

The HAD-E helicopter, the newest version of the Tiger, is one of 24 Tigers the Spanish Army purchased. Compared to the currently in service HAP-E, The HAD-E Tigers have a new MTR-E turboshaft with 14 percent more power, an improved optronic vision system, Spike air-to-ground missiles, an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system joined with an interrogator, and a new electronic warfare (EW) and countermeasure system.

Six HAP-E Tigers have previously been delivered to the Attack Helicopter Battalion and were deployed to Afghanistan in 2013.

“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,” Francisco Vergé, CEO of Airbus Helicopters España, said in a statement.

“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”.

These programs were designed with an Industrial Participation Plan to ensure that Spanish industry is fully involved in the life cycle of the helicopters, the company said. All three helicopters were assembled in the Spanish Airbus plant in Albacete. The industrial phase, airworthiness certification, and technical acceptance were all successfully conducted there.

The Albacete plant is the only site that manufactures the rear fuselage of the Tiger and the front fuselage of the NH90.