The Spanish ministries of defense and interior have ordered 36 Airbus H135 helicopters, 18 of which will be going to the country’s armed forces.
As the Spanish Army already operates a fleet of 16 H135 helicopters, the additional 18 airframes will be divided between the air force and navy.
Deliveries of the first H135s to the services will start next year, according to Airbus.
As was the case for the H135s acquired some time ago by the army, the new aircraft for the air force and navy will replace older helicopter models currently used for advanced pilot training. The navy currently uses the decades-old Hughes 500s while the air force operates S-76 for pilot training. The standardization of training fleets across the three armed forces will create synergies and lead to the implementation of new and more efficient training and support activities.
“Together with the NH90, the H135 will be present in all branches of the Spanish armed forces, as an example of harmonization and the search for synergies in training and maintenance,” said Admiral Santiago González at DGAM. “This collaboration between the ministries of the interior and defense is an important milestone in the rationalization of programs by the Spanish government.”
The ministry of interior currently has a fleet of 31 helicopters from the H135 family in operation with the National Police, the Guardia Civil, and Tráfico. The new helicopters will enable the Policía and Guardia Civil to replace the BO105 helicopters in a wide range of missions including law enforcement, surveillance, and rescue activities.
“We are pleased to sign the largest H135 contract in the history of this program in Spain, a key partner and one of the largest H135 operators worldwide. I take this opportunity to welcome the Spanish Navy and the Spanish Air Force as new users of this model,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.
The light, twin-engine H135 is equipped with the Helionix avionics suite, a high-set main rotor and Fenestron shrouded tail rotor for enhanced operational safety. There are about 1,350 H135 helicopters operated by 300 operators in 64 countries, according to Airbus.