His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, took off this morning from the Cuatro Vientos Air Base in Madrid for a flight in the Spanish variant of the cutting-edge NH90 helicopter, which is being fitted out and tested at the company’s facility in Albacete. The first deliveries of this aircraft to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) are scheduled for next year.
His Majesty King Juan Carlos I is an experienced pilot with 3,740 helicopter flight hours. Most of these flights have been in aircraft built by Eurocopter, particularly the Super Puma but also the EC135, EC145, EC225 and even the Tiger attack helicopter. In December 2006 the Spanish Ministry of Defence and Eurocopter España signed a contract for the purchase of 45 NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopters for the Spanish Armed Forces. This marked the outset of the program to revamp the Ministry of Defence’s medium-class helicopter fleet and consolidated Eurocopter’s role in this process.
While the first two Spanish NH90s were manufactured at Eurocopter’s facilities in France, Eurocopter España is responsible for the assembly of the other 43 NH90s and their delivery tothe Spanish Armed Forces. Eurocopter’s Spanish site, located in Albacete and inaugurated in 2007, is one of only two plants producing the front fuselage for the NH90, the most advanced helicopter in its category with over 500 orders worldwide. The Spanish variant of the NH90 has next-generation General Electric CT7 8F5 engines assembled at the Albacete plant of ITP, a personalized communications system and a sophisticated electronic warfare system developed by Indra. The Spanish NH90 also incorporates avionics software developed by Eurocopter España’s Design Office. most advanced multi-role helicopter, integrating fly-by-wiretechnology and the latest composite materials to minimize corrosion and maximize survivability and life cycle. Capable of carrying from 16 to 20 equipped troops, the NH90’s versatility makes it suitable for all types of land and naval missions, such as troop transport, amphibious operations, search and rescue, personnel recovery, casualty evacuation and counter-terrorism.