Euro­copter Es­paña’s first as­sem­bled NH90 heli­copter takes flight


Re­cently a cer­e­mony was held for the maiden flight of the first NH90 to be as­sem­bled by Euro­copter Es­paña at its fa­cil­ity in Al­bacete. The event was at­tended by María Dolores de Cospedal, Pres­i­dent of the Re­gional Government of Castile-La Man­cha, Span­ish De­fense Min­is­ter Pe­dro Morenés, Euro­copter CEO Lutz Bertling and the CEO of Euro­copter Es­paña, Fran­cisco Vergé, among other po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials.

Fol­low­ing the two NH90 GSPA pro­to­types man­u­fac­tured in Marig­nane (France), which are cur­rently in Spain for the test­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cam­paign of the Span­ish ver­sion, the NH90 GSPA03 will be the first heli­copter to be de­liv­ered to the Span­ish Army Air­mo­bile Force (FAMET) in 2013 un­der the con­tract signed in 2006.

This rep­re­sents a ma­jor mile­stone for Spain, which now as­sumes a role as a heli­copter man­u­fac­turer to­gether with its part­ners, France and Ger­many. Euro­copter will be fully in­volved in the en­tire life cy­cle for th­ese he­li­copters, from the de­sign stage through to flight test­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, com­po­nent man­u­fac­ture, the fi­nal as­sem­bly line and in­te­grated sup­port.

The NH90 pro­gramme, pro­moted by the Span­ish Sec­re­tariat of De­fense through the Di­rec­torate-Gen­eral of Ar­ma­ment and Equip­ment (DGAM), is the first to sup­ply all three branches of the Span­ish armed forces. It will pro­vide Spain’s mil­i­tary with an ad­vanced heli­copter trans­port sys­tem and as­so­ci­ated tech­nol- ogy, with Span­ish par­tic­i­pa­tion not only in the man­u­fac­ture of the heli­copter it­self but also in other ar­eas such as in­stal­la­tion of the elec­tronic war­fare sys­tems, sim­u­la­tion equip­ment, au­to­mated test benches and en­gine as­sem­bly.

Pro­duced in two ba­sic ver­sions—the Tac­ti­cal Trans­port Heli­copter ( TTH) and NATO Fri­gate Heli­copter (NFH)—this 11-tonne class ro­tary-wing air­craft pro­vides a com­mon plat­form for army, navy and air force roles, en­abling coun­tries to ra­tio­nalise their heli­copter fleets. while also or­ga­niz­ing train­ing and sup­port on a larger scale, with flex­i­ble man­age­ment of per­son­nel and equip­ment.

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