Airbus Helicopters’ factory in Spain provided the setting early this week for the delivery of the two EC135 helicopters to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET). The aircraft were the first to be delivered as part of a contract for eight EC135s signed on December 27, 2013 by the Spanish armament procurement agency, which answers directly to the country’s Ministry of Defense, and Airbus Helicopters España.
The contract also includes a logistics package that will support fleet sustainability in the coming years. The remaining six helicopters will be delivered during the course of 2014, and will also be allocated to the CEFAMET Helicopter School Battalion, the Spanish Army Airmobile Force training center. These two new units bring the Spanish Ministry of Defense’s total fleet of EC135s to 16 helicopters, making it the world’s leading operator of the EC135 for military use, which is also operational in countries such as Germany and Japan.
“The EC135 is one of the finest systems we have ever operated in the army thanks to its excellent operability and first-class capabilities,” said FAMET’s Commander-in-Chief. For his part, Airbus Helicopters España CEO Francisco Vergé expressed his pride in the helicopter, saying: “The EC135 meets the requirements of the Spanish armed forces in full, and this contract is another show of confidence in us on the part of the Spanish Ministry of Defense.”
The new aircraft will meet the Spanish Army’s pressing need to provide its combat pilots with advanced training in tactical missions. Involving the use of night vision goggles and instrument flights, this training prepares pilots to perform maneuvers and combat missions in larger platforms such as the Cougar, Tiger and the NH90.
Spain has a fleet of more than 60 EC135s. In recent years the helicopter has taken on a key role in military training and is also widely used by the country’s security forces, forming part of the fleets operated by the Civil Guard, National Police and National Road Transport Authority. The EC135 also provides emergency medical transport in most of the autonomous regions offering this service.
The EC135 is a powerful, twin-engine lightweight helicopter combining a wide unobstructed cabin with excellent performance, range and payload capacity. The aircraft is the worldwide reference for EMS, Homeland Security and military light utility and training missions.
Ensuring the highest levels of safety on the ground and in the air, the EC135 is equipped with numerous safety features such as the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor and the full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.
Since it first took to the skies in 1996, the EC135 family has accumulated 2.9 million flight hours. Around 1,100 aircraft of the EC135 family are in service worldwide with approximately 296 customers in 58 countries.
Source: Eurocopter, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Jan 15, 2014