Eurocopter, September 17, 2012 - Madrid - 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 to the 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.
The twin-engine NH90 is the world’s most advanced multi-role helicopter, integrating fly-by-wire technology 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.
About the NH90: Produced in two basic versions – the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) and NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) – this 11-metric-ton class rotary-wing aircraft provides a common platform for army, navy and air force roles, enabling countries to rationalize their helicopter fleets while also organizing training and support on a larger scale, with flexible management of personnel and equipment. Its large cabin, rapid access (with two lateral sliding doors and optional rear ramp) and quick role-change capability ensures mission flexibility for multiple operational scenarios.
To date, a total of 529 NH90s have been ordered by 14 nations, of which 418 are for the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) version. Six NH90 final assembly lines are now operational in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Finland and Australia under the direction of the pan-European NHIndustries industrial organization – which is owned by Eurocopter (62.5%), AgustaWestland (32%) and Fokker Aerostructures (5.5%). 119 NH90s have been delivered to the armed forces of customer nations, among which 100 in the TTH version, with these aircraft logging some 20,000 flight hours.
About Eurocopter: Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter’s worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports some 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,300 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 149 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.