Maritime Surveillance

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) awarded a contract to Airbus Defence and Space Airborne Solutions (ADAS), a 100% subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space and the global market leader in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) services, and its long-term partner Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to operate a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) RPAS for Maritime Aerial Surveillance services.

MALE RPAS
European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) selects Airbus and its partner IAI for Maritime Aerial Surveillance with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)

The service will be delivered in Greece, and/or Italy and/or Malta within a Framework Contract. The service include the provision of a RPAS platform, payload, communication equipment and capacity, mission storage and all necessary experts managing the system and providing operational support. Under the contract, Airbus and IAI will provide the service for pre-planned assignments as well as for ad-hoc calls.

The maritime Heron RPAS from IAI serves a range of customers worldwide and is a part of the well-known «Heron family» which accumulates over 450,000 flight hours, day and night missions under all weather conditions. The system is capable of flying more than 24 hours in full operational configuration and creates a comprehensive, real time, naval picture in geographical areas for potential surveillance interests, e.g. in the context of coordinated European monitoring activities.

The RPAS will be fitted with versatile dedicated payloads (e.g. electro-optical for day and infrared for night purposes, maritime patrol radar made by IAI and automatic identification system), relevant communication equipment, and corresponding ground mission control and support. The surveillance platform Heron uses a direct link when flying within Line of Sight (LOS), changing seamlessly to a satellite link when flying Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) to transmit real time information or when needed to fly in low altitude over sea. This information is being transmitted to Frontex command and control centre as well as to centres of the respective Coast Guards.

Numerous trials were successfully held over the past years to confirm and highlight the benefits of unmanned aerial systems in terms of precise and long endurance surveillance. The maritime Heron is being used amongst others by the Israeli navy as its key patrolling tool, successfully performing reconnaissance and security assignments since many years.

Mike Hoofdmann, CEO of ADAS underlined that this contract for long endurance maritime surveillance for Frontex marks a new milestone for the company to extend its successful unmanned operational services for military customers also to civil stakeholders such as Frontex and eventually other agencies. «This contract gives us the opportunity to prove our performance on a European level. We as Airbus together with our partner IAI make an essential commitment to the monitoring and security of European external border and thus contribute to the stability in Europe», adds Hoofdmann.

«IAI welcomes the signing of the contract with Frontex and achieving this landmark with the maritime Heron. The Heron has successfully fulfilled all missions, exceeding the expectations of its operators. Flying in Europe’s civilian airspace is an important progress for IAI and a solid proof for the RPAS’s ability to fly in civilian routes. I believe this contract will open the door to more civilian markets», said IAI Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group, Moshe Levy.

Prototype Reactor

Another achievement for Brazil’s national sovereignty and for the technological advancement: The start of the assembly of the Nuclear Propulsion Prototype Reactor of the Submarine Development Program (PROSUB), was celebrated this Wednesday (October 21) at the Aramar Experimental Center, in Iperó, São Paulo.

PROSUB
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (center) was the guest of honor for the ceremony marking the complete assembly of the nuclear reactor which will eventually power the country’s first nuclear-powered attack submarine (Brazilian Navy photo)

The Minister of Defense, Fernando Azevedo, accompanied the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, during the ceremony, which also counted on the presence of the Navy Commander, Admiral Ilques Barbosa.

The ceremony, held at the Nucleo-electric Generation Laboratory (LABGENE) complex, marks the beginning of an important stage of PROSUB, which is part of the Navy Nuclear Program (PNM). This is because the assembly of the reactor will, in the future, be replicated in the construction of the first Brazilian submarine with nuclear propulsion, the «Álvaro Alberto».

In the next phases of the program, the reactor, as well as the turbine generators, the electric motor and other systems similar to those of a nuclear-powered submarine, will be tested in a controlled manner at LABGENE. The purpose is to validate the operation of the reactor and the various electromechanical systems integrated with it, prior to installation on the submarine.

After the tests are finished, a similar reactor will be installed in the submarine Álvaro Alberto, projected in the Naval Complex of Itaguaí, in Rio de Janeiro. It is in Itaguaí that the four submarines with diesel-electric propulsion are being developed, also included in the PROSUB program: the Riachuelo (S-40), already launched, the Humaitá (S-41), the Tonelero (S-42) and Angostura (S-43).

PNM and PROSUB are part of Brazilian Defense Programs and foster the country’s capacity to design, build, operate and maintain nuclear powered submarines. With this, Brazil will join the list of five countries with these competencies. They are: United States, United Kingdom, France and China.

Submarines are essential, not only for defense policy, but also to stimulate national development and guarantee naval sovereignty.

The Minister of Defense pointed out that «PROSUB is extremely important for Brazil, as it adds operational capacity to the Navy and adds very large deterrent power to our Armed Forces and to the defense of our country».

First Launch of MdCN

On October 20, 2020, the Suffren, the first of the six nuclear attack submarines (ANS) of the Barracuda program, successfully completed a Naval Cruise Missile (MdCN) test firing off the DGA Essais de Missiles site at Biscarrosse (Landes).

MdCN
The submerged firing of the Naval Cruise Missile by Suffren, the lead boat of France’s new class of nuclear attack submarines, follows that of SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missiles and completes the qualification of the boat’s weapon system (French Navy file photo)

Florence Parly salutes this success: «For the first time, a French submarine has fired a cruise missile. This success gives our Navy a new strategic capability and places it among the best in the world. This new weapon is a real breakthrough, the fruit of years of effort and investment, notably permitted by the 2019-2025 military programming law. I congratulate all those – French Navy, DGA, industry – who made this firing possible. French submarine forces could hitherto strike submarines and surface ships. They can now destroy heavy land infrastructure at long ranges».

This firing enabled the qualification of the integration of all the armaments of the Suffren, carried out as part of the ship’s sea trials conducted by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) since last April.

This success marks an important stage in the tests of the Suffren with a view to its overall qualification by the DGA. Her delivery to the French Navy will take place by the end of 2020, before her admission to active service in 2021.

Prepared by teams from the DGA, the French Navy and the manufacturers MBDA and Naval Group, this test firing of the MdCN naval cruise missile is the latest milestone in a series of tests which has made it possible to verify the correct operation of the weapons and, more generally, of the combat system of the Suffren.

With a range of several hundred kilometers, the MdCN can attack and destroy infrastructure targets having a high strategic value. After the Multi-Mission Frigates (FREMM), the Suffren nuclear attack submarines are the first French submarines equipped with this conventional deep strike capability.

The ability to fire the MoNC from a submarine poses a constant and undetected threat of a strike from the sea against inland targets. It very significantly increases the penetration capability of French weapons in theaters of operations.

During her trials in the Mediterranean, Suffren also successfully carried out, off the DGA Missile Tests site based on the Île du Levant (Var), a test firing of an Exocet SM39-type anti-ship missile. She also carried out several test firings of the F21 heavy torpedo. This new-generation weapon is ultimately intended for all French Navy submarines.

The qualification of the entire Suffren weapons system paves the way for the end of sea trials and its overall qualification. This will allow her delivery to the French Navy for the verification of her military characteristics and then her admission to active service.

First Missile Shot

The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) successfully executed the first live fire test of the MK-57 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with a Standard Missile (SM-2) on the Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division Sea Test Range, Point Mugu, October 13.

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)
The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) successfully executed the first live fire test of the MK-57 Vertical Launching System with a Standard Missile (SM-2) on the Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division Sea Test Range, Point Mugu, October 13

As the first-in-class ship, USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) successfully demonstrated its capability to detect, track and engage an Anti-Ship Cruise Missile threat with a SM-2. The structural test fire assessed the material readiness of the ship against shock and vibration of the weapon firing, as well as measure any hazards or degradations as a result of firing live ordnance.

«Today’s successful test not only demonstrates the ship’s capability to fire missiles and conduct self-defense, it is also a significant step toward more advanced combat system testing and operations for our Navy’s most technically innovative warship», said Captain Matt Schroeder, DDG-1000 program manager. «The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) crew and Surface Development Squadron One are working hand-in-hand with the acquisition community to advance this ship’s operational capability».

The ships’ stealth and ability to operate in both the open-ocean and near-shore environments creates a new level of battlespace complexity for potential adversaries. The Zumwalt class will also operate as a key enabler in the acceleration of new warfighting capabilities and rapid development and validation of operational tactics, techniques, and procedures.

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) achieved sufficient combat system installation and activation earlier this year for the Navy to take final delivery and transition to the next phase of developmental and integrated at-sea testing.

At 610 feet/186 m long and 80.7 feet/24.6 m wide, USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is 100 feet/30.48 m longer and 13 feet/3.96 m wider than the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, providing the space required to execute a wide array of surface, undersea, and aviation missions.

«Today’s successful firing event is a critical milestone in the maturation of this incredible ship class and represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and partnership of Zumwalt’s talented crew and the engineers, designers, and programmers helping us to bring her capabilities to the Fleet», said Captain Gary Cave, Zumwalt’s commanding officer. «It is a day we’ve been looking forward to and demonstrates the strides we are taking to add combat capability to our surface force».

The ship, homeported in San Diego, will continue tactical training and operational scenario engagement in support of attaining Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2021.

 

Ship Characteristics

Length 610 feet/186 m
Beam 80.7 feet/24.6 m
Draft 27.6 feet/8.4 m
Displacement 15,761 long tonnes/16,014 metric tonnes
Speed 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Installed Power 104,600 hp/78 MW
Crew Size 158 – Includes Aviation Detachment

 

Ships

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) 11-17-2011 10-28-2013 10-15-2016 San Diego, California
USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) 05-23-2013 06-21-2016 01-26-19 San Diego, California
USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002) 01-30-2017 12-09-18

 

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) first missile launch

Naval Strike Missile

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Romania of Naval Strike Missile (NSM) Coastal Defense Systems (CDS) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $300 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

Naval Strike Missile (NSM)
The Naval Strike Missile was developed by Norway’s Kongsberg, and is now being marketed internationally by Raytheon. Romania has been cleared to buy two coastal defense versions with four mobile launchers (Kongsberg photo)

The Government of Romania has requested to buy two (2) Coastal Defense Systems (CDS) consisting of up to ten (10) Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System – Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS).

Also included are two Coastal Defense System Fire Distribution Centers; four Mobile Launch Vehicles; Transport Loading Vehicles; Naval Strike Missiles; non-operational Inert Handling/Loading Missile (IHM) to support missile handling and loading/unloading; training missile and equipment spares; associated containers; training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; spares parts; loading and mobile maintenance support; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The estimated total cost is $300 million.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO Ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale will enhance U.S. national security objectives in the region.

The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by improving Romania’s maritime defense capabilities in the Black Sea and increasing interoperability with the United States. Romania will use this long-range, precision strike weapon to enhance mission effectiveness, survivability, and NATO interoperability in current and future missions and operations. Romania will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal U.S. contractor will be Raytheon Missile and Defense, Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of the proposed sale will require U.S. Government and contractor personnel to visit Romania on a temporary basis in conjunction with program technical oversight and support requirements, including program and technical reviews, as well as to provide training and maintenance support in country.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law. The description and dollar value is for the highest estimated quantity and dollar value based on initial requirements. Actual dollar value will be lower depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.

Ultra-Compact Radar

The AirMaster C is the latest airborne surveillance radar from Thales and has a 30% lower SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) than the other radars in its class.

AirMaster C
Thales Launches AirMaster C Ultra-Compact Airborne Surveillance Radar

The AirMaster C covers the full spectrum of land, air and maritime surveillance missions and offers state-of-the-art target detection capabilities; it is the subject of preliminary integration studies on joint light helicopter (Guépard) which are in progress.

Users benefit from innovative technologies, with a unique 2D AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) antenna based on SiGe (Silicon-Germanium) technology, and cognitive and predictive maintenance capabilities drawing on Thales’s and the French Armament General Directorate’s investments in artificial intelligence.

Threat detection, identification and surveillance missions depend on a force’s ability to operate in any type of environment and all weather conditions. Drawing on its experience with the successful Master series of radars, Thales has developed a new, ultra-compact surveillance radar with enhanced target detection capabilities for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). With its low integration and operating costs and high availability and performance, the AirMaster C sets a new standard for airborne radars.

The nature of armed confrontation is constantly evolving. From the intrastate conflicts of the post-Cold War period to the asymmetric threats of the early 21st century and, more recently, the resurgence of rivalries between major powers, armed forces around the world must constantly adapt as they face different types of adversaries in a diverse array of environments: open ocean, coastal areas, remote deserts and urban spaces.

Responding to these rapid changes, Thales has developed the AirMaster C, a new surveillance radar with an ultra-compact, programmable 2D active antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology. SiGe is much more energy efficient than other technologies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to self-cool. Weighing less than 20 kilograms/44 lbs. and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class.

In addition to this breakthrough SiGe technology, other innovations are deployed. Multi-polarisation (a capability displayed by many cameras) will allow the radar to automatically select the optimal settings to maximise detection performance on each mission. The radar also offers a simultaneous short-range and long-range detection capability, similar to the human eye, for instantaneous surveillance. With its 2D navigation and weather modes, the AirMaster C will also provide valuable navigation support in all types of environments and weather conditions.

The AirMaster C is a smart software-defined radar designed to reduce aircrew workload. With its autonomous sensors, self-learning functionality and the ability to analyse and classify huge volumes of data, the radar can automatically adapt to different uses, terrains and environments. The AirMaster C builds on the innovative design and proven success of the Master series.

Notified by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), preparatory studies are being carried out by Thales in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters for the integration of the AirMaster C on board the Guépard helicopter. This is the future light joint army helicopter, which will have to carry out a wide variety of missions for the three French armies.

AirMaster C, the lastest Airborne Surveillance Radar – Thales

Air Defence System

On the occasion of the Euronaval-Online exhibition, MBDA announces the commercial launch of its new Vertical Launch (VL) Missile D’interception, de Combat et D’autodéfense (MICA – interception, combat and self-defence missile) New Generation (NG) air defence system.

VL MICA NG
MBDA launches the new VL MICA NG air defence system

The VL MICA NG system is based on the integration into the existing VL MICA system of the MICA NG anti-air missile, which began development in 2018 primarily to equip France’s Rafale combat aircraft. The VL MICA system family – now adopted, in its naval or land-based versions, by 15 armed forces around the world – will consequently benefit from enhanced potential to counter future threats.

About the VL MICA NG system, MBDA CEO Eric Béranger declared: «After two years of development on the New Generation MICA missile, we have acquired a deep understanding of the performance of this brand new air-to-air missile which allows us, in full confidence, to market its integration into VL MICA ground-to-air or surface-to-air defence systems. The total compatibility between the two generations of missile will allow armed forces to combine them with their existing systems, thus maximizing their return on investments».

Thanks to the technological innovations it incorporates, the new VL MICA NG system offers improved capabilities to handle atypical targets (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs], small aircraft) as well as future threats, characterised by increasingly low observable infrared and radio frequency signatures. Additionally, it will be able to intercept at longer distances the ‘conventional’ targets (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles) already addressed by the current VL MICA system.

The dimensions of the MICA NG munition remain unchanged, allowing it to be integrated into existing VL MICA launchers. The existing missile data link mechanisms are compatible with the increased kinematic performance of the missiles, enabling current VL MICA systems to be upgraded to VL MICA NG standard by simple software updates.

 

About the MICA NG missile

Based on an entirely new design, the MICA NG missile inherits the external dimensions and unique concept that has made the MICA anti-air missile such a success for a quarter of a century. This concept means MICA features either an infrared or a radio frequency seeker on the same common missile body, allowing the operator, at the moment of firing, to select the best option to respond to the tactics adopted by the adversary.

On the MICA NG, a new infrared seeker based on a matrix sensor will provide increased sensitivity, while a new radio frequency seeker with an Active Electronically Scanned Antenna (AESA) will allow for smart detection strategies. The lower volume of electronic components will enable the MICA NG to carry a larger load of propellant, significantly extending its range, and the new dual-pulse rocket motor will provide additional energy to the missile at the end of its flight, improving its manoeuvrability and its ability to intercept targets at long range. In surface-to-air mode, the MICA NG will be able to intercept targets over 40 km/25 miles away. Finally, maintenance and ownership costs will be significantly reduced thanks to internal sensors that will monitor the status of the munition throughout its life cycle.

The MICA NG missile will be available in series production from 2026.

Operational Fires

As Lockheed Martin continues the work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance the unique hypersonic technologies of its Operational Fires (OpFires) program, the company today announced its initial round of key subcontractors on the program. OpFires seeks to develop and demonstrate an innovative ground-launched system to enable a hypersonic boost glide missile system to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly engage time-sensitive targets.

OpFires program
Lockheed Martin’s OpFires team is developing a missile with a unique throttleable booster that can defeat targets across the medium-range spectrum

Joining prime contractor Lockheed Martin on the OpFires Phase Three Weapon System Integration program are Northrop Grumman, Dynetics, and Electronic Concepts & Engineering, Inc (ECE).

«The engineering innovation required to deliver this maneuverable and rapid-response solution demands a best-of-industry team», said Steven Botwinik, director of Tactical and Strike Missiles Advanced Programs. «OpFires and its unique throttleable booster make it a versatile platform to launch a variety of payloads over varied ranges and for this reason, OpFires is well-suited to address the Army’s Medium Range Strategic Fires needs».

Specifically, the new subcontractors on the program will support the technology development in the following ways:

  • Northrop Grumman in Elkton, Md., will develop the stage one solid rocket motor;
  • Dynetics in Huntsville, Ala., will deliver the cannister, all up round and fins, and support integration and test; and
  • ECE, a small business based in Holland, Ohio, will provide the booster power pyro module.

Lockheed Martin has played a significant role in the research, development and demonstration of hypersonic technologies for more than 30 years. The corporation has made significant investments in key technology and capability development – including hypersonic strike capabilities and defense systems against emerging hypersonic threats and is supporting all branches of the U.S. military on these hypersonic programs.

The company expects to complete its first live fire in 2021.

Logistic Lander

Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as one of the two primes for the definition phase of the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3). In this study (phase A/B1), Airbus will develop the concept of a large multi-role logistic lander able to transport up to 1.7 tons of cargo to any location on the lunar surface. EL3 flights are set to begin in the late 2020s, with a cadence of missions over the following decade and more.

Artemis Basecamp Cargo
Artemis Basecamp Cargo

Europe is already contributing to the Global Exploration Roadmap agreed by 14 space agencies around the world, in which Airbus is also playing its part. European participation includes international missions to Mars, substantial elements for crewed space stations – the International Space Station and the Lunar Gateway – and the Orion European Service Module (ESM) which will power Artemis, the next human mission to the lunar surface.

With EL3, ESA and its member states will make a further substantial European contribution to the international effort to establish sustainable exploration of the Moon. EL3 will be designed as a fully independent European lunar surface logistics mission capability, including European launch capability with Ariane 6. ESA anticipates flying three to five EL3 missions over a 10 year time frame.

Surface Science Package with Rover
Surface Science Package with Rover

Andreas Hammer, Head of Space Exploration at Airbus, said: «We are extremely thrilled to be starting the definition phase of EL3, Europe’s large Moon lander. Last year in Seville, Europe’s space ministers agreed that the European Space Agency should start preparing a vehicle to fly scientific and logistics cargo to the Moon. Airbus is 100% behind this ambition, as it will enable Europe to play a critical role in the next phase of human exploration of the Moon, and will further strengthen ESA’s status as an invaluable partner in the international space community».

Based on a generic plug-and-play landing element, the EL3 could support a range of lunar activities including: logistics support for crewed missions on the Moon (Artemis base camp), scientific missions with rovers and static payloads, or a sample return mission.

To achieve sustained human presence on the Moon, considerable logistical infrastructure will be needed – whether testing critical technologies or prospecting for lunar resources, starting in-situ production and storage of products like propellant, drinking water or oxygen, or even creating a long term settlement.

Sample Return LAE & Rover
Sample Return LAE & Rover

 

EL3’s journey: an independent, all-European solution

EL3, launched on an Ariane 64 from Kourou as a single payload of up to 8.5 tons, can be put on a direct trajectory to the Moon, similar to the trajectory flown by Apollo 50 years ago.

After roughly four days of barbecue-like travel (i.e. slow and constant rotation to optimise the thermal control of the spacecraft), insertion into a Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) will be achieved by EL3’s own propulsion system. Depending on the launch window and the landing site on the Moon, EL3 might remain for up to 14 days in LLO, waiting for the right point in time and space to initiate landing.

European Large Logistic Lander (EL3)
European Large Logistic Lander (EL3)

EL3 Airbus concept will use vision based navigation techniques, first developed by Airbus for the ATV ISS resupply vehicle during the elliptical descent orbit and powered descent to achieve unprecedented landing precision. What’s more, EL3 will be equipped with an autonomous hazard detection and avoidance system. This system will scan the landing site for potential hazards (small rocks, craters, or local slopes) which are too small for identification by remote sensing satellites. Based on this autonomous hazard assessment, the safest landing spot in reach will be identified and the lander will be guided to this location.

The study will be led by the lunar exploration team in Bremen, Airbus’ hub for space exploration activities and will involve more than 20 engineers from five Airbus sites in Germany, France, and the UK. Airbus will be working with six companies and one research institute from seven different countries across Europe.

EL3 European Large Logistic Lander

Spanish Air Force

NHIndustries and its Partner Companies (Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker) have delivered the first NH90 to the Spanish Air Force that will boost their Search and Rescue (SAR) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) mission capabilities.

NH90
First NH90 delivered to the Spanish Air Force for search and rescue missions

The Spanish Air Force will receive 12 NH90s intended to replace its aging fleet of AS332 Super Pumas and will be based in Cuatro Vientos, near Madrid. Spain has ordered a total of 45 NH90s in the tactical transport version, to be operated by the three Armed Forces. 13 helicopters have already been delivered to the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET) for the Maneuver III Battalion in Agoncillo.

Javier Salto, General of the Air Force highlighted that: «For the Spanish Air Force, the NH90 provides an essential asset capable of performing a wide range of missions, including tactical transport of troops and logistics support in peacekeeping or reconstruction missions and, of course, the main search and rescue missions in hostile conditions which is one of the most demanding and complex missions for helicopter units».

«The NH90 is particularly suited to operating in hot and high conditions and will prove to be a real asset to the critical missions performed by the Spanish Air Force», said Nathalie Tarnaud-Laude, Head of NH90 programme at Airbus Helicopters and President of NHIndustries.

The NH90 will provide all three of the Spanish armed forces with a versatile and modern transport system helicopter that offers unrivalled military capabilities.  The Spanish variant of the NH90 features next-generation General Electric CT7 8F5 engines, a personalized communications system and a sophisticated electronic warfare system developed by Indra and will be supported by training devices (including full flight simulators), automatic maintenance equipment (SAMe), and Automatic Mission Planning System (AMPS) developed as well by Indra. Airbus Helicopters in Spain is involved in the manufacturing of the fuselage and the avionics software development and integration.