Tag Archives: Spanish Air Force

New Airbus Helicopters SAR capability for Spain

In a ceremony at the Airbus Helicopters plant in Albacete, the Spanish Air Force on Monday 3 October took delivery of its first H215 helicopter with an extensive mission capability that includes Search and Rescue (SAR). The new helicopter will enter into service immediately and be used to offer a SAR capability to the Canary Island.

The aircraft carried out final test flights at the Albacete plant late September, where it was painted and fitted with specific mission systems enhancing its Search and Rescue (SAR) and Personnel Recovery/CSAR missions. The Air Force’s H215 boasts additional fuel tanks that extend its range up to 560 kilometers, an emergency buoyancy system, a high-frequency radio, a hoist, and a cockpit compatible with night vision goggles, among other equipment.

The Spanish Air Force operates several helicopters belonging to the Super Puma family, in both civil and military versions.  A member of the Super Puma family, the H215 is a twin-engine, heavy helicopter. Its cockpit is equipped with multi-function digital screens and an advanced 4-axis autopilot which provides flight envelope protection and stability, even the harshest operating conditions.


P-3 Orion set new Spanish record

A Lockheed P-3 Orion of the Spanish Air Force set a new Spanish record on 22 December 2015. Of being airborne 16 hours in a row, beating the old achievement of 1991 of 13 hours and 50 minutes non-stop in the air.

The aircraft and crew of 221 Squadron (221 Esc.) took of from Morón Airbase near Seville at 10:00 local time for its patrol duty over the Mediterranean in support of the ongoing NATO maritime operations there.

Operation Active Endeavour

Launched after the September 11, 2011, attacks in New York and Washington this Operation Active Endeavour is there to “monitor shipping to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist activity”. Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey contribute directly to the operation, while other NATO and partner nations sometimes offer support and/or vessels/aircraft.

After this operational flight during daytime the Orion continued into a night training mission while still airborne, but kept sharing gathered data to the NATO mission as well. It landed again at Morón.

Maritime patrol aircraft

Although the long lasting mission is a novelty for the Spanish Air Force, the P-3 is actually designed to stay airborne for up to 16 hours, according to data provided by manufacturer Lockheed Martin. As a maritime patrol aircraft its combat radius is normally 1,346 nautical miles (2,490 km) and it can remain on station at low-level (1,500 feet) for three hours if on a submarine hunt. A total of 757 Orions were built between 1961 and 1990, of which 107 by Kawasaki in Japan. Many still serving the world’s air arms.

Royal Norwegian Air Force Orions

Spain has two P-3A and four P-3Bs which are being upgraded to the new P-3M standard. A fifth P-3B is used for its spare parts. All P-3Bs are ex-Royal Norwegian Air Force Orions, purchased in 1989. The Norwegians have kept four P-3Cs and two P-3N on strength, all at Andøya Air Station in the north.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A Spanish Air Force Lockheed P-3 Orion (Image © Ejército del Aire)

Spanish Super Puma ditch turns into kidnap story

In a strange turn of events the ditch of a Spanish Air Force Aérospatiale (now Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Super Puma of the Moroccan coast has turned into a kidnap story, as Madrid fears the three crew members have been picked up and held hostage by pirates.

On Thursday the helicopter of 802 Squadron sent out a distress signal about 280 nautical miles south from its Gando base on the Canary Islands and 40 nautical miles southwest of Dakhla. It was on its way back from Dakar in Senegal. After making a fuel stop in Nouadhibou in Mauritania the chopper continued its flight home, when the crew apparently needed to ditch the aircraft into the sea.

A rescue helicopter spotted a perfectly okay life raft, but at that time were not able to determine if any crew members were inside. The latest theory is that a fishing boat manned by pirates have picked the Spanish military men up, while some other sources still think it is very much possible that the crew members did die inside their chopper when it hit the water.

Meanwhile Spanish and Moroccan forces keep on searching for the helicopter’s wreckage and crew’s whereabouts. Pirates are known to operate off the West African coast. The Spanish Air Force keeps at least one EF-18 fighter jet on stand-by.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Spanish Super Puma on board a Spanish navy ship during exercises in July, 2013 (Image © Ejército del Aire)

Airbus: progress on first A400M for Spain

The wings for the first Airbus A400M airlifter for the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) arrived at the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in San Pablo, Seville (Spain), Airbus Defence & Space reported on on Wednesday 14 October.

These first large elements of the aircraft, known as MSN44, were transported by ship from the UK where they were made, to St Nazaire, France and then flown to Seville inside one of Airbus’ Beluga aircraft.

MSN44 will shortly enter into the final assembly process in preparation for its delivery to the Spanish Air Force in the second quarter of 2016. Spain will be the sixth user of the A400M, following France, the UK, Malaysia, Turkey and Germany.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image: The wings are off loaded in Seville. (Image © Airbus)

First Eurofighter air-to-air refueling with KC-130J Hercules

In August, the first air-to-air refueling fights between Spanish Air Force Eurofighters and United States Marine Corps (USMC) KC-130J Hercules aircraft took place in Spain.

The Eurofighters were from Esc 111 (squadron), part of Ala 11 (11th Wing) based at Morón Air Base in Southern Spain. The ops with the tanker were part getting to the squadron’s evaluation of the operational capabilities in October. The USMC Hercules tankers are already at Morón as part of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa.

The Spanish Air Force is planning more tanker meetings with other units and aircraft, to increase the interoperability of its and allied armies.

Source: Ejército del Aire
Featured image: A Spanish Eurofighter C.16 in its usual habitat (Image © Ejército del Aire)

3-ship formation of Spanish air force Eurofighters behind a USMC KC-130J (Image © Ejército del Aire)
3-ship formation of Spanish air force Eurofighters behind a USMC KC-130J (Image © Ejército del Aire)
A single seat Spanish air force Eurofighter gets ready for the next contact (Image © Ejército del Aire)
A single seat Spanish air force Eurofighter gets ready for the next contact (Image © Ejército del Aire)
Air-to-air refueling above typical Spanish landscape (Image © Ejército del Aire)
Air-to-air refueling above typical Spanish landscape (Image © Ejército del Aire)