The Spanish Army Airmobile Force’s (FAMET) first Eurocopter NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) has performed its maiden flight at the company’s España facility in Albacete, south-east Spain.

The helicopter is one of two NH90 GSPA prototypes manufactured in Marignane, France, under a contract signed by the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) in December 2006 for a total of 45 NH90 TTHs.

Currently, the Spanish version prototypes are undergoing testing and certification.

Sponsored by the Spanish Secretariat of Defence through the Directorate-General of Armament and Equipment (DGAM), the programme has been set out to deliver the NH90 helicopter to all three branches of the Spanish armed forces.

Eurocopter España’s site in Albacete will provide complete support from the design stage through to flight testing and certification, component manufacture, the final assembly line and integration for the helicopters.

The NH90 programme will also promote Spanish participation in areas such as installation of electronic warfare systems, simulation equipment, automated test benches and engine assembly.

"The programme has been set out to deliver the NH90 helicopter to all three branches of the Spanish armed forces."

NH Industries, a joint venture between AgustaWestland, Eurocopter and Stork Fokker, is the prime contractor for the twin-engine multi-role helicopter programme.

The company is also manufacturing a second variant, the NATO frigate helicopter (NFH) for naval forces.

Powered by two Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM322 engines, the NH90 TTH is an advanced helicopter designed primarily to perform logistics and utility transport, combat search-and-rescue (RESCO), as well as heliborne operations.

The next-generation helicopter can be used to perform casualty and medical evacuation, electronic warfare, special operations and counter-terrorism missions, airborne command post and VIP transportation.

In addition, the helicopters have been ordered by NH90 members, including France, Australia, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Oman, Sweden, Finland and Italy.

Image: The first Spanish version NH90 GSPA03 helicopter during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Eurocopter/Pablo Rada.