Spanish Navy receives first Airbus H135 P3H ‘Nival’ helicopter

This aircraft is the first of seven scheduled to join the Navy’s 12th Aircraft Fleet Squadron (FLOAN) over the next two years. Spanish Navy Photo

On Oct. 26, 2023, the Spanish Navy took delivery of the first Airbus H135 P3H helicopter (dubbed ‘Nival’) of a total of seven that, over the next two years, will join the 12th Aircraft Fleet Squadron (FLOAN).

The H135 Joint Program Office, which manages the procurement process, transferred the helicopter to the Spanish Navy at Airbus Helicopters facilities in Albacete in southeast Spain.

The transfer of the second H135 is scheduled for Nov. 30, and the flight of both aircraft to Rota Naval Base on Dec. 11.

During the six weeks that the first Nival will remain in Albacete, this helicopter will perform training flights with the pilots of the 12th Squadron.

The Navy’s H135 P3Hs incorporate exclusive modifications that enable them to operate on ships, such as pressurized fuel filling, manual folding of the main rotor, reinforced anti-corrosion treatment and a floating system.

In addition, they have cabins with night vision goggle capability, all-weather and surface radar, electro-optical system (FLIR), side crane, barycentric hook, auxiliary fuel tanks, fast rope system and an air evacuation kit (medevac).

The H135 P3H is the first Airbus product to enter service in the Spanish Navy. It boasts a series of advanced avionics and easy maintenance.

Once it completes the initial qualification process aboard an offshore patrol vessel (OPV) during the first half of 2024, and achieves its IOC (initial operational capability) expected by the end of the second half of the same year, the 12th Aircraft Squadron will bring a state-of-the-art aeronautical training capability to the Cardona Naval Air Training School (EDAN).

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