Spain to acquire 16 Airbus C295s for maritime duties

On December 20, 2023, Airbus announced that the Spanish Ministry of Defence had agreed with the manufacturer for the acquisition of 16 C295 aircraft. The contract, valued at 1.695 billion euros, includes configurations for Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA).

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Spain to acquire 16 C295s in deal concluded with Airbus 925 001   Airbus announced that the Spanish Ministry of Defence had agreed to the acquisition of 16 C295 aircraft (Picture source: Airbus)

This acquisition will significantly enhance the operational capabilities of the Spanish Air and Space Force and the Spanish Navy. These advanced aircraft are intended to play a key role in improving Spain's anti-submarine warfare skills and strengthening its surveillance, reconnaissance, and search & rescue operations.

Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, underscored the national significance of this agreement, highlighting that the aircraft will be entirely designed and manufactured in Spain. Schoellhorn also noted the technological sophistication of the Maritime Patrol version, describing it as the most complex configuration of the C295 to date, incorporating cutting-edge technologies for a tactical advantage.

The contract also includes comprehensive training systems, such as a full flight simulator and a mission system simulator, as well as an initial logistics support package, ensuring seamless integration into Spanish defense operations.

The C295 MPA is intended to replace the recently retired P-3 Orion fleet. Equipped for anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare, and surveillance and reconnaissance missions, this version will also be capable of carrying a range of armaments, including torpedoes. Its high connectivity and collaborative operational capabilities enable it to serve as a flying command and control center, offering versatility in mission execution.

Meanwhile, the C295 MSA will succeed the CN-235 VIGMA aircraft, operational since 2008. Primarily focused on maritime and overland tasks, this variant is geared toward combating smuggling, illegal immigration, and drug trafficking. It will also play a crucial role in national and international search-and-rescue missions.

The Airbus C295 is a versatile tactical transport aircraft, designed to perform a variety of military and civilian missions. This model stands out for its ability to operate in challenging conditions, including on unprepared runways, making it particularly suitable for humanitarian, peacekeeping, and disaster relief missions in difficult environments. Equipped with advanced avionics and a reliable propulsion system, the C295 can transport up to 71 soldiers, 50 parachutists, or five standard NATO pallets, making it an optimal solution for tactical air transport. Its modular cabin allows for easy adaptation to various configurations, from troop transport and medical evacuation to maritime surveillance and electronic warfare.

In terms of performance, the C295 is characterized by excellent endurance and transport capacity, capable of flying at a maximum speed of about 480 kilometers per hour, with a maximum range of over 5,000 kilometers without refueling. This performance is supported by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G turboprop engines, which provide an ideal balance between fuel efficiency and power. In addition to its operational flexibility, the C295 incorporates advanced mission technologies such as surveillance radar, secure communication systems, and electronic warfare equipment, making it adaptable to a wide range of specialized missions.

The assembly of these aircraft will be carried out at Airbus’ military facilities in Seville, marking a significant boost for the local aerospace industry and strengthening Spain's defense capabilities on the international stage.