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    Spain orders Airbus maritime patrol, surveillance aircraft for $2B

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    PARIS — Spain has ordered 16 Airbus C295 aircraft in maritime patrol and surveillance configurations for €1.7 billion (U.S. $1.9 billion), Airbus announced Wednesday.

    Six maritime patrol variants will come equipped for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions, replacing the Spanish P-3 Orion fleet that retired at the end of 2022, Airbus said. Equipment for each of these aircraft includes a magnetic anomaly detector and sonobuoys for submarine detection; a multimode radar for long-range target detection; and satellite communications technology.

    These aircraft will also carry weapons, including torpedoes, and will be “highly connected” so they can operate as flying command-and-control centers, according to the French company.

    The remaining 10 C295 aircraft in the maritime surveillance configuration are to replace Spain’s aging CN-235 fleet, which entered operations in 1988, according to the Air Force.

    Airbus will equip the new planes for anti-smuggling, anti-illegal migration and anti-drug trafficking operations, as well as search and rescue missions, the firm said.

    Spain already operates a fleet of 13 C295 aircraft in a transport configuration, and the two maritime versions will have a high degree of synergy, the manufacturer said.

    Assembly will take place at the Airbus military facilities in Seville, Spain. The country expects to receive the first C295 in the maritime patrol configuration in 2027; the first surveillance configuration the year after; and delivery of the final aircraft in 2031. CASA, a predecessor company of Airbus, designed and first manufactured the C295.

    The contract includes training systems, such as a full flight simulator, as well an initial logistics support package, Airbus said. The government approved the budget to buy the C295 aircraft in June and signed off on the contract in September.

    The C295 has been an export success for Airbus in Spain, with total orders for 283 planes at the end of November, of which 216 were delivered so far. The company in September handed over the first of 56 C295 aircraft ordered by the Indian Air Force.

    The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney turboprops and has a maximum takeoff weight of 23 metric tons. The armed maritime patrol version can operate for two and a half hours at a distance of 800 nautical miles from takeoff, and six and a half hours at a distance of 400 nautical miles, according to Airbus.

    Rudy Ruitenberg is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. He started his career at Bloomberg News and has experience reporting on technology, commodity markets and politics.



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