Successful completion of the Initial Qualification Process of the new Spanish Navy H135 helicopters (‘Nival’) in the Gulf of Cádiz

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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H135 ‘Nival’ approaching the flight deck of the ‘Meteoro’ (P-41)
H135 ‘Nival’ approaching the flight deck of the ‘Meteoro’ (P-41)
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H135 ‘Nival’ approaching the flight deck of the ‘Meteoro’ (P-41)
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OPV ‘Meteoro’ operating with a H135 ‘Nival’
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H135 ‘Nival’ on board the ‘Meteoro’ during night flights
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First flight operations of a H135 helicopter from a Spanish Navy ship

Last March 8th the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) ‘Meteoro’ sailing in the Gulf of Cádiz became the platform where the Initial Qualification Process of the new H135 (‘Nival’) helicopters was carried out.

The qualification campaign was witnessed by ‘Airbus Helicopters’ personnel, members of the Australian firm ‘PRISM’ and the Spanish Weapons and Material Directorate. Of the 25 scheduled flight hours, eight and a half were conducted at night with a total of 112 landings and take-offs on board the OPV ‘Meteoro’.

The first tests were designed to obtain and record the information of each approach, landing and take-off. All this with to the instruments and dedicated sensors that equip both the OPV and the H135 helicopter. The data obtained will serve to develop the wind charts for the OPV-H135 binomial, as well as the general features of the helicopter when used in single-spot ships (frigates, OPV), and for multi-spot ships (LHD and LPD).

In addition, this first deployment with the ‘Meteoro’ has served to validate how to lash the helicopter on the flight deck and hangar; to test the compatibility of electronic systems and fuel, as well as the folding and unfolding of the main blades; movement with pushback tractors and also compatibility with existing maintenance facilities on board the OPVs.

This helicopter continues to meet milestones in its operational evaluation process, while the 12th Aircraft Squadron maintainers and pilots continue their training. When ‘Airbus’ finally delivers the wind charts, once validated, of the OPV-H135 binomial and the general envelope of the embarked H135, the pilots will be able to begin their respective qualifications and develop the protocols for wind charts on other types of Spanish Navy ships.


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