The Spanish Council of Ministers has authorized the conclusion of the contract for the procurement of a multi-sensor surveillance aerial system to replace maritime patrol (MPA) and maritime surveillance aircraft (VIGMA). With the processing of this file, which involves the acquisition of 16 aircraft, we will proceed to recover the military capabilities necessary to meet NATO’s objectives for Spain, and to continue guaranteeing the national commitments acquired within the Alliance. The estimated value of the contract is €2,034,000,000. The Spanish Ministry of Defense requested this authorization to modify the established limits and acquire spending commitments charged to future years between 2024 and 2037, specifically in the budgetary application.
The scope of the MPA Program involves the acquisition of six modified Airbus C295W platforms for maritime patrol missions. In order to maintain surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue and maritime security capabilities, it is necessary to acquire aerial platforms, in sufficient numbers, with the appropriate configuration and the necessary integrated logistical support, which allows us to continue guaranteeing national commitments and continue carrying out the assigned missions. The scope of the VIGMA Program involves the acquisition of ten Airbus C295W platforms modified for maritime surveillance missions (VIGMA) and search and rescue missions.
The Airbus C295 is a medium tactical transport aircraft that was designed and initially manufactured by the Spanish aerospace company CASA. Work on what would become the C-295 was started during the 1990s as a derivative of the successful CASA/IPTN CN-235 transport aircraft. On 28 November 1997, the prototype performed its maiden flight; quantity production commenced shortly thereafter. In April 1999, the Spanish Air Force became its launch customer with an order for nine military-configured C-295s; two years later, the type was declared operational with the service. Further orders for the C-295 would promptly follow. Both manufacturing and final assembly of the C-295 is normally performed at the Airbus Defence and Space facilities in San Pablo Airport, located in Seville, Spain.
The C295 has earned its reputation as the reference in Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), proven in operational service for maritime and overland surveillance, as well as search and rescue missions. At the heart of the C295 MSA’s mission equipment is Airbus’ Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) – an advanced and modern system with high-definition touchscreen displays and an intuitive human/machine interface that provides data fusion and a single maritime picture to the operators. The C295 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) version is equipped with Airbus’ in-house-developed Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) tactical system, and is fitted with underwing stations to carry weapons and other stores. In addition to launching sonobuoys, the C295 can deploy torpedoes, anti-surface missiles, mines and depth charges. Chile has acquired the C295 for service in ASW missions.