The Spanish government gave the go ahead on 7 September for the procurement of a second tranche of Airbus Helicopters NH90s and the modernisation of the army’s Chinook CH-47D heavy transport fleet.
The long-awaited green light for the two programmes came after the new Socialist Partido Socialista Obrero Español government took over in June, saying it would cut the greater defence spending promised earlier in the year by the previous government of the conservative Partido Popular (PP).
A cabinet statement stressed the Chinook upgrade was “necessary” to “maintain the operational capability of the army’s heavy transport helicopters”. It will include updates of the safety systems, ground support equipment, mission planning, and simulation systems supplied through the manufacturer, Boeing.
The second tranche of NH90s was also needed to “guarantee potential mission capabilities”.
Defence Minister Margarita Robles said in July that the government would reduce spending promised by the PP on new defence orders in 2018 to about EUR5 billion (USD5.8 billion) to cover priority programmes.
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