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Airbus to sign for Spanish C295 MPA in early 2023, also pitches MSA variant

The C295 MPA that will replace the P-3M in Spanish service is seen leading a C295 MSA that Airbus is pitching as a CN235 MSA replacement. (Airbus)

Airbus is close to finalising a C295 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) development contract with Spain, at the same time as pitching a maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) variant to the country.

Speaking at Airbus' annual Trade Media Briefing, held in Madrid in mid-December, Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Military Air Systems, said that, with the C295 MPA scheduled to replace the Lockheed P-3 Orion that is being retired by the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) at the end of 2022, a contract is anticipated in the first quarter of 2023. Separately, he said Airbus is proposing a C295 MSA to replace the service's CN235 MSA platform.

As noted by Dumont, the C295 MPA is to be equipped with the latest-generation Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) maritime mission suite, bringing together the input from radar, sensor turret, sonobuoys, magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), and electronic support measures (ESM) as required for maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search and rescue (SAR), and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) protection.

As previously reported by Janes , Spain is procuring four C295 MPAs as a stopgap measure until a more permanent replacement for the air force's three remaining P-3Ms is selected.

In addition to the soon-to-be-retired P-3Ms, the EdAE also fields eight CN235 MSAs (called Vigilancia Marítima [VIGMA] in national service). These are used for maritime patrol and SAR tasks, for which they are equipped with the FITS mission system, as well as a search radar, a FLIR sensor turret, and a Link 11 datalink.

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