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Paris Air Show 2023: Spain approves C295 MPA, MSA aircraft

The C295 MPA that will replace the P-3M in Spanish service is seen leading a C295 MSA that will replace the CN235 MSA. The procurement of both types has now been approved by the Spanish government ahead of a general election on 23 July. (Airbus)

Spain has approved the procurement of Airbus C295 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA), a senior official from the manufacturer confirmed on 21 June.

Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Military Air Systems, announced during the Paris Air Show 2023 at Le Bourget that the Spanish Ministers Council had approved the budget for the acquisition of six MPA and 10 MSA-variant C295s.

“[This is] a very strong signal of commitment by our customer towards its national defence industry,” he tweeted.

News of the approval came six months after Dumont told Janes and other defence media in December 2022 that Airbus was close to finalising a development contract with Spain for the C295 MPA, and that the company was also pitching the C295 MSA to the country.

With the C295 MPA scheduled to replace the Lockheed P-3 Orion that was retired by the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) at the end of 2022, a contract had been anticipated in the first quarter of 2023, while Airbus was proposing the 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 radars, sensor turrets, sonobuoys, a 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.

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