The 12th Squadron has made the first landing on a ship, the BAM 'Meteoro'

The beginnings of the Airbus H135 P3H Nival helicopters of the Spanish Navy

A year ago, the Spanish Navy announced the creation of its 12th Squadron, which would be equipped with a new model of helicopter.

The first Airbus H135 P3H Nival helicopter of the 12th Squadron of the Spanish Navy
The Spanish Navy announces its 12th Squadron and the goodbye of the AB-212 and the Cayuse

The first of the new Airbus Helicopters H135 P3H Nival was delivered in October. Deliveries will continue until seven units are completed by October 2025 (two more throughout 2024 and the remaining three in 2025), which will serve to replace the seven Hughes 500 Cayuse of the 6th Squadron.

As reported by the Spanish Navy, the first two helicopters made a direct flight lasting two and a half hours from the Airbus Helicopters Spain facilities in Albacete to the Rota Naval Base, on Monday. December 11 a direct flight. Since then they have been carrying out local training flights.

These first two H135 P3H Nival joined the 12th Squadron on the morning of December 11, after arriving in Rota. These two helicopters are the HE.26-35A (with serial number 10301 and callsign Nival 1202), delivered on October 26, and the HE .26-33A (10299, Nival 1201), delivered on November 30 along with 3 other H135 (one for the Air Force, one for the National Police and one for the civil Guard).

The training and familiarization flights began on December 12, the day after the arrival of these helicopters in Rota. The act of incorporation of the first two H135s into the Aircraft Fleet was signed on the morning of December 14, after which the traditional blessing ceremony for both aircraft was held.

Earlier this month, the Navy carried out testing protocols for the H135 aboard the Maritime Action Vessel (BAM) "Relámpago" P-43, in order to check the compatibility of the installations. "One more step to reach its Initial Operational Capability," said the Navy, showing a video in which we see a crane placing one of the H135s on the flight deck of that BAM. It was the first time that this model of aircraft was embarked on a Spanish Navy ship.

Finally, this morning the H135 has reached a new milestone in the Navy: the first landing in the flight deck of a ship, specifically in the BAM "Meteoro" P-41.

This first landing on a ship is "a new step within the activities programmed for its Operational Qualification", according to the Navy.

This Initial Operating Capacity is expected to be reached at the end of the second half of 2024. Once this stage has been passed, the 12th Squadron will assume the missions that the Hugues 500 had been carrying out: aeronautical training at the "CN Cardona" Naval Air Crew School (EDAN), which is based at the Base Rota Naval. Subsequently, this Squadron will begin to generate Embarkable Air Units (UNAEMB) on Navy ships and Detached Air Units (UNADEST) in the national territory.


Photos: Armada Española.

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