September 05, 2011 Tony Osborne, SHEPARD GROUP
Eurocopter Spain has been awarded a €24 million contract to supply a single SAR-equipped EC225 for the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency (SASEMAR).
The contract, announced by the Spanish Ministry of Development on 5 September, was awarded on 10 August.
The new aircraft will replace a Sikorsky S-61N operated on long-range SAR missions from Alvedro-A Coruña airport in the north-western region of Galicia and was chosen after a competition which also evaluated the Sikorsky S-92. The aircraft is due to begin operations in a year's time.
SASEMAR said the purchase of the helicopter is part of the ongoing modernisation of Spain's SAR services under the National Rescue Plan 2010-2018.
SASEMAR currently has 11 helicopters: eight medium-size and three large helicopters to provide coverage in the Spanish SAR area, which covers some 1.5 million square kilometres – three times the size of the Spanish national territory.
Two more new large helicopters will be purchased for use in the Canary Islands and in the Straits of Gibraltar.
Shephard understands the EC225 scored highly in the evaluation against the S-92A despite being some €340,000 more expensive.