THE FIRST CN-235 VIGMA (Vigilancia Maritima — Maritime Surveillance) for the Spanish Air Force, D.4-01/T.19B-12, to be operated by Ala 48’s Escuadron 803 at Cuatro Vientos, was handed over on February 11. Six are on order, with options on a further two. The firm order aircraft will be split equally between Escuadron 801 (Ala 15) at Son San Juan, Escuadron 802 (Ala 46) at Gando, Grand Canaria, and Escuadron 803, each unit having two aircraft each.
EADS CASA’s Military Transport Aircraft Division will deliver four aircraft this year, with the final two due to enter service in 2009.
Spain acquired 18 CN-235 tactical transport aircraft in 1988, all flown by Ala 35 at Getafe Air Base. Six of these have been selected for conversion to VIGMA configuration, under a 49 million euro contract. The work comprises structural modifications, an avionics upgrade and various items of role-specific equipment. The latter includes a new belly-mounted search radar, infra-red/TV turret, two ARC210 (Collins HF-9000) radios, satellite communications (Immarsat Aero), emergency locator transmitter beacon, flight management system, traffic collision avoidance system, automatic identification system and IFF. The core of the aircraft’s mission system is the EADS/CASA Full Integrated Tactical System (FITS), similar in configuration to that used on the HC-144As in the USCG Deepwater programme.