NSPA and Indra partner to modernize Spanish Air Force Airbus C295 fleet

On August 23, 2023, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) announced a major contract award to Indra, a leading Spanish technology firm. The contract is centered on enhancing the radar warning and self-protection systems of the C295 medium tactical transport aircraft operated by the Spanish Air and Space Force.

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NSPA and Indra Partner to modernize Spanish C295 Fleet 925  The C295 can perform special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties (Picture source: Airbus)

With a proven capability of operating from short or unprepared airstrips, the C295 is used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations to locations that are not accessible to current heavier aircraft. It can airdrop paratroops and loads and also be used for casualty or medical evacuation (medevac), as demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis, using either basic litters or mobile intensive care units (ICU) with life support equipment. The aircraft can perform special missions as well as disaster response and maritime patrol duties.

The aircraft were produced in Seville, Spain. It measures 24.5 meters in length with a wingspan of 27.6 meters. Its operational ceiling is listed at 30,000 hours and it can reach a maximum cruise speed of 260 knots.

Included in its setup is a comprehensive military communications package. It can carry a payload up to 23,200 Kg and has a range exceeding 2,300 nautical miles.

Indra will equip the C295 aircraft with the ALR-400 radar warning receiver. This advanced system is capable of detecting a wide range of signals, including those from Doppler radars and other frequency-agile threats. The ALR-400 provides specific guidance on the position of the transmitter and the type of aircraft or radar from which the signal originates. It can process complex waveforms, ensuring that even low-probability signals are detected.

the ALR-400 functions as the central hub for the aircraft's entire self-protection suite. It not only manages the electronic warfare system (EWM) but also controls both the missile warning systems (MWS) and laser missile warning systems (LWS). Furthermore, it oversees the dispensers that release chaff and flares, which are used as decoys to mislead enemy targeting systems. The ALR-400 is designed with future growth in mind, offering the capability to integrate additional warning systems such as hostile fire indicators (HFIs), cutting-edge directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM), and radar electronic countermeasures for disturbance and deception (ECM). This multi-faceted equipment enhances the aircraft's defensive capabilities, contributing to the overall safety of pilots and crews while improving situational awareness for the Spanish forces.

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency is a key logistics and procurement arm of NATO. It provides a range of services, including procurement, logistics, operational support, and more. Currently, the NSPA supports more than 500 airborne platforms in 15 nations, making it a crucial part of NATO's existing technology portfolio.