Airbus has delivered its last medium twin-turbine Dauphin helicopter. The Spanish Customs Service will use the AS365N3 to combat drug trafficking in the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, and in Galicia. Airbus Helicopters manufactured the helicopter in Marignane, France, and completed it at its Albacete, Spain facility with an electro-optical system, radar, tactical communications system, searchlight, and long-range fuel tanks that enable an endurance of up to three hours and 30 minutes. Its fast cruising speed is 145 knots.
In 2021, Spanish Customs’ three Dauphins, working with 45 vessels and land units, contributed to the seizure of more than 200 tons of illegal drugs in Spain. The helicopters fly up to 1,000 hours per year each. “The Spanish Customs has been a long-standing partner since 1985 and we are very proud of how, since the first Dauphin was handed over to them in 2002, these helicopters have carried out essential tasks,” said Fernando Lombo, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in Spain.
Over the past 40 years, Airbus has produced more than 1,100 Dauphin-series helicopters. The fleet, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s MH-65s, has flown seven million hours in 70 countries. In November 1991, a Dauphin achieved a world helicopter speed record, reaching 201 knots on a three-kilometer route.