Air International 1995-01
S.Huertas - Wings of the Armada
It is believed that the ten surviving AV-8Bs of 9a Escuadrilla will be upgraded to the AV-8B Plus standard.
AV-8A and AV-8B Harrier II of the Arma Aerea de la Armada
The 16,700 tonne Principe de Asturias represents the hub of Battle Group Alpha, which comprises escort frigates and a supply ship, and has the capacity to operate 29 aircraft and helicopters.
A pair of AV-8B from 9° Escuadrilla operating from the Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi during the annual NATO Southern Region exercise Display Determination in October 1990. 9° Escuadrilla has ten AV-8Bs on strength - eight radar-equipped AV-8B Plus will be delivered in 1996.
AV-8A VA.1-7/‘01-810’ hovers over the Principe de Asturias flight deck during a vertical landing on April 7, 1994. This particular aircraft was lost at sea south of the Balearic Islands on May 13 during Dynamic Impact exercises. The pilot, Lt Federico Garcia ejected safely and was promptly rescued by an AB-212.
The AV-8As and TAV-8As are unique in that they are the only Arma Aerea de la Armada aircraft sporting squadron insignia.
AB-212 HA.18-10/'01-314' taking-off from Principe de Asturias in April 1994; this is one of the ECM-configured helicopters, identifiable by the antennas and bulges around its airframe.
5a Escuadrilla SH-3H Sea King, HS.9-16/'01-516’, dunks its sonar during an anti-submarine exercise on the Atlantic, some 100nm off Rota.
Three 5a Escuadrilla Sea Kings have been modified to provide airborne early warning for the fleet. The Searchwater radar is stowed for take-off and landing.
The small and agile Hughes 500 has been in use with 6a Escuadrilla for 22 years, initially as a lightweight ASW platform operating from the now retired Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernisation (FRAM)-2 modified destroyers and now as a utility and training helicopter.
One of the main roles performed by 4a Escuadrilla's Cessna Citation Ils is photographic/infra-red reconnaissance using a centre-line pod - as seen on U.20-2/‘01-406’ at Rota. This installation is similar to the TARPS pod carried by USN F-14 Tomcats.
As part of their combat ready qualifications. Harrier pilots from 8a and 9a Escuadrillas have to be current in air-to-air refuelling. Illustrated is a TAV-8A refuelling from a Boeing 707 transport/tanker from 45 Grupo, Spanish AF.
Two-seater TAV-8A VAE.1-2/'01-808' was nicknamed 'the shark' due to its record of 'eating' FOD. Hence the striking colour scheme.
Spanish Seahawks have participated in the Gulf Conflict, Desert Shield/Storm and in the Balkans Conflict, Sharp Guard.