The Spanish Customs Surveillance Service has taken delivery of the last Dauphin helicopter to be manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. The AS365 N3 will support the agency’s efforts to combat drug trafficking in the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea and Galicia.

Over the past 40 years, Airbus Helicopters and its predecessors have built more than 1,100 Dauphins, which have been operated by customers in 70 countries and accumulated seven million flight hours between them.

The final Dauphin was built at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane plant in France and customised at the company’s facility in Albacete, Spain. It has been fitted with mission equipment that includes an electro-optical system, a radar, a tactical communications system and a searchlight.

The Customs Surveillance Service now has three Dauphins, whose main role is to perform maritime patrol missions during which they are tasked with locating, tracking, chasing and intercepting high-speed smuggling boats.

Fernando Lombo, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in Spain, said: “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 for the population, such as the fight against drug trafficking in a hostile environment. Thank you to the women and men at Customs who are taking full advantage of the Dauphin’s marine patrol capabilities, flying the outstanding figure of almost 1,000 hours a year with each Dauphin to protect our community.”

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