Joint venture partners (JV), SENER and Babcock, have presented the fourth upgraded Agusta Bell 212 (AB212) to the Spanish Ministry of Defense.
The helicopter has been presented as part of a project for extending the lifespan of AB-212 seven helicopters by at least 15 years. The helicopters came into service in 1974.
A crew from the Spanish Navy’s Third Aircraft Squadron, the squadron head himself included, from Rota Naval Base (Cádiz, Spain) transferred the new helicopter by direct flight to their base. The helicopter will join the three already upgraded machines, which are currently being used in operations to the Navy’s full satisfaction. The two remaining aircraft, along with the prototype, which is being used for development and certification purposes, will be handed over between 2017 and 2018.
The upgrade of the AB212 helicopters, as well as full replacement of the electrical systems and replacing the analogue cockpit for a fully digitalised one, also includes new functionalities such as radar, GPS navigation, night vision system, and protection and self-defense systems. The upgrades are essential for effective operations in an ever more demanding national and international context.
Some of the helicopters upgraded by SENER-Babcock are aboard frigates that operate off the coast of Libya, participating in challenging missions and, according to the Spanish Navy itself, are providing a very satisfactory response.
The upgrade, with SENER leading the design, integration, and engineering works, and Babcock charged with some of the design, installation, and land and flight testing, as well as certification through the INTA (Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial – National Institute of Aerospace Technology), means the upgraded AB212 can be operated without restrictions in controlled military or civil spaces, and in compliance with all the requirements of the new regulations.