Joint venture (JV) partners Sener and Babcock have completed the delivery of the fourth upgraded Agusta Bell 212 (AB212) helicopter to the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

The supply of the refurbished aircraft is part of a project that began in 1974 to extend the lifespan of seven AB-212 helicopters by a minimum of 15 years.

SENER is responsible for major design, integration and engineering works under the project, while Babcock conducts some of the design, installation, and land and flight testing procedures.

A crew from the Spanish Navy's Third Aircraft Squadron transferred the new helicopter from Rota Naval Base to the navy's base via direct flight.

The aircraft will be added to the existing fleet of three helicopters that have already undergone modernisation and have since resumed service with the navy.

"A selection of the helicopters already modernised by the JV partners are currently deployed aboard the Spanish Navy frigates participating in missions off the coast of Libya."

Two further refurbished helicopters are expected to be provided to the Spanish Navy between this year and the next, along with a prototype currently being used for development and certification purposes.

In addition to the upgrade works carried out on the AB212 helicopters, the project also included the complete replacement of the electrical components and the replacement of the analogue cockpit with a fully digitalised system.

The new aircraft also feature various latest functionalities such as radar, GPS navigation and a night vision system, as well as protection and self-defence systems.

A selection of the helicopters that have already been modernised by the JV partners are currently deployed aboard the Spanish Navy frigates participating in missions off the coast of Libya.

The upgrade works and certification were conducted through the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial – National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), and allow the remodelled AB212 helicopters to be operated without restrictions in controlled military or civil spaces.

The refurbished aircraft are also fully compliant with all the latest standards and regulations.