Engineering and technology group SENER and Babcock, joint venture partners, presented the fourth upgraded Agusta Bell 212 (AB212) to the Spanish Ministry of Defense as part of a project for extending the lifespan of AB-212 seven helicopters, which came into service in 1974, by at least 15 years.
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 digitalized one, also includes new functionalities such as radar, GPS navigation, night vision system, and protection and self-defense systems etc., all of which are essential to effective operations in an ever more demanding national and international context. As a matter of fact, some of these 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, they 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, the 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.
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