The engineering and technology group SENER and Babcock today announced delivery of the latest upgraded AB212 helicopter to the Flotilla de Aeronaves (FLOAN, Spanish Naval Aviation).
The AB212 is the sixth helicopter to successfully undergo its life-extension programme (known locally as Programa de Extensión de Vida, or PEVH) under a contract with the Spanish Defence Ministry’s Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM, General Armaments and Materials Department).
Under the €21m AB212+ project, seven Spanish Navy AB212 helicopters that became operational in 1974 will have their useful life extended by at least 15 years, after the addition of advanced equipment and avionics. The seventh and final unit is due to be delivered before the end of the year.
Work is being carried out locally by SENER/Babcock MCS España and introduces a new cockpit with four digital screens and electronic flight instrument systems (EFIS). Mission equipment includes a new maritime surveillance radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) system, night-vision system, GPS and a terrain awareness warning system. The helicopters also receive a missile approach warning system and protective armour for the crew.
The upgrade took place at Babcock’s Aeronautical Maintenance Center in Albacete.
As part of the Joint Venture, SENER is responsible for design, integration, test documentation, production support and operational troubleshooting. It is also responsible for providing Babcock with the results of analyses, including that of safety, which are required to generate certification documents.
In turn, Babcock’s Design and Certification team is responsible for the design and integration of certain systems, as well as the industrialization process and ground and flight certification tests. Babcock is also in charge of the National Aerospace Technical Institute (INTA) certification process.
Helicopter squadrons form the bulk of Spain’s naval air arm. Missions include anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), amphibious assault, logistics, medevac and search and rescue (SAR).
The oldest extant squadron is the 3ª Escuadrilla created in 1965 with four Agusta-Bell AB204Bs. In 1974 it received its first AB212ASW, and this type remains in use. The squadron has accumulated more than 70,000 flight hours with the first five modernised AB212+ helicopters. The rotorcraft can be armed with a 7.62mm M134 Minigun for self-defence or fire support to special operations and amphibious forces.