The engineering and technology group SENER and Babcock have delivered the sixth helicopter to successfully complete its life extension programme (PEVH in its Spanish acronym) to the Spanish Defence Ministry's General Armaments and Materials Department (DGAM in its Spanish acronym).
Thanks to this programme, seven Spanish Navy AB-212 helicopters that became operational in 1974 will have their useful life extended by at least 15 years, thanks to the addition of advanced equipment and avionics. The seventh and last unit will be delivered by the end of 2018.
The upgrade took place at Babcock's Aeronautical Maintenance Center in Albacete (Spain), a global benchmark in modification of both civil and military fleets and where the delivery ceremony was held. The event was attended by representatives from the Spanish Defence Ministry's General Armaments and Materials Department. Representing the Joint Venture, José Rodríguez Muñoz, from SENER's Aerospace area and Joint Venture Manager, and Jorge Arnas, Babcock Spain's Design and Certification Director, as well as Ignacio Almaraz, Babcock Spain's Strategy and Business Director, took part.
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 industrialisation process and ground and flight certification tests. Babcock is also in charge of the National Aerospace Technical Institute (INTA in its Spanish acronym) certification process.
To that end, Babcock's Design and Certification team has succeeded in obtaining new certifications from INTA in September that will enhance military aircraft operations, with the option to fit armor plating as well as military tactical communications. Among other features, these new certifications also include improved cockpit digital screen displays and an acoustic warning that improves operational safety over water.
The life extension programme of the seven Navy Agusta-Bell helicopters which came into service in 1974, significantly increases their operational life incorporating advances in equipment and avionics and giving them new features such as radar, night vision systems, protection and self-defense systems, etc., which are basic for efficient operation in increasingly demanding scenarios. The AB-212's modification will enable them to operate unrestrictedly within controlled air spaces, both military and civil, in compliance with all requirements under the new regulations, as well as fitting them with self-protection and self-defence systems that enable deployment in multinational missions with a low to medium threat level.