On 29 May, at FEINDEF in Madrid, SENER and Babcock celebrated completion of the modernisation and life extension programme for seven AB-212 helicopters for the Spanish Navy.
During the ceremony, held in front of one of the aircraft on the SENER stand, Chief of the Navy Staff Adm Teodoro López Calderón referred to the experience accumulated in recent years during the programme, which will allow similar projects to be undertaken with confidence, which may even lead to establishing a relevant line of business within a broader business strategy.
“This is a programme carried out in a model way between the Spanish Navy, the Ministry of Defence and the industry, in which our engineers have been able to fully interact with the end user and, therefore, have a firsthand knowledge about the client’s needs. In this way, we have been able to provide the best solutions in a fully collaborative environment. In short, the commitment assumed by SENER and Babcock has led to the delivery of a well-finished product to the Navy,” commented SENER Vice President Andrés Sendagorta.
The programme, designated PEVH AB-212, SENER and Babcock have upgraded and delivered seven helicopters that originally entered Spanish Navy service in 1974. The Navy can now look forward to a life extension of some 15 years for these aircraft, thanks to the addition. It now has an upgraded squadron capable of operating on several vessels, undertaking low and medium range missions in compliance with all requirements under the new regulations, including IFR operations.
SENER managed the programme, centralizing design and integration engineering, providing all necessary documentation to support the modification, as well as all the necessary analysis and support for certification and safety analysis. SENER has also been responsible for the production support, definition and validation of the development and functional verification tests, as well as resolving incidents detected during the certification phase.
Babcock's Design and Certification team was responsible for design and integration of specific systems, as well as the industrialisation process and ground and flight certification tests. Babcock has also been in charge of the National Aerospace Technical Institute (INTA) certification process, obtaining new certifications from INTA that will enhance military aircraft operations, with the option to fit armour plating as well as military tactical communications. Among other features, these new certifications also include improved full glass cockpit and an acoustic warning system that improves operational safety over water.
The life extension programme has given the helicopters new features, such as surveillance radar, an EO/IR vision system, self-protection and self-defence systems, a GPS navigation system with moving map and TAWS, and a rescue hoist. The old navigation and instrument systems have been replaced by a new night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpit, integrated with new mission systems. Additionally, they have been upgraded with new communications sand electrical distribution system, including new inverters and wiring replacement.