Life Extension Programme Prolongs Useful Service by 15 Years Plus
SENER and Babcock, in joint venture, have delivered the sixth Spanish Navy AB-212 helicopter to the Defence Ministry’s General Armaments and Materials Department (DGAM), after completing its life extension programme (known as PEVH in Spain). The seventh and final helicopter will be delivered by the end of 2018.
The upgrade, which extends the aircraft useful life by at least 15 years, took place at Babcock’s Aeronautical Maintenance Centre in Albacete (Spain), a global benchmark in modification of both civil and military fleets and where the delivery ceremony was held. 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 safety-related data required to generate certification documents.
Babcock’s Design and Certification team, for its part, 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) certification process. To that end, the team succeeded in obtaining new certification from INTA in September 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 cockpit digital screen displays and an acoustic warning system that improves operational safety over water.
The life extension programme significantly extends the operational life of the seven Navy Agusta-Bell helicopters, which came into service in 1974, incorporating advances in equipment and avionics and giving them new features such as radar, night vision systems, protection and self-defence capabilities, etc. The modification will enable them to operate unrestrictedly within controlled air space, 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.