Agusta Bell AB 212ASW
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The Agusta Bell 212ASW is a tribute to the recognition by Agusta of Italy of the potential of the Pratt & Whitney Turbo Twin-Pac engine modified Bell 205 helicopter airframe for use in ant-submarine and anti-surface vessel warfare.
Agusta reinforced the AB 212ASW airframe for the rigors of use aboard ocean going vessels. They equipped their helicopter with the most up to date systems and made provisions for new ASW avionics installation as it was developed. This has allowed for a cost-effective extended service life of the helicopter. Agusta has been able to modify the helicopter avionics to match the requirements of various export customers.
The AB 212ASW is capable of operating in virtually any weather, day and night. Its systems have protection from salt water corrosion. It can be armed with missiles, torpedoes and depth charges, and its sling is capable of holding up to 5,000 lbs.
The compact size of the AB 212ASW makes it capable of operating in tight spaces. However, as a cost-saving measure, the blades of the helicopter do not fold. In the search and rescue role, the AB 212 ASW is capable of carrying up to four stretchers.
The first 12 of 60 AB 212ASW helicopters for the Italian Navy were equipped with the MEL ARI-5955 search radar in a dome on top of the aircraft. For AWS operations a Bendix dipping sonar and the helicopter search radar are used in conjunction. In the anti-surface vessel role, the AB 212ASW is capable of being armed with air-to-surface missiles.
The crew of the AB 212ASW is usually comprised of a pilot, co-pilot, and two additional crew. The Pratt & Whitney engine of the helicopter consists of two PT6T turboshafts jointly coupled and turning the rotor through a single gearbox. The automated flight control system of the AB 212ASW allows for hands off flight, even while hovering and using dipping sonar.
In addition to Italy, the AB212 AWS has been used by Greece, Iran, Peru, Spain, Turkey, and Venezuela.
A total of over 100 AB 212 ASW helicopters were produced. Over 80 remain deployed with navies throughout the world.