MADRID --- Airbus Military has delivered the last C212-400 assembled in Spain. This delivery marks a moment of Spanish aviation history and the end of more than 40 years of continuous production of the C212 –one of the Spanish best-known aerospace products– at the Airbus Military final assembly line (FAL) in Seville, Spain.
Since its maiden flight in 1971, 477 C212 have been built for 92 different operators. Nowadays, 290 C212 remain in service in 40 countries all over the world. The three countries in which there are today most C212s in operation are Indonesia (70 aircraft), USA (37), and Spain (26).
This 477th C212 –the third and final C212-400 for the Vietnam Marine Police– was formally delivered on December 28th, ending 42 years of continuous production of the type.
Designed in the late 1960s, the C212 was first delivered to the Portuguese Air Force and the Spanish Air Force in October 1974. After its entry in service, the airlifter became rapidly renowned at a global level for its robustness and reliability. In fact, the C212 has been successfully operated in every corner of the planet –including the Antarctic ice cap.
Operators in some of the toughest operating conditions to be found developed enormous affection for its uniquely versatile characteristics and deployed it on an extraordinary variety of roles ranging from transport to rain-making, ultra-sophisticated surveillance to search and rescue. The Design Office of the company eventually developed four different series of the aircraft – culminating in the C212-400, which made its first flight in 1997, in addition to a variety of special mission versions.
Airbus Military CEO, Domingo Ureña-Raso, said: "Every Airbus Military employee involved with the C212 throughout these years can be rightly proud of producing an aircraft that has served its operators faithfully over many years and provided the basis for the development of CASA into the world-class company that it is today in the form of Airbus Military. Times move on, but it will be a great pleasure to see the C212 continuing to fly in near or far-flung corners of the globe for many years to come."
Both military and civil operators have benefited from the C212´s versatility and reliability throughout four decades. From now on operators from all over the world will have a new and upgraded version available, renamed as NC212, that will be produced jointly by PT Dirgantara Indonesia and Airbus Military and assembled in Bandung (Indonesia). The Airbus Military final assembly line in Seville will now focus on the production of the C295 and CN235 aircraft in both transport and mission configurations, as well as on the increasing activity on the A400M assembly line.
The outstanding reliability demonstrated by more than three million flight hours makes the C212 the most successful aircraft in the light transport segment for the most varied types of operations. With a maximum payload of 2.8 tonnes, it was designed to operate in austere environments for long periods of time. Its robustness allows it an absolutely reliable operation in the desert, the jungle o the Antarctic. Its unique STOL performance with low-pressure tires allows unrestricted operations on soft and unpaved fields in hot and high altitude conditions.
The excellent handling qualities and its fast engine response enable the highest level of manoeuvrability at very low altitudes. The C212’s simple design and maintenance reduce the life cycle costs to the lowest level in its segment. The upgraded version, the NC212, launched in November 2012, will be equipped with new digital avionics and autopilot systems and will have a new civil interior for up to 28 passengers, increasing its cost efficiency significantly. This upgrade will keep the NC212 in the light aircraft market as an even more competitive product.
Airbus Military is the only military and civic/humanitarian transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and provide support and services for a comprehensive family of airlifters with a payload range of three to 45 tonnes. An Airbus subsidiary, Airbus Military is responsible for the A400M programme, the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and further military derivatives based on Airbus civil aircraft.
These, together with the smaller 'Light & Medium' C295, CN235 and C212, make Airbus Military the global leader in the market for military transport, tanker and surveillance aircraft capable of performing the most varied types of missions. Altogether, Airbus Military has sold more than 1,000 aircraft to nearly 138 military, civil and governmental customers. More than 800 of these aircraft have been delivered. Airbus is an EADS company.