Air Weapons

Agusta / Bell

AB 204-412

Agusta has a long history of collaboration with US firms for license production of notable designs such as the legendary Bell Huey which was manufactured in Italy as the AB 204-412 series, the numbers corresponding to Bell's original company designations. While initally simply locally-built versions of the classic airframe, Agusta eventually modified the original designs extensively according to the requirements of their armed forces and export customers, turning most of these light utility helicopters into true multi-role designs which have been adapted to perform new operations such as anti-submarine warfare and anti-tank missions in addition to the Huey's traditional roles such as passenger or cargo transport, casevac and search and rescue (SAR). Production of Italian Hueys continues up to today and they have been exported to a wide variety of foreign users for both military, civil, and police duties.

The Bell Model 204 first flew on 22 October 1956 and was eventually license produced by Agusta as the generally-similar AB 204. More significant changes came in the AB 205 (based on the Model 205) which included provisions for auxiliary fuel tanks, a rescue hoist, and winterized equipment for snow operations (the AB 205A1 was a slightly improved upgrade). Later, the twin-engined Model 212 was adopted as the AB 212 which was extensively modified for naval operations, particularly ASW and ASUW which required the installation of a dorsal radome, a strenghtened fuselage as well as specialized equipment including variable-depth sonar. Finally, the AB 412 was based on the latest Model 412 which retained the twin-engine configuration of the 212 but with a four-blade rotor. A dedicated military variant is known as the AB 412 Grifone (Griffon) with a host of upgraded avionics and electronics and the capacity to perform light attack operations armed with anti-tank, air-to-air, or anti-ship missiles according to its specific mission requirements.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignAB 205AAB 212ASWAB 412
Name--Grifone
TypeUtilityAnti-SubmarineClose Support
Year197019731983
Crew242
Dimensions
Length17.39 m17.40 m17.07 m
Height4.48 m4.53 m4.32 m
Rotor Diameter14.71 m14.63 m14.02 m
Rotor Disc Area170.0 m²168.1 m²154.4 m²
Wing Span14.71 m14.63 m14.02 m
Wing Area170.0 m²168.1 m²154.4 m²
Weight
Empty2,363 kg3,420 kg2,823 kg
Maximum4,309 kg5,070 kg5,262 kg
Wing Loading25.4 kg/m²30.2 kg/m²34.1 kg/m²
Performance
Speed222 km/h230 km/h232 km/h
Ceiling4,575 m4,330 m5,180 m
Range580 km420 km500 km
Powerplant
Engine1 x T53-L-13
Lycoming
1,044 kW
1 x PT6T-3B
Pratt & Whitney
1,342 kW
1 x PT6T-3B-1
Pratt & Whitney
1,342 kW
Thrust/Weight0.540.480.58
Armament
Guns? x 7.62/12.7-mm
-2 x 25-mm
2 x 12.7-mm
Payload???
Hardpoints222
AA WeaponsAS12
TOW
A244/S
Marte Mk. 2
Mk. 44/46
Sea Skua
Sea Skua
TOW
Production
Built?10075
Total?