The CASA C-212-100 Aviocar is a light military transport that was designed to operate in areas lacking in infrastructure and unpaved runways. It has a high-wing configuration and fixed landing gear, is fitted with twin turboprop engines, and has excellent Short TakeOff and Landing (STOL) capability.
The cargo compartment can accommodate 18 passengers and their luggage, or 16 fully-equipped paratroopers, or 4,409 pounds (2,000kg) of diversified cargo, including road vehicles. For aeromedical evacuations, 12 litters and seats for two attendants can be mounted. A rear loading ramp enables different logistic transport tasks to be carried out. It can be opened while on the ground, to load and unload, or in flight for the airdropping of cargo, survival equipment or paratroops.
The C-212 was conceived in Spain during the late-1960s and the prototype flew on 26 March 1971. Production of the Series 100 began the following year, powered by two Garrett TPE331-5 turboprops of 715 shp each. The Spanish Air Force was, naturally, an early customer and eventually received 79 of these, mainly the T.12B (C-212A) transport, but also a few T.12C (C-212AV) VIP aircraft, TE.12B (C-212E1) dual control trainers and TR.12A (C-212B1) survey machines. Exports ranged between Chile, Indonesia and Portugal, where IPTN launched licensed production for Far East customers. Portugal has two EC-212s for electronic intelligence gathering and ECM duties, these are readily identifiable by their blunt noses and fin-tip pods containing antennas.
In 1979, the installation of TPE331-10s rated at 900 shp resulted in the C-212-200 Aviocar, which increases the earlier aircraft's 14,330-pound (6,500kg) maximum takeoff weight to 16,975 pounds (7,700kg) for normal operations or 17,637 pounds (8,000kg) in military overload conditions. Spain bought three Series 200s for ECM training as the TR.12D and seven for SAR as the D.3B. The D.3A designation covered two T.12Bs converted for the medevac role.
The C-212-300 Aviocar, first flown in September 1984, is equipped to fly under VMC conditions (visual flight) or IMC conditions (flight by instruments). It has similar characteristics to those of the C-212-100/200, however, it is longer, more powerful, and has winglets. When used for maritime surveillance, these aircraft are equipped to detect any illegal activities and, simultaneously, any signs of ocean pollution. In addition to those activities, they can still carry out the direct electronic measurement of the water surface temperature for ecological and scientific purposes as well as aerial photography missions.
One Series 300 was modified for the U.S. Army with undisclosed sensors as the prototype "Grisly Hunter" drug interdiction aircraft; production conversions are based on the deHavilland Canada Dash 7 transport. At least four Series 300s are used by the USAF's 427th SOS for undisclosed missions, two operating in 1992 from Incirlik, Turkey, possibly into northern Iraq.
The new C-212-400 Aviocar was formally launched at the Paris Airshow in 1997 (after completing its maiden flight on 4 April 1997) and is fitted with a the latest version of the Allied Signal TPE-331-12JR engine which improves the aircraft's hot and high performance levels. Its cargo capacity 6,504 pounds (2,950kg), or 25 paratroopers, or 12 litters and 4 attendants means that the plane can be fully integrated into the logistical transport system of any air force.
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