LA Fire helicopter model. The development began in the late 1970s with two Bell 212 being converted into 412 prototypes. An advanced four blade main rotor with a smaller diameter replaced the 212's two blade rotor. A Bell 412 prototype first flew in August 1979. The initial model was certified in January 1981 with the deliveries commencing in the same month.
The 412 model was followed by the 412SP (Special Performance) version featuring larger fuel capacity, higher takeoff weight and more optional seating arrangement. In 1991, the 412HP (High Performance) variant with improved transmission replaced the SP version in production. The current production version, 412EP (Enhanced Performance), is equipped with a dual digital automatic flight control system.
Over 700 Model 412s (including 260 by AgustaWestland) have been built and in operation.