AIR WEAPONS

 

 

COMBAT HELICOPTER

 

Aérospatiale Dauphin

 

Origin: Fance.

Type: Multirole helicopter with special purpose variants.

Engines: Two 710hp Turboméca Arriel IC turboshafts; (366G) two 680hp Avco Lycoming LTS101-750A-1 turboshafts.

Dimensions: Diameter of four blade main rotor 44ft 2in (13·46m); length of fuselage (basic 365N) 36ft 6·39in (11·44m), (F) 39ft 8·77in (12·11m); height 13ft 2in (4·01m), main rotor disc area 1,532sq ft (142·29m2).

Weights: Empty (basic N) 4,447lb (2,016kg), (F) 4,720lb (2,141kg), (G) 5,992lb (2,718kg); max (N, external load) 8,818lb (4,000kg), (F) 8,598lb (3,900kg), (G) 8,928lb (4,050kg).

Performance: Max speed at SL (N) 174mph (280km/h), (F) 156mph (252km/h), (G) 160mph (257km/h); range with max normal fuel (N) 546 miles (880km), (F) 558 miles (898km), (G) 471 miles (760km).

 

Development: This huge programme is underpinned by large civil sales and licence deals which easily exceed 500 aircraft not including licence production in China. The basic twin-engined SA 365N is as attractive machine seating a pilot and up to 13 passangers but normally used with role equipment which can include various caseves models usually with four stretcher casualties. Tricycle landing gear retracts fully, the tail rotor is multi-bladed and rotates inside a duct form in the fin (the so-called Fenestron arrangement) and Aérospatiale have continually updated the basic air-frame and rotors with composite construction using glassfibre/Nomex honeycomb, glassfibre/Kevlar, glass-fibre/Rohacell, light alloy/Nomex (35 per cent of the fuselage). And carbonfibre (main rotor blades). Equipment in the basic 365N can include a duplex autopilot with a navigation coupler, a 3,527lb (1600kg) cargo sling and a 605lb (275kg) winch.

       The SA365F was developed under contract to Saudi Arabia. The first four of this model are SAR helicopters with OMERA ORB 32 radar, auto hover coupler, winch, searchlight and other special role equipment. The next 20, all for Saudi Arabia, are anti-ship missile carriers, equipped with pylons for four AS.15TT missiles guided by the nose-mounted Agrion 15 radar developed from the Iguane radar of the Atlantic ATL2. Aérospatiale claim the range of the small AS.15TT to exceed 9.3 miles (15km). The radar can be used for various surveillance tasks, as well as for over the horizon target designation for missiles launched from shore or surface ships.

 

Above: Launch of an AS.15 TT radar guided anti-ship missile from an SA 365F Dauphin 2, developed from the SA 365N initially for Saudi Arabia.

 

       Aérospatiale are also developing as ASW version of the 365F, initially with MAD and sonobuoys, plus a homing torpedo, but eventually with dipping sonar. The Irish 365F has a Bendix radar and is used for offshore surveillance and SAR from ship and shore platforms. The USCG’s SA366G, known as the HH-65A Dolphin, is expected to be a 90-helicopter programme, though delivery has been severely delayed. This is mainly because the tremendous burden of mission equipment made it impossible to carry enough fuel and payload, but by various modifications (for example by fitting a large Fenestron in a new tail-end made entirely of carbon fibre and Nomex or Kevlar) the empty weight has been more acceptable and delivers are expected to continue through 1986.

 

 

Aérospatiale Ecureuil

 

Origin: France (UH-12, Brazil).

Type: Multirole light helicopter.

Engines: (350B) One 641hp Turboméca Arriel turboshaft, (350D) one 615hp Avco Lyncoming LTS 101-600A-2 turboshaft, (355) two 425hp Allison 250-C20F turboshafts.

Dimensions: Diameter of three-blade main rotor 35ft 0·86in (10·69m); length of fuselage 35ft 9·53in (10·91m); height 10ft 4in. (3·15m); main rotor disc area 966sq ft (97·524m2).

Weights: Empty (B) 2,348lb (1,065kg), (D) 2,359lb (1,070kg), (355) 2,811lb (1,275kg); max (with external load) 4,630lb (2,100kg), (355) 5,511lb (2,500kg).

Performance: Max cruising speed (B) 144mph (232km/h), (D) 143mph (230km/h), (355) 149mph (240km/h); range with max fuel at SL, no reserve, (B) 435 miles (700km), (D) 472 miles (760km), (355) 528 miles (850km).

Armament: None, except French Armée de I’Air 355 version, see below.

 

Development: Designed as a successur to the Alquette, this family of attractive small helicopters will certainly outself even its predecessor, and the 2,000th sale may be announced before this book appears. Most are civilian, but many air forces, navies and other military users have picked the Ecureuil (Squirrel) for various duties. The basic machine is well streamlined and has the patented Straflex rotor requiring no attention or maintenance. Normal landing gear is two skids, with emergrncy flotation gear optional. A typical seating plan has two bucket seats in front and two-place bench seats behind, but a two-stretcher plus attendant casevac model is available and a slung load of 1,650lb (750kg) can be carried (355 carries up to 2,300lb, 1045kg).

       One of the early military customers was the government of Australia, which bought 12 AS350Bs for pilot training with the RAAF and six for survey/utility with the RAN, followed later by another six for RAAF SAR and liaison. In Brazil Helibras produces the 350B under licence as the HB 350B Esquilo (Squirrel). Deliveries began in 1979, Brazilian customers including the Brazilian Navy and two other Latin American air forces.

       The first military customer for the twin-engined 355 the Armée de I’Air, which in 1983 ordered 50 to of a specially equipped version to be delivered in 1983-85. Early batches are being used for the surveillance of strategic military bases and for various support missions, but later batches are to be equipped to fire the SATCP anti-aircraft missile. Originally for use by infantry and from land vehicles, the SATCP has been specially adapted for use from the AS 355 and has multispectral IR/optical homing guidance and full IFF. Targets would mainly be hostile helicopters.

 

Below: First AS 355M Ecureuil, later models of which will have HATCP air-to-air missiles.

 

 

 

Aérospatiale Gazelle

 

Origin: France.

Type: Multiple and utility helicopter.

Engine: One Turboméca Astazou turboshaft; (most 341s 590shp Astazou IIIA, (342) 858shp Astazou XIVH or (342M) XIVM.

Dimensions: Diameter or three-blade rotor 34ft 5·5in (10·5m); length of fuselage 31ft 3·19in (9·35m); height overall 10ft 5·2in (3·18m); main rotor disc area 932·05sq ft (86·59m2).

Weights: Empty (341G) 2,022lb (917kg), (342L), 2,150lb (975kg); max (341G) 3,970lb (1,800kg), (342L) 4,188lb (1,900kg).

Performance: Max cruising speed (all) 164mph (264km/h); hovering ceiling (341) 6,561ft (2,000m), (342) 9,430ft (2,875m); range at SL max fuel, (341) 416 miles (670km), (342) 469 miles (755km).

Armament: (342) Can include four or six HOT missiles, or two AS.12 missiles, or two rocket pods (various types), a 20mm GIAT cannon, two 7·62mm machine guns firing ahead, a side-firing GE Minigun or an Emerson MiniTAT or similar chin turret.

 

Development: A natural refined successor to the pioneer Alouttee, the Gazelle was one of three types named in a major Anglo-French agreement of February 1967 under the terms of which Westland helicopters shared in production and assembles Gazelles for British customers. The Gazelle has proved most successful, and was still selling in small numbers in 1985, with more than 1,100 of many versions already delivered.

       The French assembly line at Marignane has been supplemented by licence production by SOKO of  Yugoslavia, which is continuing to build the SA 342L after delivering a substantial number of earlier versions (not included in the previous total for delivers). Gazelle 342s are also produced in Egypt.

       The chief military variants are: SA 341B, British Army Gazelle AH.1, Astazou IIIN; 341C, Royal Navy trainer HT.2; 341D, RAF trainer HT.3; 341F French ALAT (army light aviation) model Astazou IIIC; 341H, military export military variant; 342L, improved Fenestron tail rotor and Astazou XIVH; 342M, French ALAT armed model.

       The 342M is certainly the most advanced variant, with extremely comprehensive avionics, sight systems and weapons, but the Gazelle AH.1s of Britain’s Army 656 Sqn and the Royal Marines No 3 Comando Brigade were hurriedly upgraded for Falklands War duty in April 1982 with armour (as used on Gazelle in Norther Ireland), SNEB rocket pods, IFF, radar altimeter and a foldable main rotor for shipboard use. At Wideawake (Ascension) further modifications included manually aimed GPMGs firing from the left door and four pylons for Matra rocket pods and night landing flares.

 

Above: SA 342 Gazelle armed with 68mm rocket boxes but without roof-mounted sight.

 

 

Aérospatiale Puma/Super Puma

 

Origin: France.

Type: Multirole tactical transport helicopter.

Engines: (Puma) Two Turboméca Turmo turboshaft engines, of IIIC4 type rated at 1,328hp, IVB rated at 1,400hp or IVC rated at 1,575hp; (Super) two Turboméca Makila IA each rated at 1,780hp.

Dimensions: Diameter of four-bladed main rotor (P) 49ft 2·5in (15·0m), (S) 51ft 2·17in (51·6m); length of fuselage (P) 46ft 1·5in (14·06m), (S) 48ft 5in (14·76m), (M) 50ft 11in (15·52m); height overall (S) 16ft 1·7in (4·92m); main rotor disc area (P) 1,905sq ft (177m2).

Weights: Empty (P) 7,795lb (3,536kg), (S) 9,260lb (4,200kg); max (P) 16,315lb (7,400kg), (S) 20,615lb (9,350kg).

Performance: Max cruising speed (P) 168mph (271km/h), (S) 173mph (280km/h); hovering ceiling (P at max wt) 5,575ft (1,700m), (S at 18,410lb, 8,350kg), 6,890ft (2,100m); range (P max fuel, no reserves) 355 miles (572km), (S standard fuel, no reserves) 394 miles (635km).

Armament: (P) Usually none, but provision for hand-aimed 20mm GIAT cannon or various other weapons, (S) can include one 20mm GIST, two 7·62mm pivoted or firing ahead, two AM39 and three AS15TT, two torpedoes and sonar, or two launchers for either 19 rockets of 70mm or 36 of 68mm.

 

Development: The Puma was designed to meet a French Army (ALAT) need for a capable tactical airlift helicopter able to operate in all climates and all weathers. It also met a 1967 need to the RAF, and accordingly was a mainstay of the Anglo French helicopter co-production agreement of that year. Portions were assigned to fairey aviation (Westland) at Hayes.

       Features of the basic machine include compact size (appreciably smaller than the Sikorsky S-61 family), a traditional articulated hub and conventional (as opposed to Aérospatiale’s patented Fenestron) tail rotor. The twin-wheel retractable tricycle landing gears have even been tested with a clutch-in power drive to facilitate taxiing under camouflaged hides in battle conditions.

       The original Puma became operational with the French ALAT at Mulhouse in June 1970, and with RAF no 33 Sqn a year later. Some export customers specified such extras as weather radar, special electronic navigation systems and emergency floatation bags for over water use. Later models, such as the SA 330L, have composite main rotor blades which enable greater loads to be carried.

       Accommodation is provided for 16 troops (20 in high density) or six stretchers and six seated casualties, while up to 6,614lb (3,000kg) can be slung externally. The Puma was one of the first helicopters to be available with total protection against icing.

       In 1974 Aérospatiale began development of the AS 332 Super Puma. This is a carefully refined machine with new engines driving more efficient rotors, a slightly longer fuselage and new high-energy landing gears with increased track and wheelbase, and with single-wheel main units able to kneel for loading heavy stores or to reduce height aboard ships.

       Accommodation is provided for 21 troops, but the AS 332M has a longer cabin seating 25, or accommodating nine stretchers with three seats. The external load is increased to an impressive 9,921lb (4,500kg) and there has been a great improvement in combat equipment, crash-worthiness and protection against hostile fire.

       One of the major users is Indonesia, where several versions are licence-built by Nurtanio. Local assembly has been offered to Argentina, which since 1983 has received 24 army models from France.

 

Above: Nap-of-the-earth (NOE) flight demonstration by a 21 seat AS 332B Super Puma.

 

Below: AS 332F naval Super Puma armed with two AM39 Exocet missiles for use in the anti-ship role.

 

 

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