SE 313 / SA-315 / SA 318 Alouette II
The Alouette II (Lark) was the first turbine-powered helicopter in the world to go into production. First produced in 1957, the Alouette II has gone through a series of upgrades. All of the aircraft of this type are similar, including the SA-315B Lama which is equipped with the Alouette II airframe and the Alouette III engine.
The three-blade main rotor is high-mounted to the rear of the cockpit. The single turboshaft engine with an upturned exhaust is high-mounted on the fuselage to the rear of the cockpit and main rotor shaft. The fuselage is an oval, transparent, bubble cockpit with a tadpole-like appearance and fixed-skid landing gear. The tail boom is an open framework. The tail is small and rectangular, with square-tipped flats forward of a small, right side-mounted rotor.
Developed from Sud-Est's three-seater SE-3120 of 1951, the Alouette II (then designated the SE-3130) was totally redesigned to incorporate the more powerful Artouste I turboshaft in place of the original helicopters, Salmson 9NH radial piston engine. Flown for the first time on March 12th 1953, the helicopter received its French certification just over a year later and was immediately put into production. The helicopter's designation changed to SE-313B following SNCASE's merger with Sud Aviation, which was in turn absorbed by Aérospatiale in 1970.
Re-engining in 1961 saw the introduction of the definitive SA-318C with its Astazou IIA powerplant, this variant being built in considerable numbers, raising overall production to 1, 303.
The final variant to be built was the 'hot and high' optimised SA-315B Lama, built specifically for the Indian Army and combining the Alouette II airframe with the larger powerplant and dynamic components of the Alouette III. Aérospatiale built 407 up to 1989 whilst Indian manufacturer HAL continues low-rate license production today. The Indian helicopters are known as Cheetahs.
Over 50 countries have used the Alouette II in military service, with the German Army being the biggest employer with 226 SA-315Bs and 54 SA-318Cs. Many still remain in frontline service across the globe today.
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