SA 330 Puma / AS 332 Super Puma / EC225 [civil]
AS 532 Cougar / EC725 Cougar [military]
The Cougar name was adopted for all military variants, and in 1990, all Super Puma designations were changed from AS 332 to AS 532 to distinguish between civil and military variants. The EC725 and its civil variant, the EC225, fuse military capabilities with commercial standards. By 2006 the EC725 had entered service with the French Army and Air Force, while the EC225 had captured renowned customers in offshore oil and gas operations both in Europe and the United States, in governmental VIP flying services in Japan and Algeria, and in SAR as well as offshore operations in China.
The Cougar was designed to provide high performance, ease of deployment, low operating cost, comfort, plus high mission readiness. For military use and adapting to modern battlefield conditions, it features survivability, suitability for tactical flight thanks to exceptional manoeuvrability, low observability, low vulnerability to projectiles, crashworthiness. A multirole helicopter, the Cougar can be armed with machine-guns and pod-mounted cannons, with rockets, or with antisubmarine or antisurface weapon systems to suit different mission requirements. Additional missions include: VIP transport, electronic warfare, and anti-submarine warfare.
The Puma, Gazelle, and WG.13 Lynx helicopters were produced under the Anglo-French collaborative agreement of 1967 between Westlands and Aerospatiale. Design leadership on the Puma, whose development was financed by France before the package was agreed, and on the Gazelle, rests with Aerospatiale and, on the Lynx, with Westlands. Production of all three aircraft was divided between the United Kingdom and France. The Puma support helicopter entered service with the R.A.F. during 1970. This helicopter was designed by the French, but about 20 percent of the total production is being shared by Westland and Rolls-Royce; export orders for 35 aircraft were soon obtained and there are good prospects for more. The utility version of the WG.13 Lynx was used by all three UK Services and there was also a Naval version. This helicopter was designed by Westlands and has a Rolls-Royce engine. Budgetary difficulties caused the French to cancel their plans for an attaque version for their Army, but they retained the naval version and revised arrangements have been negotiated. Development proceeded satisfactorily and led to the start of production in 1972.The Anglo-French helicopters were enthusiastically received by the United Kingdom Services. They incorporate a number of technical innovations. Westlands, for example, received the MacRobert award of the Council of Engineers Institutions for design features incorporated in the Lynx, the British-designed member of the family. By 1978 export of the Puma and Gazelle, which came into service in 1969 and 1972 respectively, exceed sales to the United Kingdom and French Governments, while export orders of the Lynx already exceeded 35, even though the aircraft had only just entered operational service. The prospects of further substantial export business were promising, particularly in the Middle East.
The Puma medium lift helicopter was in production until 1987, featuring many roles including military and civilian. Used in the army as a troop carrier it could seat twelve occupants. As a civilian based helicopter the Puma could seat twenty passengers. A total of 696 Puma's had been sold by the end of manufacture although they are still produced in Romania. The Puma was built by the EUROCOPTER Group, owned 70% by AEROSPATIALE France and 30% by Daimler Aerospace (DASA) of Germany.
The Super Puma AS332 L1 is a twin engine medium-weight civil helicopter equipped with a new avionics glass cockpit. Its operational characteristics and its large cabin explain its success particularly for passenger transport. The extensive power reserve, its safety level, and comfort make the SUPER PUMA AS332 L1 an aircraft perfectly suited for offshore or other civil operations. About 70% of the civilian AS332 fleet is operated by oil and gas operators. This high success shows the perfect adaptation of the 8-9 ton class Super-Puma for this dedicated mission. Thanks to this fleet, Eurocopter has been able to gather a long experience and could develop the AS322 L2 that presents higher performance.
The large, four-blade main rotor is mounted above center of fuselage on a hump. Two turboshaft engines are mounted on top of the fuselage midsection, giving the helicopter a humpbacked appearance. The fuselage is long, rectangular, upswept, with a tapered rear section, a rounded, stepped-up, glassed-in cockpit and retractable landing gear. Swept-back and tapered tail fin mounts a rotor on the right and a tapered, single flat on left top of the fin.
The Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshafts engines, of modular design and low specific fuel consumption, endows the Cougar with impressive power (2 x 1877 shp). Coupled with exceptionally short response times, contributing to the machine's tactical flight capability. The rotors blades are made of composite materials throughout. By comparison with blades incorporating metallic components, this makes for unsurpassed serviceability, low vulnerability, an unlimited useful life and imperviousness to marine corrosion. Other innovations include a simplified main rotor hub, a main gearbox of modular design and a high-energy-absorption landing-gear contributing to the machine's crashworthiness.
The Cougar can also be equipped with jet diluters for protection against heat-seeking missiles, with infrared and electromagnetic countermeasures, crashworthy seats for pilot and military personnel, armorplate for crew seats and vital parts of the machine, a 4.5 metric-ton capacity sling and a winch capable of hoisting 245 kg.
By 2010 Eurocopter’s heavy-duty family of helicopters, the AS332 Super Puma/AS532 Cougar and their latest-generation derivatives, the EC225/EC725, had accumulated a total of four million flight hours in service. To date, 740 civil and military variants of this product family are in service with customers around the world, mostly serving in offshore oil and gas services in the harsh conditions of the North Sea, SAR (Search and Rescue) and VIP transport, as well as demanding military missions such as Combat SAR and troop transport in hostile environments.
Super Puma family helicopters are in operation in more than 20 countries from extremely low temperatures in Norway to extremely high temperatures in North Africa and in the toughest maritime environments. This unrivalled experience combined with proven technological concepts provides these helicopters with an unmatched warranty of success in life saving as well as oil and gas missions. The result is an operational availability of the Super Puma family that exceeds, on average, 98 percent.
In 2009 alone, a total of 81 helicopters from this product family were sold. Renowed customers of the various civil variants of the family by now include Awan Inspirasi, Bond Offshore Helicopters, Bristow Helicopters, CHC, the Chinese Ministry of Transport, COHC, ERA Helicopters, German Federal Police, Héli-Union, Hong Kong Government Flying Service, Japanese Coast Guard, MHS, Sonair, South Korean National 119 Rescue Service, SSFC and SWHS. Military customers include the Brazilian Armed Forces, Bulgarian Air Force, French Army Aviation and Air Force, German Air Force and Mexican Armed Forces.
AS 532UL Cougar Mk I UL/Horizon
The Horizon system (Helicoptre d'Observation Radar et d'Investigation sur Zone) consists of the AS 532UL Cougar and a ground station. The Cougar helicopter operates behind the front line at an altitude of up to 4000 meters to survey the battlefield with the Thomson-CSF Target radar. This X-band radar with a swivelling antenna below the rear fuselage has a range resolution of approximately 40 meters and a target velocity accuracy of +/- seven km/h. In snapshot mode the radar can scan 20000 sq km in ten seconds. Horizon is able to survey the movements of up to 4000 wheeled or tracked vehicles at distances of up to 200 km. The French Army procured a total of four helicopters and two ground stations, which were delivered in 1996 and 1997. This represented a major reduction from the original 1980s plan in which 20 aircraft were to be procured uner the Orchidée program, which was canceled after the first flight of the fully equipped prototype in 1990. Following test missions during the Gulf War, the program was reactivated on a reduced scale in 1993.
|First flight :||1994 ( demonstrated during the operations in the Gulf in 1991)|
|In-service in the French Army :||Deliveries between 1996 and 1998|
|Special equipment :||Moving Target Indicator radar (Thomson-CSF), scanning a 20,000 km² zone in 10 seconds High jamming resistance|
|Major operational capabilities :||Detection and localisation of vehicles, boats and helicopters up to 200 km In real time, protected transmission of data to the ground and on-board exploitation Air deployable ground station|
|NATO interoperability :||Proposed system for the future NATO Ground Surveillance program Demonstrated interoperability with the US J-STARS|
|French Army inventory :||4 helicopters and 2 ground stations|
|Typical mission||Radar recce of mobiles (detection of vehicules moving in Kosovo), intelligence transmitted in real time to the command center.|
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|