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  • Airbus Helicopters (Aerospatiale) SA 330 Puma Medium Transport / Assault Helicopter

    The SA 330 Puma helicopter has gone into operational service with no fewer than 40 military forces worldwide.

     Updated: 6/23/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Puma began life as a product of Sud Aviation designed to meet an French Army requirement for an all-weather, medium-lift, multi-purpose utility helicopter to replace the aging set of Sikorsky S-58 systems in French service. Additional requirements stipulated operation in day or night environments with potential operations of the type reaching virtually in any region of the world. Though originally designed and produced under the Sud Aviation banner (hence the "SA" in the model designation), ownership of the helicopter changed hands when Sud merged with SEREB and Nord Aviation becoming Aerospatiale.

    Two prototypes were constructed under the designation of Alouette V (SA 330A) with the first one flying on April 15th, 1965 from Marignane. These designs were based in the Super Frelon helicopters though the SA 330 was modernized through-and-through right down to construction methods utilized. The prototypes were subsequently followed by 6 pre-production aircraft which were evaluated into the middle of 1968. Results proved the design to be sound, showcasing good speed and agility and proving to be reliable for a complex system of this type. Production of the now-designated SA 330B "Puma" officially began in September of that year to which some 697 total examples were eventually produced. The Puma officially entered operational service in 1970. Pumas went on to serve in no fewer than 40 air forces and armies worldwide - from Albania to Zaire - making it one of the most successful helicopter designs of all time.

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    Aerospatiale SA 330H Puma Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1969
    Type: Medium Transport / Assault Helicopter
    National Origin: France
    Manufacturer(s): Aerospatiale - France / Westland - UK
    Production Total: 697

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 3
    Length: 59.55 feet (18.15 meters)
    Width: 49.21 feet (15.00 meters)
    Height: 16.86 feet (5.14 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 7,796 lb (3,536 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 15,432 lb (7,000 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Turbomeca Turmo IVC turboshaft engines generating 1,575shp each and driving main blade and tail blade rotors.

    Maximum Speed: 170 mph (273 kph; 147 knots)
    Maximum Range: 360 miles (580 km)
    Service Ceiling: 15,748 feet (4,800 meters; 2.98 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 1,400 feet-per-minute (427 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    Mission-specific depending on role and operator. May include machine guns and cannons as needed.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Albania; Argentina; Belgium; Brazil; Cambodia; Cameroon; Chile; Ivory Coast; Ecuador; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Germany (civilian); Guinea; Indonesia; Iran; Kenya; Kuwait; Lebanon; Malawi; Mexico; Morocco; Nepal; Nigeria; Pakistan; Philippines; Protugal; Romania; Slovenia; South Africa; Spain; Sudan; Togo; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; Venezuela; Zaire

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Alouette IV - Initial Series Designation

    SA 330A - Base Series Designation initially produced by Sud Aviation; eight prototypes.

    SA 330B Initial Production Example Models

    SA 330Ba - Designation for SA 330H model when in French service.

    SA 330C Initial Export Variant Model

    SA 330E - Basis of HC.Mk 1 RAF model produced by Westland for trials program.

    SA 330F - Export Variant

    SA 330G - Fitted with Turmo IVC turboshaft engines; production now by Aerospatiale.

    SA 330H - Militarized Variant similar to the SA 330G; some standardized from SA 330F models.

    SA 330J - Produced with new blade construction; based overall on SA 300G model series; civilian equivalent of "L" model.

    SA 330L - Produced with new blade construction; based overall on SA 330H model series; defintive military Puma.

    SA 330R - Stretched Fuselage Variant of which only one produced; led to development of SA 332 Super Puma model series.

    SA 330S - Portugal model featuring Makila 1 turboshaft engines and composite blades.

    SA 330Z - Fitted with fenestron tail rotor assembly; developmental aircraft for SA 360 "Dauphin".

    IAR 330L - Romanian-produced Puma based on SA 330L model series; transport variant and gunship variant (fitted with 20mm cannon gunpods and side-mounted launch rails for rockets and missiles).

    IAR SOCAT Puma - Nose-mounted FLIR system; 20mm turret cannon; anti-tank missile mounts; based on IAR 330L model series; produced in conjunction with Israeli Elbit corporation.

    SA 332 "Super Puma" First flew in 1978; fitted with de-icing equipment, more powerful engines, single-wheel landing gear systems and new composite main rotor blades.

    SA 360 "Dauphin"

    HC.Mk 1 - Based on SA 330E model but in RAF service; built under license by Westland; 48 such models produced at Yeovil.

    Atlas Oryx - South African-produced indigenous model based on SA 330.

    NSA-330 - Indonesian license-produced Puma based on the SA 330L model.