Aerospatiale SA315B Lama
Type: Light Utility Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Aerospatiale (Eurocopter / Airbus Helictopers) - France / Helibras - Brazil / Hindustran Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - India
Status: Active, In-Service
Combining the performance and capabilities of the Aerospatiale Alouette III with the framework of the Aluoette II gave rise to the SA 315B Lama Hot-and-High light helicopter.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Aerospatiale SA315B Lama Light Utility Helicopter. Entry last updated on 6/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
First-flight by way of a prototype was had on March 17th, 1969 and series introduction occurred in July of 1971. The helicopter remains in service today (2017) with several global operators though numbers are dwindling some with each passing year.
As built, the SA 315B featured a minimum operating crew of one and could carry up to four passengers in relative comfort (or and external cargo load of 2,500lb). Overall length was 33.6 feet with a width of 36 feet and a height of 10 feet. POwer was from a Turbomeca Artouste IIIB series turboshaft engine developing 550 horsepower (derated from 870 horsepower) and performance included a maximum speed of 120 miles per hour, a range out to 320 miles and a service ceiling of 17,715 feet. Rate-of-climb measured 1,080 feet-per-minute.
Externally the helicopter was given a very workmanlike appearance. The cockpit was enclosed in a light framework with heavily glazing that offered excellent vision and gave the helicopter a insect-like appearance. Immediately aft of the cabin was the engine installation which drove both the three-bladed main rotor and three-bladed tail rotor (the latter via a shaft). The tail rotor was set to the starboard side of the aircraft and served to counter the torque effect cause by the main rotor spin. The tail unit was exposed, made up of a basic frame of connected struts and this helped to keep the helicopter lightweight and inexpensive. The undercarriage was of a simple four-point skid assembly which allowed for landings virtually anywhere, even rugged terrain. The skids could also employ cargo holders along their length to give the small helicopter a limited equipment transport capability.
Beyond manufacture of the helicopter by French-based Aerospatiale, the Lama was also produced under local license by Brazil under Helibras (now a subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters) and by India under the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) brand label.
Major variants were the original SA 315B production model fitting the Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft engine. The Brazilian contribution became the HB 315B "Gaviao" which was a copy of the SA 315B. Indian models were the HAL "Cheetah" (SA 315B) and the HAL "Lancer", the latter which was a light armed combat model incorporating such features as armament support, reinforced cockpit glass and armor protection for basic survivability. The Lancer was introduced in the 1990s. The HAL "Cheetal" then followed the Lancer as a modernized form and was in 2006. This version was powered by the Turbomeca TM333-2M2 series turboshaft engine which increased overall performance.
The Lama series held the world air record for absolute altitude by a helicopter at 40,814 feet from the period spanning June of 1972 until July of 2017.
Any available statistics for the Aerospatiale SA315B Lama Light Utility Helicopter are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (121mph).
Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Aerospatiale SA315B's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.