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Airbus Helicopters AS350 Ecureuil / Astar

France (1975)
Picture of Airbus Helicopters AS350 Ecureuil / Astar Light Utility Helicopter

The AS350 system is a widely-used utilitarian type helicopter covering military, commercial and security needs.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Airbus Helicopters AS350 Ecureuil / Astar Light Utility Helicopter.

 Entry last updated on 4/11/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©

The AS350 was originally designed to replace the aging Sud Aviation / Aerospatiale Alouette II light utility helicopter series. The AS350 appeared first under the Aerospatiale brand label but is now known under the Eurocopter name. First flight was achieved on June 26th, 1974 with introduction of the system taking place in 1975. The helicopter has been in production ever since and has become a fixture in the inventories of dozens of nations around the world.

The AS350 maintains an impressive streamlined appearance. The pilot and (optional) co-pilot are seated in the forward portion of the fuselage with excellent visibility forward, below, above and to the sides. Entry is via a hinged automobile-style door. The passenger cabin - with room for six - offers hinged doors to either side of the fuselage with large windows. The Turbomeca powerplant sits atop and to the rear of the passenger cabin with exhaust jettisoned out through a cylindrical system aft. The rotor mast fits the main rotor high away from the fuselage and is made up of a three-bladed main rotor system. The empennage, adding to the AS350's distinct look, is long and slender and sports horizontal planes at about midway. The tail section is made up of a dorsal vertical tail fin with a shorter ventral fin below. The tail rotor sits to the starboard side of the aircraft. The undercarriage features a fixed skid arrangement.
Military operators of the AS350 series include Australia, Brazil (Brazil has built single- and twin-engined versions locally under license by Helibras), Chile, Ecuador, Vietnam and the United Kingdom among others. The AS350 fits equally well within the realm of security operations and is used as such by police forces in Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the United States - US police forces being a quantitative user of note. The AS350 has also found a home in the civilian markets of the world and operates in this capacity for Austria, Chile, Finland, Hungary, Iran, Iceland, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden among others (see variants list for full report). Air tours across Hawaii make heavy use of the AS350 series in their scenic flights over the various islands.

The AS350 has since been branched out into a twin engine known as the AS355 Ecureuil 2 and the single-engine EC130 Ecureuil while the AS350 is marketed in North America as the Astar.

Israel's Elbit Systems has ordered four H125s to modify for Israeli Police service. Introduction is expected for 2016.

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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (178mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
Graph showcases the Eurocopter AS350 B3's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

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Eurocopter AS350 B3 Specifications
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Year: 1975
Status: Active, In-Service
Type: Light Utility Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Aerospatiale / Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) - France
Production: 3,000
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Length: 139.27 ft (42.45 m)
Height: 10.63 ft (3.24 m)
Empty Weight: 2,736 lb (1,241 kg)
MTOW: 5,666 lb (2,570 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Turbomeca Arriel 2B or 2B1 turboshaft engine developing 847 horsepower.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 178 mph (287 kph; 155 kts)
Maximum Range: 408 mi (657 km; 355 nm)
Service Ceiling: 16,549 ft (5,044 m; 3.13 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,959 ft/min (597 m/min)

Usually none but can be mission-specific as needed and based on operator.

Operators List
Albania; Algeria; Australia; Benin; Botswana; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Canada; Central African Republic; Chile; China; Comoros; Denmark; Djibouti; Ecuador; France; Gabon; Guinea; Israel; Jamaica; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritius; Mexico; Morocco; Nepal; Paraguay; Peru; Rwanda; Singapore; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uruguay; Venezuela; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ireland, Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Philippines; South Africa; United States; Bhutan; Finland; Germany; Greenland; Hungary; Iran; Iceland; Nepal; Puerto Rico

Series Model Variants
• AS350 - Prototype Model Designation
• AS350 "Firefighter" - Fire Fighter Variant
• AS350 B - Fitted with 1 x Turbomeca Arriel 1B engine.
• AS350 B1 - Fitted with 1 x Turbomeca Arriel 1D engine.
• AS350 B2 - Fitted with 1 x Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine; increased overall weight.
• AS350 B3 - Fitted with 1 x Turbomeca Arriel 2B digitally-controlled engine.
• AS350 B3/2B1 - Increased MTOW; dual hydraulic arrangement.
• AS350 BA - Fitted with 1 x Turbomeca Arriel 1B engine; redesigned main rotor blades.
• AS350 BB - Fitted with Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 series engine; selected by British Ministry of Defense.
• AS 350 C "A-Star" - Fitted with Lycoming LTS-101-600A2 engine primarily for North American markets.
• AS 350 D "A-Star" / "A-Star Mark III" - Fitted with Lycoming LTS-101 series engine; primarily for North American markets.
• AS350 L1 - Militarized AS350 B1; fitted with Turbomeca Arriel 1D turboshaft engine of 684shp.
• AS350 L2 - Militarized AS350 B2; fitted with Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft engine of 732shp.
• HB350 B "Esquilo" - Militarized variant for use by Brazilian Air Force; sans armament.
• HB350 B1 "Esquilo" - Militarized Variant for use by Brazilian Navy.
• HB350 L1 - Militarized Variant for use by the Brazilian Army.
• CH-50 - Brazilian Designation for HB350 B "Esquilo" model; production by Helibras.
• TH-50 - Brazilian Designation for HB350 B "Esquilo" model; production by Helibras.
• UH-12 - Brazilian Designation for HB350 B1 "Esquilo" model; production by Helibras.
• HA-1 - Brazilian Designation for HB350 L1 model; production by Helibras.
• Eurocopter Squirrel HT.1 - RAF Designation of AS 350 BB; trainer variant.
• Eurocopter Squirrel HT.2 - British Army Air Corps trainer based on the AS 350 BB
• AS355 - Prototype Model Designation of twin-engine version.
• AS355 E - Production Model Designation; fitted with 2 x Allison 250 turboshaft engines; designated as "Twin Star" in North American market.
• AS355 F - "Improved" AS355; new main rotor blades.
• AS355 F1 - Fitted with Allison C20F engines; increased MTOW.
• AS355 F2 - Fitted with Allison C20F engines and new transmission system; increased MTOW.
• AS355 M - Militarized Variant of the AS355 F1 model.
• AS355 M2 - Militarized Variant of the AS355 F2 model.
• AS355 N "Ecureuil 2" - Fitted with 2 x Turbomeca Arrius 1A series digitally-controlled engines; designated "TwinStar" in North American market.
• As355 NP "Ecureuil 2" - Fitted with 2 x Turbomeca Arrius 1A1 turboshaft engines and new gearbox; increased MTOW.
• HB.355F "Ecureuil 2" - License-production Brazilian models under Helibras brand.
• HB.355N "Ecureuil 2" - License-production Brazilian models under Helibras brand.
• Soloy Super D = AS350 BA model fitted with LTS101-600A-3A engine.
• Soloy Super D2 - AS350 B2 model fitted with LTS101-700D-2 engine.
• Heli-Lynx 350FX1 - AS350 BA model powered by LTS101-600A-3A engine.
• Heli-Lynx 350FX2 - AS350 BA or AS350 B2 models powered by LTS101-700D-2 engine.
• Otech AS350BA+ - AS350 BA model powered by LTS101-600A-3A engine.
• Heli-Lynx 355FX1 - Fitted with Allison C20F engine.
• Heli-Lynx 355FX2 - Fitted with Allison C20F engine.
• Heli-Lynx 355FX2R - Fitted with Allison C20R engine.
• Starflex AS355F1R - AS355 F1 model fitted with Allison C20R engine.
• Starflex AS355F2R - AS355 F2 model fitted with Allison C20R engine; new tail rotor blades.
• H125

Supported Weapon Systems