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Aerospatiale Alouette II

Light Utility Helicopter

Aerospatiale Alouette II

Light Utility Helicopter


The Aerospatiale Alouette II has proven itself to be a commercial success, seeing operation service with dozens of countries worldwide.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: France
YEAR: 1957
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Sud-Est / Sud Aviation / Aerospatiale - France
OPERATORS: Angola; Argentina; Austria; Belgium; Benin; Biafra; Bolivia; Brazil; Cambodia; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chile; Ivory Coast; Djibouti; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Finland; France; Germany; Guinea-Bissau; India; Indonesia; Israel; Laos; Lebanon; Mexico; Morocco; Netherlands; Pakistan; Peru; Portugal; Romania; Senegal; South Korea; South Africa; South Vietnam; Sweden; Switzerland; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; United Kingdom; West Germany; Zaire

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Aerospatiale SA313 Alouette II model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 31.82 feet (9.7 meters)
WIDTH: 33.46 feet (10.2 meters)
HEIGHT: 9.02 feet (2.75 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 1,973 pounds (895 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 3,527 pounds (1,600 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Turbomeca Artouste IIC6 turboshaft engine developing 550 horsepower and driving a three-blade main rotor and a two-blade tail rotor.
SPEED (MAX): 115 miles-per-hour (185 kilometers-per-hour; 100 knots)
RANGE: 351 miles (565 kilometers; 305 nautical miles)
CEILING: 7,382 feet (2,250 meters; 1.40 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 825 feet-per-minute (251 meters-per-minute)


Usually none. Series has been fitted with Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) for "tank-killer" role or torpedoes for maritime Anti-Ship (AS) patrol.

Series Model Variants
• SE 3130 Alouette II - Initial Production Model Designation.
• SE 3131 "Gouverneur" - Proposed VIP transport variant; becoming basis for the Alouette III.
• SE 3140 Alouette II - Proposed variant; fitted with Turbomeca Turmo II series engine of 400 horsepower; never produced.
• SE 3150 Alouette "Astazou" - Fitted with 1 x Turbomeca Astazou IIA series turbine engine at 360shp; revised transmission based on Alouette III system.
• SE 3180
• SA 313B Alouette II - Redesignation of SE 3130 model in 1967.
• SA 318B "Lama" - "Hot and High" derivative developed for Indian Army; airframe of Alouette II with dynamic components of Alouette III design; becoming the HAL "Cheetah".
• SA 318C Alouette II - Redesignation of SE 3180 model in 1967.
• HAL "Cheetah" - Based on the "Hot and High" SA 315B "Lama"; production under license by HAL of India.
• HAL "Lancer" - Appearing in 1998; armed with anti-armor rocket pods and 12.7mm machine guns for counter-insurgency sorties; production by HAL of India; 12 ordered in 2001.
• HKP 2 Alouette II - Sweden license-production designation of SE 3130 model.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Aerospatiale Alouette II Light Utility Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 4/11/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Alouette II helicopter series is billed as a multi-role, light rotary-wing platform charged with a myriad of duties in both military and civilian service. In its military guises, the Alouette has been utilized in the reconnaissance and liaison roles and has been further evolved to exploit its limited offensive capabilities to an extent. The helicopter's inherently simple design and operation have allowed it to be a starting point for helicopter pilot training, basic passenger transport, agricultural spraying or air-rescue service.

A prototype form first flew on March 12th, 1955 and original forms were powered by the Salmson 9 series piston engine. Later, development turned to a turbine powerplant. Production was undertaken as the Sud-Est SE 3130 Alouette II with deliveries to the French Army beginning in 1957 while the helicopter went on to set various altitude records along the way - proving itself a capable high-altitude performer. The Alouette II also became the first production helicopter to implement large-scale use of a gasoline-fueled turbine engine and the first to successfully make use of anti-tank missiles. The initial production form was then followed by the more powerful Astazou-powered version first flying on January 31st, 1961.

Original design, development and production was handled by the French concern of Sud-Est ("SE")which eventually merged in 1957 with Sud Ouest to become Sud-Aviation ("SA") resulting in the noted redesignation of some Alouette II production models from "SE" to "SA". In 1970, Sud Aviation merged with Nord Aviation to become Aerospatiale and, finally, in 2000, Aerospatiale merged under the EADS banner. Production of the Alouette II series eventually spanned from 1956 into 1975 to which over 1,500 examples were manufactured and subsequently delivered to a variety of global customers. The type still sees widespread service today under the Aerospatiale label.

Design of the Alouette II is rather conventional despite its fragile-looking exterior. All told, the Alouette design is a robust - though simple - end product that can take on various duties as needed. The cockpit is set to the extreme front end of the short fuselage and is covered over in rounded windscreens offering excellent visibility. Basic seating is a pilot and up to three or four passengers. Entry is via two side hinged automobile-style doors. The fuselage structure houses the major internal working components of the helicopter including its powerplant, gearbox and fuel stores. The empennage is nothing more than a network of struts used to deliver power (via a shaft) to the tail rotor and two smallish horizontal planes are identified. A small, looped frame wire protects the tail rotor from hitting the ground. The helicopter is powered by a single Turbomeca Artouste IIC6 series turboshaft engine of 530 horsepower though downrated to 460 horsepower. The engine is situated high atop the design and to the rear, exhausting through a cylindrical covering. The powerplant allows for a top speed of 115 miles per hour with a cruise speed of 106 miles per hour and a range of 350 miles. The service ceiling is listed at 7,500 feet though this has been pushed regularly countless times. Rate of climb is 820 feet per second. Rotor diameter is 33.5 feet. The main rotor sports three blades while the tail rotor fits two. The undercarriage of the aircraft is of a conventional paired skid arrangement connected to the fuselage base at two points and backed by a pair of wheels at the rear.

While typically unarmed in its many roles, Alouette II platforms have been seen fitted with anti-tank wire-guided missile launchers as well as torpedoes. This broadens the usefulness of the Alouette II family in a military sense though its ordnance-carrying capabilities are inherently limited by the helicopter's light design nature. However, the Alouette II's overall small stature and rather low-profile work for its battlefield survivability in making it a smaller target to ground-based anti-aircraft threats.

Since its inception, the Alouette II has existed in only a few notable variants including the initial SE 3130 Alouette II which was redesignated to "SA 313B Alouette II" in 1967. The SA 315B "Lama" was developed specifically for the Indian Army though completed with Alouette III-type components including engines (Artouste IIIB) and main rotor. First flight of the type was on March 17th, 1969 and some 407 of the model were produced into 1989. The HAL "Lancer" appeared with anti-armor rocket pods and heavy machine guns in 1988 developed specifically for counter-insurgency operations. The SE 3180 Alouette II became the "SA 318C Alouette II" while the "Astazou" mark fitted the Turbomeca Astazou IIA series shaft turbine of 360 shaft horsepower and an Alouette III series gearbox. The Astazou engine was actually derated from 530shp to promote improved speeds and maximum take-off weights.

All told, the Alouette II series helicopters have seen operations the world over. Operators of note have included Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, India, Israel, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, South Korea, South Africa, South Vietnam, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Some operators have replaced the aging helicopter line as needed while others still swear by the types qualities and capabilities with no need to upgrade. Indian Alouette IIs have been produced locally through HAL as the "Cheetah", these being based on the SA 315B Lamas design. Similarly, production licenses were granted for local manufacture within the United States, Brazil and Sweden (as the "HKP 2 Alouette II").

The Alouette II was eventually superseded at Sud Aviation by the arrival of the larger Alouette III series appearing in 1960. Over 2,000 of that type were eventually built with production spanning from 1961 to 1985.


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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (115mph).

    Graph average of 90 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Aerospatiale SA313 Alouette II's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
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.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.