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IAR 316 - Romania, 1971

Detailing the development and operational history of the IAR 316 Pilot Trainer / Light Utility Helicopter.

 Entry last updated on 8/29/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

The Romanian IAR 316 is nothing more than a license-production copy of the French Aerospatiale SA 319B Alouette III helictoper.

The Romanian IAR 316 Light Utility Helicopter was a locally-built (under license) form of the popular French-made Aerospatiale Alouette III series (SA 316B model). The Alouette III first flew in prototype form on February 28th, 1959 and saw service introduction in 1960, still maintaining an active presence in the skies today (2016). Over 2,000 of the type were eventually produced for a variety of global operators. The Romanian form itself was introduced in 1971 and saw manufacture from 1971 until 1987 with 250 units delivered. These have served in both utility and training roles for their time in the air.

IAR is the Industria Aeronautica Romana aerospace manufacturer of Ghimbav.

Because of its origins in the French design, little was changed in the local Romanian model. As Romania fell under the communist reach during the Cold War decades, the helicopter was modified to support Eastern Bloc weapons and equipment though, in both form and function, there was little separating the two designs - the single engine fit powered a three-bladed main rotor with three-bladed tail rotor, the nose section was wholly glazed over for excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit, and the tricycle undercarriage was fixed in place during flight.

The standard IAR 316 model was finalized with a Turbomeca "Artouste" IIIB series turboshaft engine of 570 horsepower. Maximum speed reached 130 miles per hour with a range out to 335 miles and a service ceiling up to 10,500 feet.

While the original IAR 316 model could be outfitted with a light weapons set, IAR engineers took to refining the product for the attack helicopter role in the IAR 317 "Airfox" offering. For this model the cockpit was completed reworked to include a stepped pilot/gunner arrangement while wing stubs were added to the fuselage sides for management of Anti-Tank (AT) missiles, rocket pods and machine guns. Beyond that, the major structure and components were retained from the original IAR 316. Despite this work, the IAR 317 failed to net any market interest and only a sole prototype was completed.

Beyond operational service with the Romanian Air Force, the IAR 316 was adopted by the Angolan Air Force.

IAR 316 Specifications

Service Year: 1971
Type: Pilot Trainer / Light Utility Helicopter
National Origin: Romania
Manufacturer(s): Industria Aeronautica Romana (IAR) - Romania
Total Production: 250

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 2
Overall Length: 42.06 feet (12.82 meters)
Overall Width: 36.15 feet (11.02 meters)
Overall Height: 9.74 feet (2.97 meters)

Weight (Empty): 2,315 lb (1,050 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 4,850 lb (2,200 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 1 x Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft engine developing 570 horsepower to a three-blade main rotor and a three-blade tail rotor.

Maximum Speed: 113 knots (130 mph; 210 kph)
Maximum Range: 292 nautical miles (336 miles; 540 km)
Service Ceiling: 10,499 feet (3,200 meters; 1.99 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 850 feet-per-minute (259 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 57mm rocket pods
2 x 7.62mm machine gun pods
2 x Anti-Tank Missile Launchers

Global Operators (Customers, Users)

Angola; Romania

Model Variants

IAR 316 - Base Series Designation; license-production copy; based on the French Aerospatiale SA 319B Alouette III series light helicopters.
IAR 317 "Airfox" - Proposed dedicated attack helicopter variant; Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft engine; stepped two-seat cockpit; armored cockpit; stub wings; single prototype example constructed; never entered production.