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Aerospatiale Alouette III

Light Multirole Helicopter

France | 1960

"Despite its Cold War-era roots, the Aerospatiale Alouette III remains a multi-purpose light helicopter design."

Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Edited: 07/29/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Aerospatiale Alouette III, is French for Skylark having a single-engine and to be used as a light utility helicopter and was developed by Sud Aviation and manufactured by Aerospatiale of France. The first version of the Alouette III, the SE 3160 prototype flew in 1959. Production of the SA 316A (SE 3160) began in 1960 and remained in production until 1968. It was replaced by the SA 316BThe Alouette III is the successor to the Alouette II, with a larger engine and having more seating.

The Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft engine was the original variant produced, the Alouette III is recognized for its mountain rescue and adaptability for land and ship based applications. The Argentine Navy purchased 14 helicopters, 3 of the original design SE3160, 7 with the more powerful engine and strength upgrades in the SA316B and 4 machines of the SA319B with more power than the other two versions.

The Alouette III entered in service with the French Armed forces in 1960. Many were used by the Foreign Legion from 1964-1967. Three machines were delivered from France for local assembly in Australia, and were used by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Pakistan purchased 35 machines and used them in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Two planes of the PAF were shot down in the war, and the Portuguese Colonial War, during 60's and 70's used large numbers of helos in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea, where it proved its qualities for use in dusty and hot flying conditions. One SA316B purchased by Argentina was on board the ARA General Belgrano when she was sunk by the HMS Conqueror S48 during the Falklands War with Great Britain in 1982.

The SA 316B and the SA 319B both remained in series production up to the early 1980s, when the main production line in France was closed down. However, HAL of India continues to licence-build Alouette IIIs as the Chetak. In 2004, most of the Alouette III was retired from the French Air Force after 32 years of successful service. It will be replaced by the Eurocopter EC 355 Ecureuil 2. In the same year, the Swiss Armed Forces announced the retirement of the Alouette III, from the front line by 2006, and entirely by 2010. Venezuelan Air forces retired their Alouette IIIs in the late 90s. Currently many units are still in use in Africa with parts available from India.

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August 2018 - The Austrian government has approved plans for the Austrian Air Force to replace its aging fleet of Alouette III light utility helicopters. The fleet is scheduled for retirement before the end of 2022.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Aerospatiale SA 316 Alouette III Light Multirole Helicopter.
1 x Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft engine developing 570 horsepower while driving the main three-blade rotor and a three-blade tail system.
130 mph
210 kph | 113 kts
Max Speed
7,379 ft
2,249 m | 1 miles
Service Ceiling
298 miles
480 km | 259 nm
Operational Range
885 ft/min
270 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Aerospatiale SA 316 Alouette III Light Multirole Helicopter.
42.1 ft
12.84 m
O/A Length
36.2 ft
(11.02 m)
O/A Width
9.8 ft
(3.00 m)
O/A Height
2,474 lb
(1,122 kg)
Empty Weight
4,850 lb
(2,200 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Aerospatiale Alouette III Light Multirole Helicopter .
Mission specific armament can include any of the following:

1 x 7.62mm machine gun (mounted on tripod in right-side doorway).
1 x 20mm cannon fixed to left-side of fuselage.
2 or 4 x AS.11 anti-tank missiles.
2 x Mk.44 Torpedoes.
Notable series variants as part of the Aerospatiale Alouette III family line.
SE 3160 Alouette III - First Designation Model
SA 316A Alouette III - Initial Production Designation; Features Turbomeca powerplant.
SA 316B Alouette III - Improved transmission, increased takeoff weight.
SA 319 Alouette III Atazou - Features Turbomeca Astazou turboshaft engine generating 600shp.
IAR 316 - Locally-produced (under license) Romanian Air Force model based on the SA 316B.
IAR-317 "Airfox" - Romanian-produced attack helicopter prototype based on Alouette III.
"Chetak" - Indian production version of the SA 316B model.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Aerospatiale Alouette III. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2,100 Units

Contractor(s): Aerospatiale - France
National flag of Albania National flag of Angola National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Austria National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Cameroon National flag of Chad National flag of Chile National flag of China National flag of Denmark National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Ecuador National flag of Ethiopia National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of Greece National flag of Guinea National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Ireland National flag of Israel National flag of Jordan National flag of Lebanon National flag of Libya National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of Mozambique National flag of the Netherlands National flag of Nicaragua National flag of Pakistan National flag of Peru National flag of Portugal National flag of Romania National flag of Rwanda National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of Singapore National flag of South Africa National flag of South Korea National flag of Spain National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Switzerland National flag of Tunisia National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of the United States National flag of Vietnam National flag of Venezuela National flag of Yugoslavia National flag of Zaire National flag of Zambia National flag of Zimbabwe

[ Albania; Angola; Argentina; Australia; Austria; Bangladesh; Belgium; Biafra; Bolivia; Burkina Faso; Burma; Burundi; Cameroon; Chad; Chile; Republic of the Congo; Ivory Coast; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Equatorial New Guinea; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Ghana; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Jordan; Laos; Lebanon; Libya; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Malta; Mexico; Morocco; Mozambique; Nepal; Netherlands; Nicaragua; Pakistan; China; Peru; Portugal; Rhodesia; Romania; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; South Africa; South Korea; South Vietnam; Spain; Sri Lanka; Suriname; Swaziland; Switzerland; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; Upper Volta; Venezuela; Yugoslavia; Zaire; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Chile; United States ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (130mph).

Graph Average of 113 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Aerospatiale Alouette III
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the Aerospatiale Alouette III
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the Aerospatiale Alouette III
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the Aerospatiale Alouette III
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the Aerospatiale Alouette III
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Aerospatiale Alouette III Light Multirole Helicopter.
Going Further...
The Aerospatiale Alouette III Light Multirole Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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