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Aérospatiale Alouette II

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,


SA 313 / SA 318 Alouette II
An Aérospatiale SA 318 BW Alouette II of the German Army
Role Light helicopter
Manufacturer Sud Aviation/Aérospatiale
First flight 1955-03-12
Introduced 1957-05-02
Primary users France
Produced 1956-1975
Number built 1300+
Variants Aérospatiale Alouette III
Aérospatiale Lama

The Alouette II is a light helicopter originally manufactured by Sud Aviation and later Aérospatiale, both of France. The Alouette II was the first production helicopter to use a gas turbine instead of a conventional heavier piston engine.

It was mostly used for military purposes in observation, photography, air/sea rescue, liaison and training but it has also carried anti-tank missiles and homing torpedoes. As a civilian helicopter it was used for casualty evacuation (with two external stretcher panniers), crop-spraying and as a flying crane (with a 500 kg external sling load).

Operational history

Although Sud-Est's previous helicopter design, the SE 3120 Alouette, broke helicopter speed and distance records in July 1953, it was too complex an aircraft to market successfully. With the records falling, the French government started showing interest but with their financial backing the state gave an ultimatum that within 2 years a helicopter had to be in production otherwise all activities around rotary wings would cease. SNCASE came up with 7 turbo-engine helicopters designs: X.310A - X.310G. Earlier Joseph Szydlowski, the founder of Turboméca had successfully managed to develop the Artouste, a 260 hp (190 kW) single shaft turbine engine derived from his Orédon turbine. The X.310G design was chosen and together with the Artouste engine was fast tracked towards production as the SE 3130 Alouette II.

The SE 3130, first flew on March 12 1955 and within 3 months a pre-series Alouette II flown by Jean Boulet set a new helicopter altitude record of 8,209 m on June 6 then on June 13 pushed the record even further to 10,984 m.

The Alouette II made the news on July 3 1956 when it became the first helicopter to perform a mountain-rescue by evacuating a mountaineer who had suffered from cardiac arrest at over 4,000 m and again on January 3 1957 the Alouette II was called upon to rescue the crew of a crashed Sikorsky S-58 which was searching for missing mountaineers Jean Vincendon and François Henry on Mont Blanc.

The Alouette II gained its domestic certificate of airworthiness on 2 May 1957.

Production started initially to fulfil orders from the French armed forces and civilian customers. It made military history by being the first helicopter worldwide to be equipped with anti-tank missiles (the Nord SS.11s), and by the time production ended in 1975 with over 1500 Alouette II's had been built and in use in over 80 countries including 47 armed forces. It is also licence built in Brazil, Sweden, India and in the United States.

Alouette SE.3130 II, formerly V-54 of the Swiss Air Force, now on the UK civil register as G-BVSD. Built 1964.
Alouette SE.3130 II, formerly V-54 of the Swiss Air Force, now on the UK civil register as G-BVSD. Built 1964.

Indian Hindustan Aeronautics Limited license-built SA 315B Lamas, called Cheetahs in Indian service, regularly deployed at 7500 meters (24,600 ft) to forward observation outposts and air bases of the Indian Air Force in the Himalaya mountain ranges.


  • SE 3130 Alouette II - After 1967 called SA 313B Alouette II
  • SE 3131 Gouverneur - VIP version which led up to the Alouette III
  • SE 3140 Alouette II - Proposed version, it was going to be powered by a 298 kW (400hp) Turbomeca Turmo II engine. None were ever built.
  • HKP 2 Alouette II - Swedish licence version of the SE.3130
  • SE 3150 Alouette Astazou - It has a 550 shp (410 kW) Turboméca Astazou IIA shaft turbine (derated to 360 shp) and strengthened transmission system of the Alouette III
  • SE 3180 Alouette II - After 1967 called SA 318C Alouette II derived from the SE 3150
  • HAL Cheetah - Indian licence version of the SE.3180


 Central African Republic
 Côte d'Ivoire
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Dominican Republic
 El Salvador

French SE 313 Alouette II
French SE 313 Alouette II
(over 250 built under license as the HAL Cheetah)

Alouette II of the Portuguese Air Force
Alouette II of the Portuguese Air Force
 South Korea
 South Africa
 South Vietnam

British Army Air Corps Alouette.
British Army Air Corps Alouette.
 United Kingdom

Specifications (Alouette II)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Length: 9.70 m (31 ft 10 in)
  • Rotor diameter: 10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 2.75 m (9 ft 0 in)
  • Disc area: 81.7 m² (879.4 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 895 kg (1,975 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,600 kg (3,525 lb)
  • Powerplant:Turboméca Artouste IIC6 turboshaft, 410 kW (550 hp)


See also

Related development

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Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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