Aerospatiale Alouette III

  • CountryFrance
  • TypeLight utility helicopter
  • PowerplantsSA-316B - One 425kW (570shp) Turboméca Artouste IIIB turboshaft driving a three blade main rotor and three blade tail rotor. SA-319B - One 450kW (600shp) derated Turboméca Astazou XIV turboshaft.
  • PerformanceSA-316B - Max speed 210km/h (113kt), max cruising speed 185km/h (100kt). Max initial rate of climb 885ft/min. Hovering ceiling in ground effect 7380ft/min. Range with max fuel 480km (260nm). SA-319B - Max cruising speed 197km/h (106kt). Initial rate of climb 885ft/min. Hovering ceiling in ground effect 10,170ft, out of ground effect 5575ft. Range with six passengers 605km (327nm).
  • WeightsSA-316B - Empty 1122kg (2474lb), max takeoff 2200kg (4850lb). SA-319B - Empty 1140kg (2513lb), max takeoff 2250kg (4960lb).
  • DimentionsSA-316B/319B - Main rotor diameter 11.02m (36ft 2in), length overall 12.54m (42ft 2in), fuselage length 10.03m (32ft 11in), height 3.00m (9ft 10in). Main rotor disc area 95.4m2 (1026.7sq ft)
  • CapacityTypical seating for seven, with two passengers and pilot on front bench seat and four on rear bench seat. In aerial ambulance configuration accommodates pilot, two medical attendants and two stretcher patients.
  • ProductionApproximately 1500 Alouette IIIs have been built in France, plus production in India (300+), Romania (200) and Switzerland (60), most for military customers, but some are in civil use.

The Alouette III series was an improvement over the Alouette II and for sometime was the most bestselling variant of Aerospatiale company and built a record in numerical sales. However, it lost out to the Ecureuil after the 80’s.

Alouette III can be traced back to the Sud-Est SE-3120 Alouette piston powered prototypes on which the Alouette II was also modelled. The first prototype flew on July 31 1951. The maximum variants sold of the Alouette series, the III flew as the SE-3160 on February 28 1959.

Alouette III incorporates a larger design over the Alouette II and can seat seven passengers and the initial variant was powered by the Turboméca Artouste turboshaft. It was produced until 1969 and later replaced by an improved SA-316B with strengthened transmission and a greater max takeoff weight, but the same Artouste III turboshaft.

Further design improvements paved way for the SA-319 Alouette III Astazou which is powered by a 450kW (600shp) Turboméca Astazou XIV turboshaft. It had improved hot and high performance courtesy the enhanced and powerful economically efficient Astazou engine. SA-319 was produced as the SA-319B.

SA-319B and SA-316B were produced simultaneously for two decades in the 70’s and 80’s. Hindustan (HAL) of India is continuing with production of the Alouette III renamed as the Chetak (first as SE-3160, later as SA-316B) and is intended for use of armed forces primarily but is also used by the government and civil customers. In Romnia, ICA of Brasov produced SA-316Bs as IAR-316Bs after acquiring license, and 60 SE-3160 were built in Switzerland by F+W Emmen. Other SE-3160 were assembled by Fokker and Lichtwerk in the Netherlands.

The Alouette III has been employed in a number of utility roles, and many armed military versions have been produced.

Pictures of Aerospatiale Alouette III