Aerospatiale SA-330 Puma
Puma which was known as the Sud initially is the highly successful medium lift helicopter variant designed by Aerospatiale. Puma was produced mainly for military use but was also used commercially.
Puma was produced to cater to the requirements of the French armed forces that needed a medium lift helicopter with all weather conditions operability. The first of the twin prototypes of the Sud SA had its maiden flight on April 15 1965 and the first mass manufactured aircraft flew on September 1968. Sud was incorporated into Aerospatiale in January 1970. The production of Puma received a boost by participation of Westland which was boosted by the Britain's Royal Air Force orders for the aircraft which used it as a tactical transport helicopter.
The SA-330B, C, E and H variants of the Puma were all intended for military use. Civil variants included the Turmo IIIC powered SA-330F passenger and SA-330G freight versions (first helicopters to be certificated for single pilot IFR operations in A and B conditions).
It was the SA-330J which led the mantle of the civil Puma aircraft. It has composite main rotors and an increased maximum takeoff weight. The SA-330J equipped with weather radar became the first helicopter in April 1978 to earn a certificate for all weather operations including flight in icing conditions.
SA-330s were assembled in small numbers by IPTN of Indonesia before it concentrated on production of the Super Puma. Aerospatiale stopped manufacture of Puma in 1987 and the sole production facility for Puma became IAR (originally ICA) of Romania.
The AS-332 Super Puma is a stretched development, and is described separately under Eurocopter.
Pictures of Aerospatiale SA-330 Puma