- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Aérospatiale Alouette II

The Aérospatiale 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.

The Alouette II 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).

Design and development

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 12 March 1955 and within 3 months on 6 June a pre-series Alouette II flown by Jean Boulet set a new helicopter altitude record of 8,209 m (26,926 ft). On 13 June 1958 one, again flown by Boulet, re-took the record, reaching a height of 10,984 m (36,027 ft).

Operational history

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.

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 - Refined executive version with enclosed tailboom, which was abandoned in favour of the Alouette III.
  • SE 3140 Alouette II - Proposed version, it was going to be powered by a 298 kW (400 hp) Turbomeca Turmo II engine. None were ever built.
  • HKP 2 Alouette II - Swedish licence version of the SE.3130
  • SA 318C Alouette II 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
  • SA 318C Alouette II (was SE 3180 Alouette II) - After 1967 called derived from the SE 3150
  • SA 315B Lama - designed to meet an Indian armed forces requirement for operation in "hot and high" conditions; combined the Artouste powerplant and rotor system of the Alouette III with a reinforced Alouette II airframe


  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Austria
    Austrian Air Force (16)
  • Belgium
    Belgian Air Component
    Belgian Army (39) (Former operator)
    Federal Police (Belgium)
  • Belgian Congo
    Force Publique
  • Benin
    Military of Benin
  • Biafra
    few helicopters were used by the Biafran Air Force
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
    Cameroon Air Force operates 1.
  • Central African Republic
  • Chile
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Finland
    Finnish Air Force (2) phased out
  • France
    French Army (363)
  • Germany
    German Army (267), phased out
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • India
    (over 250 built under licence as the HAL Cheetah)
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
    Israeli Air Force (4)
  • Katanga
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
    Air Battalion, 11th Brigade Nepal Army)
  • Netherlands
    Netherlands Air Force (8)
  • Pakistan
    Pakistan Army (40)
    Pakistan Navy - Pakistan Naval Air Arm
  • Peru
  • Portugal
    Portuguese Air Force (7)
  • Rhodesia
    Rhodesian Air Force - Six helicopters on loan from the South African Air Force, in service from 1974 to 1980.
  • Romania
  • Senegal
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
    South African Air Force (7)
  • South Vietnam
    Vietnam Air Force (2)
  • Sweden
    Swedish Air Force (25)
  • Switzerland
    Swiss Air Force (30)
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
    Army Air Corps (17)

Specifications (Alouette II)

General characteristics
Crew: 1
Capacity: 4 passengers
Length: 9.66 m (31 ft 9 in)
Rotor diameter: 10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)
Height: 2.75 m (9 ft 0 in)
Disc area: 81.7 m² (881.4 ft²)
Empty weight: 895 kg (1,973 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 1,600 kg (3,527 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Turboméca Artouste IIC6 turboshaft, 395 kW (530 hp) derated to 269 kW (460 hp)

Maximum speed: 185 km/h (100 knots, 115 mph) at sea level
Cruise speed: 170 km/h (92 knots, 106 mph)
Range: 565 km (305 nmi, 350 mi)
Endurance: 4.1 hours
Service ceiling: 2,300 m (7,545 ft)
Rate of climb: 4.2 m/s (820 ft/min)

Last updated December 03, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aérospatiale Alouette II".
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