The Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-size utility helicopter marketed for both civil and military use. Originally designed and built by Aérospatiale, it is an enlarged and re-engined version of the original Aérospatiale Puma. The Super Puma first flew on 13 September 1978.
Design and development
The type has proved immensely successful, chosen by 37 military forces around the world, and some 1,000 civil operators. The Super Puma has proved especially well-suited to the North Sea oil industry, where it is used to ferry personnel and equipment to and from oil platforms. In civilian configuration it can seat approximately 18 passengers and two crew, though since the early 2000s most oil companies have banned use of the middle-rear seat reducing effective capacity to 17+2. This down-rating is due to difficulties encountered in evacuating through the rear-most windows in crashes at sea.
A wide variety of specialised military variants are in use, including dedicated Search and rescue and ASW versions. Since 1990, military Super Pumas have been marketed as the AS532 Cougar.
AS 331 - Prototype.
AS 332A - Commercial pre-production version.
AS 332B - Military version.
AS 332B1 - First military version.
AS 332C - Production civil version.
AS 332C1 - Search and rescue version, equipped with a search radar and six stretchers.
AS 332F - Military anti-submarine and anti-ship version.
AS 332F1 - Naval version.
AS 332L - Civil version with uprated engines, a lengthened fuselage and more cabin space, plus increased fuel.
AS 332L1 - Stretched civil version, with a long fuselage and an airline interior.
AS 332L2 Super Puma Mk 2 - Civil transport version, fitted with Spheriflex rotor head and EFIS.
AS 332M - Military version of the AS 332L.
AS 332M1 - Stretched military version.
NAS 332 - Licensed version built by IPTN, now Indonesian Aerospace (PT. Dirgantara Indonesia).
- Bristow Helicopters Ltd - operates a fleet for North West Shelf hydrocarbon personnel transfer operations
- 2 AS 332L1's in service with Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) and used for offshore operations to ferry workers to and from Caspian Sea oil rigs, and to transport passengers.
- Used by Petrobras Oil
- Federal German Police
- Three aircraft in use with the Finnish Border Guard.
- CHC Helicopter
- Norsk Helikopter
- Airlift AS
- CITIC Offshore Helicopter (COHC)
- CHC Helicopter
- Cougar Helicopters
- The Canadian Forces had the Super Puma as a candidate to replace their aging SH-3 Sea King, but opted for rival Sikorsky S-92
- Government Flying Service
- Coast Guard
- Coast Guard
- Tokyo Fire Department
- Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department
- Malaysia Helicopter Services - chartered by PETRONAS for its upstream operations offshore the states of Terengganu and Sarawak.
- Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority
- Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie
- British Airways Helicopters (1983-1986)
- Bristow Helicopters Ltd - operates a fleet of around 20 airframes for North Sea hydrocarbon personnel transfer operations
- Bond Offshore Helicopters
- Argentine Army (332B)
- Brazilian Air Force (532MK1)
- Brazilian Army (532UE)
- Brazilian Navy (532MK1)
- Chilean Army (332M)
- Chilean Navy (332F1)
- People's Liberation Army Air Force
- Ecuadorian Army (332M)
- Greek Air Force (332C1)
- Indonesian Air Force
- Indonesian Navy
- Kuwait Air Force (332M)
- Mexican Air Force - for VIP transport.
- Nepalese Army Air Wing
- Nigerian Air Force (332B)
- Royal Air Force of Oman
- Panamanian Air Force/National Air Service (332L)
- Saudi Navy (332F)
- Republic of Singapore Air Force
- 125 Squadron operates 22 AS332M Super Pumas
- Spanish Air Force (332B and 332M)
- Spanish Army (332B)
- Swiss Air Force (332M)
- Swedish Air Force
- Royal Thai Air Force
- Venezuelan Air Force (332B)
- Vietnam People's Air Force (332L)
Notable accidents and incidents
19 January 1995 - G-TIGK Operated by Bristow Helicopters ditched in the North Sea. No Fatalities. Aircraft lost.
8 September 1997 - LN-OPG, an AS332 L1 operated by Helikopter Service AS from Brønnøysund to the Norne oil field suffered a catastrophic main gearbox failure and crashed, killing all 12 aboard. Eurocopter accepted some but not all of the AAIB/N recommendations.
21 November 2006 - A Eurocopter AS332 L2 search and rescue helicopter ditched in the North Sea. The aircraft was equipped with two automatic inflatable life rafts, but both failed to inflate. The Dutch Safety Board afterwards issued a warning.
1 April 2009 - G-REDL a AS332L2 belonging to Bond Offshore Helicopters with 16 people on board, crashed into the North Sea 13 miles off Crimond on the Aberdeenshire coast. There were no survivors. The AAIB's initial report found that the crash was caused by a "catastrophic failure" in the aircraft's main rotor gearbox epicyclic module.
Specifications (AS332 L1)
Length: 16.29 m (blades folded) (53.44 ft)
Rotor diameter: ()
Height: 4.80 m (15.09 ft)
Empty weight: 4,500 kg (9,920 lb)
Useful load: 4,100 kg (9,040 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 8,600 kg (18,960 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft, 1,300 kW (1,742 shp) each
Never exceed speed: 278 km/h @ 8,600 kg gross (150 kt)
Maximum speed: 262 km/h @ 8,600 kg gross (141 kt)
Cruise speed: 252 km/h @ 8,600 kg gross (136 kt)
Range: 841 km @ 8,600 kg gross (454 nm)
Service ceiling: 6,100 m (20,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 8.2 m/s @ 70 kt & 8,600 kg gross (1,620 ft/m @ 70 kt)
Specifications (AS332 L2)
Length: 16.3 m (53 ft 5 in)
Rotor diameter: 15.6 m (51 ft 2 in)
Height: 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in)
Disc area: 191 m² (2,056 ft²)
Empty weight: 4,460 kg (9,812 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 9,300 kg (18,940 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Turbomeca Makila 1A2 turboshaft, 1,357 kW (1,819 shp) each
Maximum speed: 278 km/h (150 kts)
Cruise speed: 262 km/h (141 kts)
Range: 831 km (519 mi)
Service ceiling: 7,200 m (23,622 ft)
Rate of climb: 8.2 m/s (1,614 ft/min)