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SE.3160 Alouette III
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SA.341/342 Gazelle
Eurocopter AS350 B
A-260 Aérospatiale SE.3160 Alouette III c/n 1260 - Royal Netherlands Air Force 302i squadron - Gilze-Rijen AFB in Holland - 12 September 2014 Gilze-Rijen AFB (EHGR)

The Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III is a single-engined utility helicopter that can accommodate up to 7 passengers. The Alouette III was derived from the Alouette II featuring a more powerful turboshaft and enlarged cabin. Development of the Sud-Est SE-3160 Alouette III started in the late 50s under Sud-Aviation banner. The first of two prototypes, Sud-Aviation SE-3160 c/n 001 F-ZWVQ powered by one 550 hp Turboméca Artouste IIIB turboshaft, was flown on 28 February 1959. Four pre-production machines followed the prototypes, and the first production helicopter of this type, SE-3160 c/n 1001, was delivered as UB-6101 to Burmese Air Force on 25 July 1961. In the military role, the Alouette III was used either to transport six fully equipped troops or as an assault helicopter. Certification was achieved on 12 December 1961. The initial SE-3160 Alouette III remained in production until 1969, when it was replaced by the improved SA-316B Alouette III. The Alouette III was developed over the years and remained in production until 1985. Over 1450 helicopters of the different versions of the Alouette III were built, including production under licence in India, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Romania and Switzerland.

On 1 January 1970, Sud-Aviation was merged with a number of other French aerospace companies to form the SNIAS (Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale). From 1984, SNIAS operated under the name of Aérospatiale. The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aerospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group. As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

On 4 March 1965, the 1965-built Sud-Est SE.3160 Alouette III s/n 1260 entered service as A-260 with the 298 squadron of the Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GpLV), in fact the Army operating within the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In 1987, the Alouette III was transferred to the 300 squadron. In September 1995, the remaining Alouette IIIs in service with the 300 squadron were tranferred to the 302i squadron (302 interim Squadron), including Alouette III A-260. On 16 June 1998, the Aérospatiale SE.3160 Alouette III A-260 was withdrawn from use and stored at Soesterberg Air Force Base. On 12 September 2014, Aérospatiale SE.3160 Alouette III A-260 was seen at Gilze-Rijen on a crashcar used for road transport of the Alouette III by the O & M Squadron at Soesterberg. The tailboom of the helicopter is not the original the A-260: it is known that also parts of SE.3160 s/n 1253 were used for the helicopter showed on the crashcar at Gilze-Rijen.

page last updated: 15-09-2014
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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