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A-465 Aérospatiale SE.3160 Alouette III c/n 1465 - RNethAF 300Sqdn "Grasshoppers" - NMM Soesterberg in Holland - 28 August 2018 NMM at Soesterberg

The Aérospatiale SE-3160 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 SE.3160 Alouette III started in the late 50s under Sud-Aviation banner. The first of two prototypes, Sud-Est 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.

Alouette III A-465 was owned by the Royal Netherlands Army, but operated by the RNethAF. Alouette III c/n 1465 was assembled by Lichtwerk Hoogeveen and entered service as A-465 with 298 or 299 squadron of Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GpLV) at Deelen AFB on 2 February 1968. Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GpLV) was in fact the Army operating within the Royal Netherlands Air Force. On 11 June 1970, Alouette III A-465 was damaged in a landing incident at Deelen AFB. By an overcorrection during the landing, the A-465 turned around and rolled on the right side whereby the rotorblades hit the concret of the runway. In 1979, the aircraft was transferred to 300 sqdn. That year the A-465 was noted for the first time as one of the Alouette III used by 'The Grasshoppers". On 8 August 1995, the helicopter, along with the other helicopters of 'The Grasshoppers', came to the MLM (Militaire Luchtvaart Museum) at Kamp Zeist, close to the Soesterberg AFB, to give their last official demonstration. After the display the team leader handed over the A-465 to the MLM to be added to their collection. Over the years, the A-465 was on display inside the MLM building in the colours of the "Grasshoppers" demo team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force 300 squadron. On 1 July 2013, the MLM (Militaire Luchtvaart Museum) was closed and the collection, including the Alouette III A-465, went to the new build NMM (Nationaal Militair Museum) at the former Soesterberg AFB that opened on 11 December 2014. Only, the A-465 was no longer on display inside the NMM building, but went in the depot of the Museum. On 28 August 2018, Aérospatiale SE.3160 Alouette III A-465 seen temporarily outside the depot of the NMM.

page last updated: 31-08-2018
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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