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SE.3160 Alouette III
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M-3 Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III c/n 1817 - Belgian Marine - Gilze-Rijen Air Base 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.

In 1971, the Belgian Defense acquired three Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III helicopters for the Force Navale-Zeemacht for use as supply aircraft for ships at sea. The three Alouette III helicopters, M-1 / OT-ZPA (s/n 1812); M-2 / OT-ZPB (s/n 1816) and M-3 /OT-ZPC (s/n 1817) joined the aviation unit of the Force Navale Belge - Belgische Zeemacht. This small aviation unit is in fact a joint Air Force / Navy Helicopter squadron, based at Koksijde and operating a mixed helicopter fleet. The 1971-built Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III c/n 1817 was testflown in Marignane as F-ZWBE. On 27 April 1971, this Alouette III entered service as M-3 with Force Navale Belge - Belgische Zeemacht, the Belgian Naval Force. Alouette III M-3 was operated by the Belgian Navy Flight, part of the Belgian Air Force Heli Flight and used callsign "OT-ZPC". In 1976, the Belgian Navy Flight was integrated in the Belgian Air Force 40th Escadrille/Smaldeel. Since 2004, the three Alouette III helicopters M-1; M-2 and M-3 are completely integrated within N° 40 Squadron of the Belgian Air Component. To operate a drug enforcement mission from a Dutch Navy frigate in the Caribbean archipelago, the SA.316B Alouette III M-3 was modified to operate on drug enforcement missions from a Dutch Navy frigate in the Caribbean. On 12 September 2014, the Belgian Marine' Airbus Helicopters SA.316B Alouette III M-3 was seen at Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Netherlands.

page last updated: 14-09-2014
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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