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SE.3160 Alouette III
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A-301 Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III c/n 1301 - RNethAF 300 squadron - heliport Emmen in Holland - 31 March 2014 helicopters in Emmen

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 Su-Est 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 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 Aérospatiale 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 August 1965, the Sud-Est SE.3160 Alouette III c/n 1301 entered service with the 298 squadron of the Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GpLV), in fact the Army operating within the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In 1996, Alouette III A-301 was withdrawn from use and stored at Woensdrecht. In 1998, the helicopter returned in service with 300 sqdn. In 2004, the SE.3160 Alouette III was modified by RUAG in Alpnach, Switzerland, to the more powerful SA.316B; received a blue colour scheme and returned in service on 24 August 2004. The SA.316B A-301 was mainly used for VIP-transport and the Royal Flights and was until 2008 operated by the Alouette Flight at Soesterberg. On 27 August 2008, the remaining four Alouettes III moved to Gilze Rijen Air Base. At Gilze Rijen they were operated by 300sqdn, part of the Defense Helicopter Command. On 24 December 2015, Alouette III A-301 made her last flight at Gilze Rijen Air Base and was withdrawn from use by the Defense Helicopter Command. In February 2019, Alouette III A-301 was transported to Barneveld to become the eyecatcher of the Alouette Museum Barneveld.
On 31 March 2014, the Royal Flight SA.316B Alouette III A-301 was seen at the Heli Holland heliport near Emmen.

page last updated: 22-02-2021
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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