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Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma

AS332 Super Puma
An AS332 L2 from Hong Kong Government Flying Service lands on USS Mobile Bay
Role Medium Utility Helicopter
National origin France
Manufacturer Aérospatiale
Airbus Helicopters
First flight 13 September 1978
Status Active
Primary user CHC Helicopter
Produced 1978–present
Unit cost
US$15.5 million, €12.5 million (2006)
Developed from Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma
Variants Eurocopter AS532 Cougar
Developed into Eurocopter EC225
Eurocopter EC725

The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS332 Super Puma is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-size utility helicopter developed and marketed by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). It is an enlarged and re-engined version of the original Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma. First flying in 1978, the Super Puma succeeded the SA 330 Puma as the main production model of the type in 1980; since 1990, Super Pumas in military service have been marketed under the AS532 Cougar designation. In civilian service, a next generation successor to the AS 332 was introduced in 2004, the further-enlarged Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma.


  • Development 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Production and improvements 1.2
  • Operational history 2
    • Presidential transport 2.1
    • France 2.2
    • Afghanistan 2.3
  • Variants 3
  • Operators 4
    • Civilian 4.1
    • Military 4.2
  • Notable accidents and incidents 5
  • Specifications (AS332 L1) 6
  • Specifications (AS332 L2) 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



In 1974, Aérospatiale commenced development of a new medium transport helicopter based on its SA 330 Puma, announcing the project at the 1975 Paris Air Show. While the new design was of similar layout to the AS 330, it was powered by two of the new and more powerful Turbomeca Makila turboshaft engines driving a four-bladed composite main rotor, and was designed to withstand damage better, with a more robust fuselage structure, a new crashworthy undercarriage and the ability to withstand battle damage to the rotor blades and other key mechanical systems.[1] It was fitted with a ventral fin under the tail, a more streamlined nose compared with the SA 330,[2] while from the start was planned to be available with two fuselage lengths, with a short fuselage version offering similar capacity to the SA 330, which gives better performance in "hot and high" conditions and a stretched version allowing more passengers to be carried when weight is less critical.[3]

A pre-production prototype, the SA 331, modified from a SA 330 airframe with Makila engines and a new gearbox, flew on 5 September 1977.[4] The first prototype of the full Super Puma made its maiden flight on 13 September 1978, being followed by a further five prototypes.[5] Flight testing revealed that, in comparison with the SA 330 Puma, the AS 330 Super Puma had a higher cruise speed and range, in part due to the Makila engine having a greater power output and a 17% reduction in fuel consumption per mile; the Super Puma also demonstrated far superior flight stabilisation tendencies and was less reliant on automated corrective systems.[6] The development of the military and civil variants was carried out in parallel, including the certification process.[7] The first civil model was delivered in 1981.[8]

Production and improvements

In 1980, the AS 332 Super Puma had replaced the older SA 330 Puma as Aerospatiale's primary utility helicopter.[9] The AS 332 Super Puma proved to be highly popular; between July 1981 and April 1987, there was an average production rate of three helicopters per month being built for customers, both military and civil.[10] IPTN, an Indonesian aerospace company, also manufactured both the SA 330 and AS 332 under license from Aerospatiale for domestic customers;[11] during the 1990s Iran also procured a number of Indonesian-built Super Pumas.[12]

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. One of the biggest civil operators of the type is Bristow Helicopters, who have a fleet of at least 30 Super Pumas. By 2005, various models of Super Puma have been operated by 38 different nations for a wide variety of purposes;[11] in total, 565 Super Pumas (including military-orientated Cougars) had been delivered or were on order at this point as well.[13]

The success of the AS 332 Super Puma led to the pursuit of extended development programs to produce further advanced models; features included lengthened rotor blades, more powerful engines and gearboxes, increases in takeoff weight, and modernised avionics.[10] A wide variety of specialised Super Puma variants followed the basic transport model into use, including dedicated Search and rescue (SAR) and Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) versions. Military Super Pumas have been marketed as the AS532 Cougar since 1990. As a fallback option to the NHIndustries NH90, a Mark III Super Puma was also considered for development.[10]

Operational history

Presidential transport

VH-34 is the Brazilian Air Force designation of the helicopter used to transport the President of Brazil. Two modified Super Pumas were used as the main presidential helicopters, having been configured to carry up to fifteen passengers and three crew members. Nowaday this model was replaced by EC-725 (VH-36)[14]

Various French presidents, such as François Mitterrand, have used military Super Pumas as an official transport during diplomatic missions.[15]


During the 1980s, the French Army were interested in developing a specialised airborne battlefield surveillance radar, using the Super Puma Mk II as the host aircraft. The first prototype Orchidée was assembled at Aerospatiale's Marignane factory and began testing in late 1988; the French Army intended to procure 20 aircraft to equip two squadrons. Orchidée was described as having a pulse-Doppler radar mounted on the fuselage's underside, being capable of 360-degree scanning to detect low flying helicopters and ground vehicles at ranges of up to 150 km; gathered data was to be relayed in real time to mobile ground stations via a single-channel data link for processing and analysis before being transmitted to battlefield commanders. The system was said to be capable of all-weather operation, and would feature protection against counteracting hostile electronic countermeasures.[16] However, development of the system was aborted in mid-1990 as part of the post-Cold War defence spending reductions.[17]

In June 1994, France decided to intervene in the ongoing Rwandan Genocide and sent a military task force to neighboring Zaire; Super Pumas provided the bulk of the task force's rotary lift capability, transporting French troops and equipment during their advance into Rwanda.[18]


Various nations deployed Super Pumas to the Afghan theatre during the War in Afghanistan.[19][20]


Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma (Defense Minister of France) at the Paris Air Show 2007
AS332B Demonstrator on display at the Paris Air Show 1981
A German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) Super Puma
A Swedish AS332 during SAR operations, 2004
  • SA 331 – Initial prototype, based on SA 330 airframe, first flew on 5 September 1977.[5]
  • AS 332A – Commercial pre-production version.
  • AS 332B – Military version.
  • AS 332B1 – First military version.
  • AS 332C – Production civil version.[8]
  • AS 332C1 – Search and rescue version, equipped with a search radar and six stretchers.[8]
  • AS 332F – Military anti-submarine and anti-ship version.
  • AS 332F1 – Naval version.
  • AS 332L – Civil version with more powerful engines, a lengthened fuselage, a larger cabin space and a larger fuel tank.[8]
  • AS 332L1 – Stretched civil version, with a long fuselage and an airline interior.[8]
  • AS 332L2 Super Puma Mk 2 – Civil transport version, fitted with Spheriflex rotor head and EFIS.[8]
  • 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).
  • VH-34 – Brazilian Air Force designation for the two VIP configured Super Pumas, serial numbers 8737 and 8740



 Hong Kong
 United Kingdom
 United States


AS 332 of the Brazilian Navy
AS 332 of the Brazilian Air Force
Swiss Air Force Airbus Helicopters Super Puma arrives for the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ministry of Defense[40]


 Saudi Arabia
 South Korea
 United Arab Emirates

Notable accidents and incidents

  • 14 March 1992 – G-TIGH lost control and crashed into the North Sea near East Shetland Basin. 11 of the 17 passengers and crew died.[46]
  • 19 January 1995 – G-TIGK Operated by Bristow Helicopters ditched in the North Sea. There were no fatalities; the aircraft, however, was lost.
  • 18 March 1996 – LN-OMC, an AS332 operated by Airlift from Svalbard Airport crashed at Wijdefjorden There were no fatalities
  • 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.[47] Eurocopter accepted some but not all of the AAIB/N recommendations.[48]
  • 11 August 2000 – A Swedish armed forces HKP-10 Super Puma crashed into a cliffside in the Kebnekaise mountains during an alpine rescue mission. All three crewmen aboard died, and the aircraft was totally destroyed. Since only abut 70% of the aircraft was recovered, the reason was unable to be determined.
  • 18 November 2003 – A Swedish armed forces HKP-10 Super Puma crashed during night time sea rescue exercises. Six out of the seven crew on board died. SSRS Märta Collin, the boat conducting the exercise, rescued the lone survivor from the sea.
  • 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.[49]
  • 1 April 2009 – A Bond Offshore Helicopters AS332L2 with 16 people on board crashed into the North Sea 13 miles (21 km) off Crimond on the Aberdeenshire coast; there were no survivors.[50] The AAIB's initial report found that the crash was caused by a "catastrophic failure" in the aircraft's main rotor gearbox epicyclic module.[51]
  • 11 November 2011 – XC-UHP AS332-L Super Puma of Mexico's General Coordination of the Presidential Air Transport Unit crashed in the Amecameca region south of Mexico City. Mexico's Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora died in this accident along with seven other crew and passengers.[52]
  • 28 March 2012 – A Venezuelan Air Force Super Puma crashed during anti-drug operations in the Venezuelan state of Apure, killing all seven crew members on board.[53]
  • 21 March 2013 – During a readiness exercise, a German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) Eurocopter EC155 collided with a Super Puma on the ground while landing in whiteout conditions in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany, destroying both aircraft, killing one of the pilots and injuring numerous bystanders. The whiteout was caused by snow on the ground being stirred up by the helicopter downdraft.[54]
  • 23 August 2013 – A Super Puma L2 helicopter G-WNSB experienced a (so far unexplained) loss of air speed on a low approach and ditched into the North Sea two miles west of Sumburgh Airport at about 18:20 BST. The aircraft experienced a hard impact and overturned shortly after hitting the water. However, its armed flotation system deployed and the vehicle stayed afloat. Four passengers were killed, while both crew and a further 12 passengers were rescued, most with injuries. To date, the AAIB stated it was not caused by mechanical failure. A court has ordered the CV/FDR be released to the UK CAA for analysis on behalf of the Crown Office.[55][56][57][58]
  • 19 March 2014 – During a night SAR exercise with a vessel of the Navy, a Spanish Air Force Super Puma of the 802 SAR Squadron crashed into the sea near Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. 4 of the 5 crew members died, including three pilots and one hoist operator. No distress call was received by the ATC or the vessel before the crash. Still under investigation, human error is the suspected cause of the accident. Helicopter was recovered from the sea one month after the disaster.[59]

Specifications (AS332 L1)

Orthographically projected diagram of the AS332 Super Puma Line Drawing

Data from Eurocopter profile,[60] Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide[8]

General characteristics


Specifications (AS332 L2)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993–94[61]

General characteristics
  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 24 passengers plus attendant
  • Length: 16.79 m (including tail rotor) (55 ft 0½ in)
  • Rotor diameter: 16.20 m (53 ft 1½ in -rotates clockwise)
  • Height: 4.97 m (16 ft 4 in)
  • Disc area: 206.12 m² (2,217 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 4,660 kg (10,274 lb)
  • Useful load: 4,490 kg (9,899 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 9,150 kg (20,172 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Makila 1A2 turboshaft, 1,376 kW (1,845 shp) each


See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Jackson 1984, pp. 7–10.
  2. ^ Lake 2002, p.82.
  3. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 11.
  4. ^ Jackson 1984, p.10.
  5. ^ a b Lake 2002, p. 85.
  6. ^ Lambert 1979, pp. 437, 439.
  7. ^ Lambert 1979, p. 437.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Endres and Gething 2005, p. 272.
  9. ^ McGowen 2005, p. 194.
  10. ^ a b c Sedbon, Gary. "Aerospatiale develops Super Puma II." Flight International, 18 April 1987. p. 12.
  11. ^ a b McGowen 2005, p. 195.
  12. ^ Hunter 2010, p. 138.
  13. ^ Endres and Gething 2005, p. 487.
  14. ^ "VH-34 Super Puma." Brazilian Air Force. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  15. ^ Ripley 2010, p. 11.
  16. ^ Sedbon, Gilbert. "France develops Battlefield Radar." Flight International, 18 June 1988. p. 17.
  17. ^ "French end development of Orchidee radar." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 133(13), 24 September 1990. p. 22.
  18. ^ Charbonneau 2008, pp. 140–141.
  19. ^ "Swedish Helicopter Wing prepares for operations in Afghanistan ." Shephard Media, 12 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Spanish helicopters attacked by Afghan insurgents during rescue mission." ABC News, 12 July 2008.
  21. ^ Eurocopter Press Release – Azerbaijan Airlines Orders 6 Helicopters From Eurocopter
  22. ^ "Azerbaijan Airlines AS332". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  23. ^ "A Satisfied Eurocopter Customer". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "German Federal Police order Frasca helicopter FTDs". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  25. ^ "Eurocopter and COHC Sign Contract for Two AS 332 L1 Super Pumas". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  26. ^ "CHC Helicopters fleet". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "GFS fleet". Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  28. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 pg. 63". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "Japan Coast Guard to boost its fleet". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie recognized". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "Bond fleet". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  32. ^ "Bristow Helicopter Fleet". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  33. ^ "CHC Scotia". Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  34. ^ "Sheriff's New Super Puma Rescue Helicopters". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "World Air Forces 2013" (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  36. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg. 49". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  37. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg. 51". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  38. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg. 52". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  39. ^ "Eurocopter will supply two more AS332 L1 Super Puma helicopters to the Finnish Border Guard". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  40. ^ Kirtzkhalia, N. (7 September 2015). "Georgian President strongly against sale of Super Puma helicopters by Defence Ministry". Trend. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  41. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg. 68". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  42. ^ "Fuerza Aerea Mexicana AS-332L". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  43. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg. 89". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  44. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg.90". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  45. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004 Pg.98". Flightglobal. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  46. ^ "Report on the accident to AS 332L Super Puma, G-Tigh near in Comorant 'A' Platform, East Shetland Basin, on 14 March 1992." Air Accidents Investigation Branch, 1993.
  47. ^ "Report on the air accident 8 September 1997 in the Norwegian Sea approx. 100 nm west north west of Brønnøysund, involving Eurocopter AS 332L1 Super Puma, LN-OPG, operated by Helikopter Service AS" (PDF). Air Accident Investigation Board, Norway. November 2001. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  48. ^ "Comments on the conclusion & recommendations on the draft of the final report." May 2001.
  49. ^ Incident Summary with links to report documentation
  50. ^ "Call for grounding of helicopters." BBC News, 11 April 2009.
  51. ^ "Initial Report – Super Puma accident" London: Air Accidents Investigation Branch, 10 April 2009.
  52. ^ "Muere Blake Mora en desplome de helicóptero". Noticieros Televisa. 11 November 2011. 
  53. ^ "Venezuelan soldiers die in helicopter crash." BBC News, 29 March 2012.
  54. ^ "Wie es zu dem tödlichen Hubschrauber-Absturz kam." Berliner Morgenpost, 21 March 2013.
  55. ^ "ACTUAL ARTICLE TITLE BELONGS HERE!". The Guardian. 23 August 2013. 
  56. ^ "Super Puma stuck on platform overnight amid safety fears" STV news, 13 September 2013.
  57. ^ "Scottish Court Orders Release of Helicopter CVFDR". 
  58. ^ "Pilots 'failed to spot reduced air speed'". BBC News, 18 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  59. ^ "Localizado el helicóptero SAR hundido en Canarias" Spanish Air Force Official Web 20 April 2013.
  60. ^ "Super Puma – Characteristics." Eurocopter. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  61. ^ Lambert 1993, pp. 148–149.
  • Charbonneau, Bruno. France and the New Imperialism: Security Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ashgate Publishing, 2008. ISBN 0-75469-078-4.
  • Endres, Günter G. and Michael J. Gething. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide. HarperCollins UK, 2005. ISBN 0-00718-332-1.
  • Hoyle, Craig. "World Air Forces Directory". Flight International, Vol. 182, No. 5370, 11–17 December 2012. pp. 40–64. ISSN 0015-3710.
  • Hunter, Shireen. Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-soviet Era: Resisting the New International Order. ABC-CLIO, 2010. ISBN 0-31338-194-1.
  • Jackson, Paul. "Super Puma". Air International, January 1984, Vol. 26 No. 1. ISSN 0306-5634. pp. 7–12, 33–35.
  • Lake, Jon. "Variant File: Super Puma and Cougar: AS 332, AS 532 and EC 725". International Air Power Journal, Volume 3, Winter 2001/2002. Norwalk, Ct, USA:AIRtime Publishing, 2002. ISSN 1473-9917, ISBN 1-880588-36-6. pp. 80–93.
  • Lambert, Mark. "Super Puma: Cat with More Muscle." Flight International, 11 August 1979. pp. 437–439.
  • Lambert, Mark (editor). Janes's All The World's Aircraft 1993–94. Coulsdon, UK:Jane's Data Division, 1993. ISBN 0-7106-1066-1.
  • McGowen, Stanley S. Helicopters: An Illustrated History Of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO, 2005. ISBN 1-85109-468-7.
  • Ripley, Tim. Conflict in the Balkans 1991–2000. Osprey Publishing, 2010. ISBN 1-84176-290-3.

External links

  • Eurocopter's official website for Super Puma
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