ElirOCOpter Gazelle Light multi-purpose helicopter
The British Army Air Corps’ Gazelle AH. Mk 1s continue to give sterling service, operating as scouts for the TOW-armed Lynx attack helicopters
uccessor to The ubiquitous Sud Alouette II, the Aerospatiale (now Eurocopter) Gazelle originated in a mid-1960s project oy Sud Aviation. Despite using many of its predecessor’s dynamic systems (includ:ng the 268-kW (360-shp) Astazou II power – plant), the X.300 design, soon renamed SA 341, achieved increased speed and manoeuvred lity through adoption of a more powerful turboshaft, aerodynamically-shaped cabin and covered tail – boom, and advancec rotor technology. The Gazelle used a rigid main rotor head, glass-fibre blades and the revolutionary ‘fenestron’ or fan-in-fin tail rotor. The SA 340 prototype flew on 12 April 1968 with non-standard conventional rotors. The revised SA 341 Gazelle incorporated the new rotor technology, and introduced a longer cabin, larger tail surfaces and a 440-kW (590-shp) Astazou III.
Six versions were launched initially: SA 341B (British Army Gazelle AH. Mk 1>, SA 3410 (Royal Navy HT. Mk 2 trainer); SA 341D (RAF HT. Mk 3 trainer); SA 341E (RAF HCC. Mk 4 VIP transport} – all with the Astazou INN: SA 341F (French army – ALAT) with Astazou NIC; and military export SA 341 FI. In the UK, Westland built 294 Gazelles, including 212 AH. Mk is. Generally unarmed, they carried rockets during the 1982 Faiklands War,
wh le nearly 70 were fitted with target-finding magnryirg sights for missi e-armed Lynxes, during the late 1980s. Of 170 SA 341 Fs. ALAT converted 40 to carry four HOT ATGMs as SA 341Мз anc 62 with a GIAT M621 20-mm cannor and SFOM 80 sight as the SA 34lF/Canon. Others have acquired an Athos scouting sight.
Powered by a 640-kW (858-shp) Astazou XIVH, the SA 342 replaced the SA 341 Foreign exports began with the military SA 342K, the latter soon replaced by SA 342Ls with an improved fenestron The ALAT equivalent is designated SA 342M and over 200 have been deliverec since 1980, typically armed with four HOT missiles arc fitted with an M397 sight.
During the 1991 Gulf War, 30 i-rench SA 342Ms were converted to SA 342M/Celtic standard, fitted with two Mistral air-to-air missiles and a SFOM 80 sight. This interim model has been replaced ny the definitive SA342ML1/ATAM ant-helicopter model This version is armed with four Mistrals ano a T2000 sight, and 36 Gazelles have been thus converted. The ALAT is also upgrading 70 of its at:ack-configured AS 342Ms to AS 342M1 Viviane standard, through the addition of the Viviane thermal – imaging sight, with a laser rangefinder.
Specification: Eurocopter SA 341F Gazelle Powerplant: one 440-kW (590-hp) Turbomfica Astazou IMA
Dimensions: шзіп rotor diameter 10.50 m 134 ft 54 in); engtli overs!. rotor turning 11.97 n I39 fl 3 in) and fuselage 9.53 m (31 ft 3 in}: height overall 3.18 m (10 ft э25 in Weights: empty 920 kg (2,928 lb}: maximum take-off 1800 <g (3,968 lb)
Performance: maximum cruising speed 264 krrh [134 mph); maximum rate of climb at sea level 540 m (1,770 ft) per minute, service ceiling 5030 rri (16,405 It), hovering ceiling 2650 m (9.350 It) iCit: range 670 krr [416 mi es| Armament: maximum payload 700 kg (1,540 lb)