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SA 313 / SA 318 Alouette II
A West German Alouette II helicopter patrolling the border with East Germany, 1985
Role Light helicopter
Manufacturer Sud Aviation / Aérospatiale
First flight 12 March 1955
Introduction 2 May 1957
Retired Luftwaffe
Status Limited Service
Primary users Tunisian Air Force
Royal Cambodian Air Force
Pakistan Army
Produced 1956-1975
Number built 1,300+
Variants Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama
Developed into Aérospatiale Alouette III

The Aérospatiale Alouette II (French pronunciation: ​[alwɛt], Lark) is a light helicopter originally manufactured by Sud Aviation and later Aérospatiale, both of France. The Alouette II was the first production helicopter to use a gas turbine engine instead of the conventional heavier piston powerplant.

The Alouette II was mostly used for military purposes in observation, photography, air-sea rescue, liaison and training, but it has also carried anti-tank missiles and homing torpedoes. As a civilian helicopter it was used for casualty evacuation (with two external stretcher panniers), crop-spraying and as a flying crane (with a 500 kg external under-slung load).

Design and development

Although Sud-Est's previous helicopter design, the SE 3120 Alouette, broke helicopter speed and distance records in July 1953, it was too complex an aircraft to market successfully. With the records falling, the French government started showing interest, but with their financial backing, the state gave an ultimatum that within two years a helicopter had to be in production, otherwise all rotary wing activities would cease. SNCASE came up with seven turbo-engine helicopter designs: X.310A - X.310G. Earlier Joseph Szydlowski, the founder of Turboméca, had successfully managed to develop the Artouste, a 260 hp (190 kW) single shaft turbine engine derived from his Orédon turbine. The X.310G design was chosen and together with the Artouste engine was fast-tracked towards production as the SE 3130 Alouette II.

The SE 3130 first flew on 12 March 1955[1] and within three months on 6 June a pre-production Alouette II flown by Jean Boulet set a new helicopter altitude record of 8,209 m (26,926 ft).[2][3] On 13 June 1958 one SE 3130, again flown by Boulet, re-took the record, reaching a height of 10,984 m (36,027 ft).[2][4]

Operational history

The Alouette II made the news on 3 July 1956 when it became the first helicopter to perform a mountain-rescue by evacuating a mountaineer who had suffered from cardiac arrest at over 4,000m and again on 3 January 1957 the Alouette II was called upon to rescue the crew of a crashed Sikorsky S-58, which was searching for missing mountaineers Jean Vincendon and François Henry on Mont Blanc.

The Alouette II was awarded a domestic certificate of airworthiness on 2 May 1957.[citation needed] Production started initially to fulfil orders from the French military and civilian customers. It was the first helicopter worldwide to be equipped with anti-tank munitions (Nord SS.11s),[5] and by the time production ended in 1975, over 1,500 Alouette IIs had been built and in use in over 80 countries including 47 armed forces. It was produced under licence by Brazil, Sweden, India and in the United States. India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited SA 315B Lamas, termed the 'Cheetah', was regularly deployed at 7,500 meters (24,600 ft) to forward observation outposts and air bases of the Indian Air Force in the Himalayas.

Alouette SE.3130 II, formerly V-54 of the Swiss Air Force, now on the UK civil register as G-BVSD. It was built in 1964.


  • SE 3130 Alouette II – After 1967[citation needed] called SA 313B Alouette II.
  • SE 3131 Gouverneur – Refined executive version with enclosed tailboom,[6] which was abandoned in favour of the Alouette III.[7]
  • SE 3140 Alouette II – Proposed version, it was going to be powered by a 298 kW (400 hp) Turbomeca Turmo II engine. None were built.
  • HKP 2 Alouette II – Swedish licence version of the SE 3130
  • SA 318C Alouette II Astazou – It has a 550 shp (410 kW) Turboméca Astazou IIA shaft turbine (derated to 360 shp) and strengthened transmission system of the Alouette III.
  • SA 318C Alouette II (was SE 3180 Alouette II) – After 1967 it was called the SE 3150.
  • SA 315B Lama – designed to meet an Indian armed forces requirement for operation in "hot and high" conditions; it combined the Artouste powerplant and rotor system of the Alouette III with a reinforced Alouette II airframe.



Former operators

 Central African Republic
 Republic of the Congo
 Dominican Republic

French SE 313 Alouette II


An Aérospatiale SA 318 BW Alouette II of the German Army

 Ivory Coast
  • Ivory Coast Air Force[31]
 Khmer Republic

Alouette II of the Portuguese Air Force

 South Africa
File:Blue Eagle Alouette.JPG

British Army Air Corps Alouette

 United Kingdom

Specifications (Alouette II)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Capacity: Four passengers
  • Length: 9.66 m (31 ft 9 in)
  • Rotor diameter: 10.20 m (33 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 2.75 m (9 ft 0 in)
  • Disc area: 81.7 m² (881.4 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 895 kg (1,973 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,600 kg (3,527 lb)
  • Powerplant: One × Turboméca Artouste IIC6 turboshaft, 395 kW (530 hp) derated to 269 kW (460 hp)



  • Maximum speed: 185 km/h (100 knots, 115 mph) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 170 km/h (92 knots, 106 mph)
  • Range: 565 km (305 nmi, 350 mi)
  • Endurance: 4.1 hours
  • Service ceiling: 2,300 m (7,545 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 4.2 m/s (820 ft/min)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Taylor 1966, p. 61.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "History of Rotorcraft World Records, Sub-class:E-1 (Helicopters), Category:General, Group 2:turbine". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  3. Flight 8 July 1955, p. 54.
  4. Taylor 1966, p. 2.
  5. Helicopters at War - Blitz Editions, Page, 63, ISBN 1-85605-345-8
  6. "Business and Touring Aircraft: Sud-Aviation". Flight, 11 October 1957, p. 585.
  7. "Helicopters of the World:SE.3160 Alouette III". Flight, 15 May 1959, p. 684.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  9. "Ӧstereichische Luftstreitkräfte SE3130 Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  10. "Aviation légère de la force terrestre Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  11. "Gendarmerie Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  12. "World Air Forces 1981 pg. 328". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "World Air Forces 1971 pg. 924-925". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  14. "World Air Forces 1981 pg.329". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  15. "World Air Forces 1981 pg.330". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  16. "World Air Forces 1981 pg. 332". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  17. "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 50". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  18. "World Air Forces 1981 pg. 333". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  19. "Armée de l'air Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  20. "Aviation légère de l'armée de Terre Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  21. "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 56". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  22. "World Helicopter Market pg. 51". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  23. "L’HISTORIQUE DE LA SECURITE CIVILE". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  24. "Securite Civil Sud-SA-318C". Demand Media. Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  25. "Heeresflieger Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  26. "Bundespolizei Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  27. "World Air Forces 1975 pg. 298". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  28. "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 59". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 "World Air Forces 1981 pg. 347". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  30. "World Air Forces 1975 pg. 302". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  31. "World Air Forces 1981 pg. 351". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  32. "Congo, Part 1; 1960-1963". ACIG. 2003. Retrieved 2013-8-9. 
  33. "Historical Listings Katanga (KAT)". Retrieved 16-September-2013. 
  34. "World Air Forces 1971 pg. 932". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  35. "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 68". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  36. "World Air Forces 1975 pg. 305". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  37. "Koninklijke Luchtmacht SA 313". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  38. 38.0 38.1 "Força Aérea Portuguesa Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  39. Nelson, Harold. Zimbabwe: A Country Study. pp. 237–317. 
  40. "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 81". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  41. "Suid-Afrikaanse Lugmag Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  42. "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 91". Retrieved 14-March-2013. 
  43. "Schweizer luftwaffe Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 
  44. "Army Air Corps Alouette II". Retrieved 12-March-2013. 

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