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The Eurocopter Pumas / Cougars are still operational in 30 countries

The SA 330 Puma was developed by Sud Aviation (now Airbus Helicopters) to meet a French army specification for an all-weather medium transport helicopter. The Sud Aviation was a French state-owned aircraft manufacturer.

In 1967 the Puma helicopter was also selected for the Royal Air Force and produced as a joint programme with Westland. In 1970 the Sud Aviation merged with Nord Aviation and Societe d’Etudes et de Realisation d’Engins Balistiques (SEREB) and formed a state-owned Aerospatiale aerospace manufacturer.

In 1992 helicopter divisions of the French Aeropspatiale and DASA of Germany merged and formed Eurocopter Group. Since 2014 the Eurocopter Group changed its name to Airbus Helicopters. Nearly 700 Pumas were built for at least 25 air forces and the type remains in widespread use.

The British Puma HC.Mk 1 entered service in 1971 and was recently replaced by an EH.101 Merlin. The basic SA 330Ba still serves in significant numbers with French Army Aviation (ALAT). The ALAT’s 130 surviving SA 330Bs have been progressively updated. The Armee de l’Air operates 29 Pumas, six of which in the combat search and rescue role.

In the 1970s Romania acquired license to produce the SA 330 Puma. The Romanian version was known was IAR-330. Over 100 of these helicopters were built for Romanian Air Force and Navy since 1977. The IAR-330 was also exported to some countries.

The Aerospatiale AS 332 Super Puma was devised as a successor to the Puma. It first flew in 1978 and entered service as the military AS 332B and stretched AS 332M. Pumas and Super Pumas have been built under licence by IPTN in Indonesia. South Africa’s Pumas were replaced from 1995 by the Oryx, a Puma developed by Atlas that incorporates elements of the Super Puma upgrade, including Makila 1A1 engines.

In 1990 the military development of the Aerospatiale AS 332 were renamed Cougar (later Cougar Mk.1), renumbered AS 532 and accorded new variant suffixes, according to role and airframe (short- or long fuselage). First flown in 1987 the Cougar Mk.2 introduced uprated 2 104 shp (1 569 kW) Makila 1A2 powerplants.

The Cougar serves with the French army aviation as a battlefield surveillance and control helicopter with the HORIZON battlefield surveillance radar. It also supplements the basic SA 330B in the assault transport role. Dedicated combat search and rescue variants serve with the air forces of France and Saudi Arabia.

AS 332 Super Pumas and AS 532 Cougars are operated by 30 air arms.



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