The Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma is a four-bladed, twin-engined medium transport/utility helicopter that was designed and originally produced by the French aerospace manufacturer Sud Aviation. It is capable of carrying up to 20 passengers as well as a variety of cargoes, either internally or externally; numerous armaments have also been outfitted to some helicopters.

The Puma was originally developed as an all-new design during the mid-1960s in response to a French Army requirement for a medium-sized all-weather helicopter. On 15 April 1965, the first prototype Puma made its maiden flight; the first production helicopter flew during September 1968. Deliveries to the French Army commenced in early 1969; the type quickly proved itself to be a commercial success.

Production of the Puma continued into the 1980s under Sub Aviation’s successor company Aérospatiale. It was also license-produced in Romania as the IAR 330; two unlicensed derivatives, the Denel Rooivalk attack helicopter and Atlas Oryx utility helicopter, were built in South Africa. Several advanced derivatives have been developed, such as the AS332 Super Puma and AS532 Cougar, and have been manufactured by Eurocopter and its successor company Airbus Helicopters since the early 1990s. These descendants of the Puma remain in production in the 21st century.

The Puma has seen combat in a range of theatres by a number of different operators; significant operations include the Gulf War, the South African Border War, the Portuguese Colonial War, the Yugoslav Wars, the Lebanese Civil War, the Iraq War, and the Falklands War. Numerous operators have chosen to modernise their fleets, often adding more capabilities and new features, such as glass cockpits, Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation, and various self-defense measures. The type also saw popular use in the civilian field and has been operated by a number of civil operators. One of the largest civil operators of the Puma was Bristow Helicopters, which regularly used it for off shore operations over the North Sea.

General characteristics

Crew: 3
Capacity: 16 passengers
Length: 18.15 m (59 ft 6½ in)
Rotor diameter: 15.00 m (49 ft 2½ in)
Height: 5.14 m (16 ft 10½ in)
Disc area: 177.0 m² (1,905 ft²)
Empty weight: 3,536 kg (7,795 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 7,000 kg (15,430 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Turbomeca Turmo IVC turboshafts, 1,175 kW (1,575 hp) each


Never exceed speed: 273 km/h (147 knots, 169 mph)
Maximum speed: 257 km/h (138 knots, 159 mph)
Cruise speed: 248 km/h (134 knots, 154 mph) econ cruise
Range: 580 km (313 nm, 360 mi)
Service ceiling: 4,800 m (15,750 ft)
Rate of climb: 7.1 m/s (1,400 ft/min)


Coaxial 7.62 mm (0.30 in) machine guns
Side-firing 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon

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