Super PUMA AS332 L Super Luxe. Made by Aérospatiale (France). Motor: 2 Turbomeca Malica AI, 1820 HP
The Airbus Helicopters H215 (formerly Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma) is a four-bladed, twin-engined, medium-sized, utility helicopter developed and initially produced by French aerospace company Aérospatiale. It has been subsequently manufactured by the successor companies Eurocopter and Airbus Helicopters. The Super Puma is a re-engined and more voluminous version of the original Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma.
Development of the Super Puma was carried out during the 1970s, based on the successful SA 330 Puma. While retaining a similar layout, the fuselage was redesigned to increase its damage tolerance and crashworthiness, while composite materials were also more extensively used. Furthermore, a pair of more powerful Turbomeca Makila turboshaft engines was also adopted, along with a more streamlined nose, amongst other changes. Two distinct fuselage lengths, a shortened and stretched form, were developed from the onset.
On 5 September 1977, the SA 331 preproduction prototype performed its maiden flight; the first true Super Puma made its first flight roughly one year later. By 1980, the Super Puma had succeeded the SA 330 Puma as Aérospatiale’s principal utility helicopter.
The Super Puma quickly proved itself to be a commercial success for both military and civil customers. The French Army were a keen early customer, using the type in its new rapid response task force, the Force d’Action Rapide, and routinely dispatching Super Pumas to support France’s overseas engagements in both Africa and the Middle East. Indonesia also became a prominent nation for the Super Puma, with the state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia securing a license to produce it locally.
In the civilian sector, it has been heavily used to support offshore oil rigs and aerial firefighting operations. 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.