No. 12588. Eurocopter AS532U2 Cougar (F-ZVLJ c/n 2254)
Photographed at the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, Paris, France, May 1995, by Jan Evert Leeuw

Eurocopter AS532U2 Cougar

09/30/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "In 1985 France ordered twenty Aérospatiale AS 332B Super Puma's for the military, to be equipped with a battlefield surveillance radar system, the scanner mounted retractable in the fuselage belly. The system was tested on an AS 330B, but turned out to be too expensive and fairly heavy so this project was canceled in 1990. Only for Operation Desert Storm (Opération Daguet) one was re-equipped with the system.

The experience from the 24 successful operational missions led to the HORIZON system (Hélicoptère d'Observation Radar et d'Investigation sur ZONe, on-site helicopter radar observation and investigation). Aérospatiale became part of Eurocopter in 1992, and in October 1992 the latter received a development contract for two machines, in which the capacities of the Orchidéesysteem with the performance of the larger AS532UL were combined. Two AS 332L Super Puma airframes, were upgraded to AS532UL Cougars, and fully equipped the first flight took place on December 8, 1992.

In April 1994 the first unit was delivered to the ALAT (Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre, Army Light Aviation), followed by the second development aircraft and two production aircraft. These were nicknamed 'les quater mousquetaires' (The Four Musketeers): All four have been withdrawn from use, 2430 is preserved at the Musée de l'Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre at Dax, while the other three are stored."

Created September 30, 2014