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Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama

Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama :

 Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama is a French single-engined helicopter developed to meet hot and high operational requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. It combines the lighter Aérospatiale Alouette II airframe with Alouette III components and powerplant.

The helicopter was licence-built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India as the Cheetah; an upgraded variant powered by the Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 engine is known as the HAL Cheetal.Originally designed to meet an Nepalese Army Air Service and Indian Air Force requirement for operation at in hot and high conditions, the Lama combines the Artouste powerplant and rotor system of the Alouette III with a reinforced Alouette II airframe. First flown on 17 March 1969, the SA 315B received its French airworthiness certificate in 1970 and was introduced as the Lama in July 1971. As with the Alouette series, the Lama can be fitted for various roles, such as light passenger transport or agricultural tasks. The military variants include liaison, observation, photography, air/sea rescue, transport and ambulance duties. The SA315B is particularly suited to mountainous areas due to its performance and can carry underslung loads of up to 1000 kg (2,205 lb).

A significant number of SA 315B Lamas were manufactured under license in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under the name Cheetah. More than three decades after production in India began, HAL was still receiving export orders for the original Cheetah.[1] Along with the Alouette III, the Cheetah was a key product for HAL, experience from manufacturing the type aided HAL's development of more advanced indigenous helicopters like the HAL Dhruv.[2]

In 2006-2007, HAL proposed a modernised variant to the Indian Army, designated as Cheetal, fitted with a more powerful Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 engine, promoting its capabilities for operating in high altitude environments, such as the Siachen Glacier. In 2009, due to issues with the newly introduced HAL Dhruv helicopter, the Indian Army increased operations on their older Cheetah/Cheetal helicopters to meet the temporary shortfall.[3] In February 2013, it was announced that the Indian and Nepalese Armies had signed a 300 crore (~US$55 million) contract to procure a further 20 Cheetals.

SA 315B Lama
Derived from the SE 3150, it was designed for high altitude operations using a 650kW (870shp) Turbomeca Astazou IIIB turboshaft, derated to 410kW (550shp). This derivative still holds the absolute altitude record for all types of helicopters since 1972: 12,442 m.
HB 315B Gaviao
Brazilian license-built version of the SA 315B Lama.
HAL Cheetah
Indian license-built version of the SA 315B Lama.
HAL Lancer
Modified armed combat variant. Changes include composite armouring, toughened glass, and can carry two 12.7 mm machine guns and up to six 70 mm rockets.[11]
HAL Cheetal
Modernised variant, fitted with the Turbomeca TM333-2M2.[12] Speed is increased to 210 km/h (130 mph) and range is increased to 560 km (350 mi).
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