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Airbus Helicopters H215M Cougar

The Eurocopter AS532 Cougar, now known as the Airbus Helicopters H215M, is a medium-weight, twin-engine helicopter with multiple uses that was developed in France.

The AS532 is an upgraded version of the Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma, specifically designed for military purposes.

Its civilian equivalent is the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma.

The AS532 has evolved into the Eurocopter EC725.

The AS332 Super Puma, created as an enhanced model to replace the SA 330 Puma, took its first flight in September 1977.

Equipped with two 1,330 kW Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines, composite rotor blades, improved landing gear, and a modified tailfin.

In 1990, all military Super Puma models were rebranded from “AS 332” to “AS 532 Cougar” to differentiate between the civilian and military versions of the helicopter.

Although Canada had considered acquiring the Cougar to replace their CH-113 Labrador, they ultimately chose to purchase the CH-149 Cormorant.

In 2012, France initiated a €288.8m project (€11.1m/unit) to upgrade 23 Army Cougars and 3 for the Air Force to address obsolescence concerns and provide similar avionics to their EC225 and EC725 helicopters.



The Cougar family includes the AS 532 UL/AL, which is the extended version of the aircraft.

It is equipped with two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines.

The helicopter has a capacity for a crew of 2 individuals and can accommodate up to 29 troops or 6 injured passengers on stretchers, along with 10 additional passengers.

Similar to other Cougar variants, the AS 532 UL/AL has the capability to lift 4.5 tons using a sling.

The utility version, AS 532 UL, can be equipped with the Horizon battlefield ground surveillance system.

On the other hand, the armed version, AS 532 AL, has the flexibility to be armed with various weapons, such as pod-mounted 20 mm cannons, 68 mm rocket-launchers, and side-mounted rapid-fire machine-guns.

AS532 SC

The AS 532SC, a member of the Cougar family, is specifically designed for naval operations.

It is equipped with two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines, providing optimal power.

This variant serves various purposes, including anti-surface unit warfare (ASUW) with the integration of AM 39 Exocet missiles.

Additionally, it excels in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) with variable-depth sonar and torpedoes.

Moreover, it is utilised for search and rescue missions as well as sea patrols.

To ensure safe deck landing, secure operations in high-seas states, and enhance manoeuvrability, the AS 532SC can be equipped with ASIST.


A variant was proposed to meet the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR or RESCO in French) requirements of the French Army.

The military opted to procure the enhanced Eurocopter EC725 aircraft to address this capability gap.


AS532 UB




20 troops / 4,650 kg (10,251 lb) payload


15.53 m (50 ft 11 in)


4.92 m (16 ft 2 in)

Empty weight

4,350 kg (9,590 lb)

Max take-off weight

9,000 kg (19,842 lb)


2 × Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines

1,185 kW (1,589 hp) each

Main rotor diameter

15.6 m (51 ft 2 in)

Main rotor area

206 m2 (2,220 sq ft)


Maximum speed

249 km/h (155 mph, 134 kn)

Cruise speed

239 km/h (149 mph, 129 kn)

Never exceed speed

278 km/h (173 mph, 150 kn)


573 km (356 mi, 309 nmi)

Service ceiling

3,450 m (11,320 ft)

Rate of climb

7.2 m/s (1,420 ft/min)

Helicopters: An Illustrated History of their Impact-S S McGowen.
How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare-W Boyne.
National Air and Space Museum of France.

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