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Airbus Helicopters Panther

The Eurocopter AS565 Panther, which is now under Airbus Helicopters, is the military variant of the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin twin-engine helicopter designed for various military missions such as combat assault, fire support, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, as well as medical evacuation.

The AS565 Panther is a medium-sized multi-mission rotorcraft with twin engines.

It is designed to carry out a variety of missions both at sea and on land, including maritime security, search and rescue, casualty evacuation, vertical replenishment, surveillance, special forces operations, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare.

Powered by Turbomeca Arriel turboshaft engines, the Panther features a Fenestron anti-torque tail rotor device in addition to its main rotor.

Pilots have praised the Panther for its manoeuvrability, high stability, and generous g-force limitations.

The Panther in the commando-transport setup has the capacity to transport a maximum of 10 fully equipped soldiers, along with the two pilots operating the aircraft.

Its primary cabin can be quickly adjusted to fulfill different functions like troop transportation, search and rescue (SAR) operations, and medical evacuation (MEDIVAC) missions.

Additional features that can be included are a complete medical facility, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera, emergency flotation system, loudspeaker, variable-speed hoist, cargo sling, searchlight, and a stretcher-support framework.

The Panther is equipped with a variety of avionics, with some versions featuring the advanced human-machine interface (HMI) glass cockpit.

This includes the vehicle and engine multifunction display (VEMD), integrated electronic standby instrument (ESI), usage monitoring system (UMS), traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), terrain awareness and warning system (H-TAWS), and a dedicated mission display with a multi-sensor processor.

Additionally, it comes with a 4-axis automatic flight control system (AFCS), flight management system (FMS), and an advanced search radar.

The cockpit and avionics systems, including the engine management system, are designed to offer a high level of automation to reduce pilot workload.

The cockpit design allows for extra panel space to accommodate future upgrades and additional instrumentation if needed.

ASW-configured Panthers are primarily equipped with the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS), which is a dipping sonar featuring seven projection elements and a receiving array with eight extending arms.

This advanced sonar system has the capability to detect submarines up to 500 metres below the water’s surface.

Airbus Helicopters has qualified the Panther family to operate from the flight decks of more than 100 classes of NATO vessels, ensuring compliance with NATO standardisation agreements.

The compact size of the Panther helicopter allows it to be deployed from smaller ocean-going vessels like corvettes.

Additionally, certain variants can be equipped with the hydraulic Harpoon deck-lock securing device to facilitate shipboard landings in challenging sea conditions and strong winds.

The Panther is equipped with a variety of munitions and armaments based on its specific role.

Options include 20mm pod-mounted cannons, 68mm rocket pods, up to eight Mistral air-to-air missiles, or up to eight HOT anti-tank missiles, all of which can be attached to a universal weapon support beam.

The weapon systems are paired with a Crouzet HDH-2A electronic sight and an autopilot that assists with flight handling during weapons deployment to prevent nose droop.

To enhance survivability, the radar signature is minimised through the use of composite materials in the airframe, a Fenestron tail instead of a traditional tail rotor, low infrared paints on exterior surfaces, and jet exhaust dilution devices on the engines to reduce the infrared signature.

Additionally, self-sealing fuel tanks and armour-plated crew seating increase damage resistance.


A Mexican marine AS565 hovers over the deck of Frankfurt Am Main during multi-national exercise
SA 365M Panther
Prototype military variant first flown on February 29, 1984.
SA 365 FK
Original designation of SA 365 K.
SA 365 K
The first version of the Panther, based on the AS365 N2.

Offered with various armaments, including podded Giat M621 20 mm cannon, 2.75 in Forges de Zeebrugge (FZ) rockets (in pods of 19) or 68mm Thales Brandt rockets (in pods of 22).
AS565 UA
Unarmed military utility variant for reconnaissance, transportation and search and rescue.

Can use either Arriel 1M1 or 2C turboshaft engines.
AS565 UB
Utility version of the AS365 N3, currently in production.

This version is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2C turboshafts, which are equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC).

The main missions of this version are transport of 8 to 10 fully equipped troops, casualty evacuation and logistic support.
AS565 AA
Armed military battlefield variant, can be armed with air-to-air weapons including 20-mm canon pods, rockets or up to eight Mistral air-to-air missiles.

Can use either Arriel 1M1 or 2C turboshaft engines.
AS565 AB
Attack version of the AS365 N3.
AS565 MA
Multi-purpose unarmed naval variant for maritime patrol, search & rescue (fitted with a hoist) or a surveillance.

Can use either Arriel 1M1 or 2C turboshaft engines.

AS565 MB
Maritime transport and search & rescue version of the AS365 N3.

Offered with various armaments, including cabin-mounted 20mm cannon, AS 15 TT anti-ship missile, Mark 46 torpedo and Whitehead A.244/S torpedo.
AS565 SA
Multi-purpose armed naval variant for anti-submarine warfare using either Sonar or MAD, search and rescue and surveillance roles.

Can use either Arriel 1M1 or 2C turboshaft engines.
AS565 SB
Surveillance and ASuW version of the AS365 N3.
AS565 CA
Armed military anti-armour variant with roof-mounted sight and HOT missiles.

Can use either Arriel 1M1 or 2C turboshaft engines.
AS565 N3
Maritime patrol and surveillance version of the AS365 N3 for the Hellenic Coast Guard
AS565 SC
Search and rescue version for Saudi Arabia.
AS565 MBe
Improved MB with an increased payload, folding main rotors and tailfin, Arriel 2N engines and new avionics.

Initially for the Mexican Navy.

HM-1 Pantera
Based on the AS565 AA, manufactured by Airbus Helicopters subsidiary Helibras for the Brazilian Army.
Panther 800
Version offered for the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program as a replacement for the UH-1 Huey, with 2 LHTEC T800 turboshafts. Test flown only.
Harbin Z-9
The Harbin Z-9 and its variants are license-built by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

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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