The Eurocopter AS532 Cougar (now Airbus Helicopters H215M) is a twin-engine, medium-weight, multipurpose helicopter developed by France.
The AS532 is a development and upgrade of the Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma in its militarized form.
Its civilian counterpart is the Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma.
The AS532 has been further developed as the Eurocopter EC725.
The AS332 Super Puma, designed as a growth version to replace the SA 330 Puma, first flew in September 1977.
It was fitted 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 designations were changed from “AS 332” to “AS 532 Cougar” to distinguish between the civil and military variants of the helicopter.
Canada had considered purchasing the Cougar to replace their CH-113 Labrador, but opted in the end to purchase the CH-149 Cormorant.
In 2012 France began a €288.8m project (€11.1m/unit) to upgrade 23 Army Cougars and 3 for the Air Force to address obsolescence issues and to deliver similar avionics to their EC225 and EC725 helicopters.
The AS 532 UL/AL is the long version of the Cougar family and is powered by two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines.
It carries a crew of 2 and up to 29 troops or 6 injured passengers on stretchers plus 10 others.
As with the other versions of the Cougar, the AS 532 UL/AL can lift 4.5 tons by means of a sling.
The Horizon battlefield ground surveillance system can be installed on the AS 532 UL (utility version).
The AS 532 AL (armed version) can also be fitted with a variety of weapons, including pod-mounted 20 mm cannons, 68 mm rocket-launchers, and side-mounted rapid fire machine-guns.
The AS 532SC is the naval version of the Cougar family and is powered by two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines.
This version is mainly used for Anti-surface unit warfare (ASUW), fitted with AM 39 Exocet missiles; Anti-submarine warfare (ASW), fitted with a variable-depth sonar and torpedoes; Search and rescue; and Sea patrols.
For deck landing, securing at high sea states, maneuver and traverse this variant can be fitted with ASIST.
It was variant offered to cover the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR or RESCO in French) needs of the French Army.
The military preferred to acquire the improved version of the aircraft, the Eurocopter EC725 instead to fulfil this gap.