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Airbus Helicopters Dauphin 2

The SA 365/AS365 Dauphin 2 is an upgraded version of the Aérospatiale SA 360 Dauphin, which initially had a single engine and was not successful in the commercial market.

However, Aerospatiale quickly realised that a twin-engine configuration would be more suitable for both civil and military operations.

As a result, they initiated a redesign program.

On January 24, 1975, the first twin-engine Dauphin prototype successfully completed its maiden flight.

During testing, the prototype showcased impressive performance, reaching an airspeed of 170 knots in level flight and setting several speed records, including the Paris-London trip with an average speed of 321 km/h.

The SA 365C was introduced with French certification in July 1978, followed by US FAA and British CAA certification later that year.

Deliveries to customers began in December 1978.

The SA 365 N succeeded the SA 365C Dauphin in 1982, featuring upgrades like more powerful engines, increased use of composite materials, improved cabin layout, and retractable landing gear.

The SA 365 N1 saw significant enhancements with the implementation of a redesigned Fenestron anti-torque device.

Additionally, the SA 365 N2 was equipped with more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 1C2 turboshaft engines.

In January 1990, the entire model was officially renamed as the AS365.

The AS365 Dauphin has proven to be a highly successful helicopter design by Eurocopter, finding extensive applications as a corporate transport, airborne law enforcement platform, emergency medical services (EMS) helicopter, electronic news gathering platform, and search and rescue helicopter.

The Dauphin base has undergone further development to create various specialised versions.

In the 1980s, the SA 365 N served as the foundation for a militarised variant of the Dauphin, initially known as AS 365 K.

This variant, widely recognised as the Eurocopter Panther, was utilised for utility, troop-transport, and maritime operations.

Additionally, a specific variant of the Dauphin, designated as HH/MH-65 Dolphin, was exclusively developed for and primarily operated by the United States Coast Guard.

Furthermore, the SA 365 M model of the Dauphin has been produced under license in China by the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, known as the Z-9.

Subsequently, the Z-9 was further developed into the armed Z-9W and Z-19 attack helicopters.

Military Variants
AS565 Panther
Prototype military variant first flown on 29 February 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.
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.

AVIC – 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.

SA 366 G1 Dauphin
The SA 366 G1 Dauphin version was selected by the US Coast Guard (USCG) in 1979 as its new air-sea rescue helicopter and given the designation HH-65A Dolphin.
In total 99 helicopters, optimized for the USCG’s short-range recovery (SRR) search and rescue role, were initially acquired, with additional aircraft later procured.

SA 365 N Dauphin
A much-improved version of the SA 365 C Dauphin 2, the first prototype flying on 31 March 1979.
This version introduced the upgraded 492 kW (660 shp) Arriel 1C turboshafts, a retractable tricycle undercarriage, enlarged tail surfaces, and revised transmission, main rotor, rotor mast fairing and engine cowlings.
The aircraft’s initial M.T.O.W. of 3,850 kg (8,490 lb) was later raised to 4,000 kg (8,800 lb). Deliveries of the production model began in 1982.

SA 365 F Dauphin
The SA 365 F is a variant of the SA 365 N for the French Navy.
It has been used since 1991 for general duties and for backup purposes aboard an aircraft carrier.
A helicopter with rescue divers is always in the air during flight operations to be able to assist the pilot in case of an accident.
First experiments were successfully carried out in 1990 on board the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau.
The variant 365F is used since 1999 with Flottille 35F called AS365F Dauphin Pedro.

AS365 N3 Dauphin
The high-performance AS365 N3 was developed for operations in ‘hot and high’ climates and introduced 635 kW (852 shp) Arriel 2C turboshafts equipped with a single channel DECU (Digital Engine Control Unit) with manual reversion, mated to an upgraded main transmission for better single engine performance.
The AS365 N3 also features a redesigned ten blade composite Fenestron anti-torque device with asymmetric blade distribution, offering a further reduction in noise signature.
The AS365 N3’s gross weight is 4,300 kg (9,500 lb).

Production deliveries began in December 1998.

AS365 N3+
This version was presented by Eurocopter at the 2009 Paris Air Show and differs mainly in new avionics including a 4-axis auto-pilot.



1 or 2 pilots




12 passengers


13.73 m (45 ft 1 in)


4.06 m (13 ft 4 in)

Empty weight

2,389 kg (5,267 lb)

Max take-off weight

4,300 kg (9,480 lb)


2 × Turboméca Arriel 2C turboshaft

Take-off Power

625 kW (838 hp) each

Main rotor diameter

11.94 m (39 ft 2 in)

Main rotor area

111.98 m2 (1,205.3 sq ft)


Maximum speed

306 km/h (190 mph, 165 kn)

Ferry range

827 km (514 mi, 447 nmi)

Service ceiling

5,865 m (19,242 ft)

Rate of climb

8.9 m/s (1,750 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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