Aérospatiale AS550 Fennec / AS555 Fennec 2

1st Flight 1990

AS555 Fennec 2

Military Users-

Argentine Naval Aviation, Brazilian Air Force, Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy, Colombian Navy, Royal Danish Air Force, Ecuadorian Army, French Air and Space Force, French Army, Indonesian Army, Kenya Air Force, Royal Malaysian Navy, Mexican Navy, Pakistan Army Aviation Corps, Qatar Emiri Air Force, Tanzania Air Force Command, Royal Thai Army, Republic of Singapore Air Force.

The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS550 Fennec (now H125M) and AS555 Fennec 2 are lightweight, multi-purpose military helicopters manufactured by Eurocopter Group (now Airbus Helicopters).

AS555 Fennec 2

Based on the AS350 Ecureuil and AS355 Ecureuil 2 series, they are named after the fennec fox.

The armed versions of the AS550 and AS555 can be fitted with coaxial weapons, rockets, torpedoes and various other munitions.

As a result of the Vienna Treaty, military variants of the Écureuil were marketed under a separate designation, thus from 1990 onwards the type was marketed as the Fennec.

AS555 Fennec 2

In February 2007, India selected the AS550 C3 Fennec over the Bell 407 helicopter in a deal for 197 helicopters worth US$500 million.

This deal was suspended in June 2007 because of concerns of alleged corruption in the bidding process, and cancelled outright on 6 December 2007.

The contract is now being re-competed, and the AS550 C3 is among the helicopters competing for the deal.

AS555 Fennec 2 (U.S. Navy Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Dawn C. Montgomery/Released)

However India chose Kamov Ka-226T over AS550 C3 in the refreshed tender.

On 20 January 2011, Royal Malaysian Navy PASKAL commandos rescued a hijacked Malaysian chemical tanker and its crew from Somali pirates.

A Fennec helicopter provided reconnaissance and aerial gunfire to keep the pirate’s mother ship at bay while commandos boarded the tanker.

AS550 Fennec

Specifications-

Crew: 2

Capacity: 4 passengers

Length: 10.93 m (35 ft 10 in) (fuselage length), 12.94 m (42 ft 6 in) (overall length, rotors turning)

Height: 3.34 m (10 ft 11 in)

Empty weight: 1,220 kg (2,690 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 2,250 kg (4,960 lb)

Fuel capacity: 540 L (143 US Gal)

AS555 Fennec 2

Power plant: 1 × Turbomeca Arriel 2B turboshaft, 632 kW (847 shp) (limited to 500 kW (671 shp for take-off)

Main rotor diameter: 10.69 m (35 ft 1 in)

Main rotor area: 89.75 m2 (966.1 sq ft)

Performance

Maximum speed: 246 km/h (153 mph, 133 kn) (max cruise)

Never exceed speed: 287 km/h (178 mph, 155 kn)

Range: 648 km (403 mi, 350 nmi)

Service ceiling: 5,280 m (17,320 ft)

Rate of climb: 10.30 m/s (2,028 ft/min)

Armament

Provision for:

20 mm Giat M621 cannon

Fabrique Nationale de Herstal twin 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun pods

7 x 70mm (2.75″) Forges de Zeebrugge rocket launcher FZ220 or 12 x 68 mm Thales Brandt rockets

BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles

AS550 Fennec

Credits-

Aeroscopia Museum, Toulouse, France

Helicopters: An Illustrated History of Their Impact-Stanley McGowen

Jane’s pocket guide: Modern military helicopters- Tim Ripley

Wikipedia.

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