Brazilian Army, Bulgarian Navy, French Naval Aviation, Indonesian Navy, Israeli Air Force, Israeli Navy, Mexican Navy, Royal Moroccan Navy, Korea Coast Guard, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Turkmen Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force, United States Navy.
The AS565 Panther is a twin-engine medium-sized multi-mission rotorcraft.
It is capable of performing various naval and land-based missions, such as maritime security, search and rescue (SAR), casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), vertical replenishment, surveillance, special forces operations, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface warfare.
The Panther is powered by a pair of Turbomeca Arriel turbo shaft engines, which drives the rotorcraft’s main rotor as well as the fenestron anti-torque tail rotor device.
The flight profile of the Panther has been described as being easy to manoeuvre, possessing generous g-force limitations and a high level of stability.
In the commando-transport configuration, the Panther may carry up to 10 fully armed soldiers on board at a time in addition to the two pilots flying the aircraft.
The main cabin can be rapidly reconfigured to conduct various roles, such as troop-transport, SAR, and MEDIVAC missions; optional equipment includes a full medical suite, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera, emergency flotation, loudspeaker, variable-speed hoist, cargo sling, search light, and a stretcher-support structure.
Various avionics are present upon the Panther; some variants are fitted with the advanced human-machine interface (HMI) glass cockpit.
It features 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 dedicated mission display coupled with a multi-sensor processor, a 4-axis automatic flight control system (AFCS), flight management system (FMS), and an advanced search radar.
The design of the cockpit and avionics systems, such as the engine management system, provides a high level of automation as part of an effort to reduce workload upon the pilots.
The cockpit was deliberately designed with extra panel space to accommodate future upgrades and additional instrumentation that may be installed.
The principle element of ASW-configured Panthers is the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS), a dipping sonar equipped with a descending array of seven projection elements and a receiving array equipped with eight extending arms, which is capable of detecting submarines up to 500 meters below the water’s surface.
According to Airbus Helicopters, the Panther family has been qualified to operate from the flight decks of over 100 classes of NATO vessels, and complies with NATO standardization agreements.
The compact size of the Panther has enabled the type to be operated from smaller ocean-going vessels such as corvettes.
To aid in shipboard landings under rough sea conditions and high winds, some variants can be furnished with the hydraulic Harpoon deck-lock securing device.
The Panther can be armed with several different sets of munitions and armaments, dependent upon the intended role. Munitions include 20mm pod-mounted cannons, 68mm rocket pods, a maximum of eight Mistral air-to-air missiles, or a maximum of eight HOT anti-tank missiles; all of which can be mounted onto a universal weapon support beam.
The weapon systems are integrated with a Crouzet HDH-2A electronic sight and the autopilot, the latter of which provides automatic flight handling assistance during weapons deployment to avoid negative tendencies such as nose droop.
For improved survivability, the radar signature is reduced due to the use of composite materials across the airframe and the use of the fenestron tail rather than a conventional tail rotor, low infrared paints are also typically applied to the exterior surfaces and jet exhaust dilution devices are installed on the engines to reduce the Panther’s infrared signature.
Damage resistance is increased by the adoption of self-sealing fuel tanks and armor-plated crew seating.
Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
Capacity: 10 troops
Length: 13.68 m (44 ft 11 in)
Height: 3.97 m (13 ft 0 in)
Empty weight: 2,380 kg (5,247 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 4,300 kg (9,480 lb)
Power plant: 2 × Turboméca Arriel 2C turboshaft, 635 kW (852 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)
Range: 827 km (514 mi, 447 nmi)
Endurance: 4.1 hours
Service ceiling: 5,865 m (19,242 ft)
Rate of climb: 8.9 m/s (1,750 ft/min)
Guns: M621 cannon 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon pods.
Rockets: 68 mm (2.677 in) or 70 mm (2.756 in) unguided rockets.
Matra Mistral air-to-air missiles.
AS 15 TT anti-shipping missiles.
HOT anti-tank missiles.
Mk46 or Whitehead A.244/S anti-submarine warfare torpedoes.
Aeroscopia Museum, Toulouse, France
Helicopters: An Illustrated History of Their Impact-Stanley McGowen
Jane’s pocket guide: Modern military helicopters- Tim Ripley