Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Belgian Sud Aviation SA 318C Alouette II (Astazou), A-41

The Museum has sent Bristol 171 Sycamore Mk.14, XG547, to the Royal Military Museum in Brussels, in exchange for their Belgian Army Sud Aviation Alouette SA 318C, A-41, c/n 1958.

The Alouette arrived at The Museum on 19th February 2008, after travelling from Brussels on an Army low-loader, which returned to Belgium, with the Sycamore, two days later.

A-41 served with the Belgian Army, in liaison, photographic, communication and training roles from its delivery in 1967 until being withdrawn from service in 2005.

Thanks to Emiel Bronte for his copyright photo of A-41
Originally designed by Sud-Est to meet a number of civil and military requirements, the 3-seat Alouette I SE 3120, powered by a 200 hp Salmson radial piston engine, first flew in 1951 and promised to be an excellent aircraft for agricultural use. In 1953 a SE 3120 set world records for distance flown over a closed circuit without landing and for speed in a closed circuit.

Sud-Est Aviation (SNCASE) merged with Sud-Ouest Aviation (SNASCO), in 1957, to form Sud Aviation. In 1970 Sud became SNIAS and was re-named Aérospatiale from 1984. The helicopter divisions of Aérospatiale and MBB (Messerschmitt and Bölkow) merged to become Eurocopter in 1992.

Thanks to Nik Deblauwe for his photo of A-41 at Ostend in October 2003
As successor to the SE 3120, the SE 3130 (later known as SE 313B) Alouette II was the first turbine-powered helicopter in the world to go into production, the new machine having been completely re-designed to incorporate the more powerful 400 hp Turboméca Artouste I turbo- shaft in place of the Salmson engine. Flown for the first time on 12th March 1955, it soon went into quantity production, initially for the French forces but later for many other civil  and military customers, with a total of over 1300 Alouette IIs being reached in 1975 when production ceased.
In 1972 the Lama SA 315B variant setup a new world altitude record for helicopters of 12,442m.
The 5-seat Alouette II SA 3180 (later SA 318C), with the 530 hp Turboméca Astazou IIA turboshaft engine, the type now displayed in The Museum (above left and below left), was introduced in 1961. This development had the main gearbox and main rotor shaft unit from the Alouette III but retained the main and tail rotors of the original Alouette II.
In 1959 the first batch of seventeen Alouette     SE 3130s (later SA 313Bs) were bought by the Belgian Army to replace their Piper Cubs. Included in this batch were three Alouettes for use by the Congo 'Force Publique'. A second batch of twenty-two was ordered in 1960.
A third batch, of forty-two Astazou-engined 
SA 318C Alouette IIs, were ordered in 1967.
Agusta A109BA helicopters began to enter  Belgian Army service in 1988 and started to replace Alouette IIs in the medevac, observation and armed reconnaisance roles. Soon all the remaining Artouste-equipped machines were withdrawn from service.
A special ceremony of farewell to the Alouette II was held at Bierset, near Liege, on 9th September 2009 when the last three remaining machines in service with the Belgian Defence Forces, A-61, A-64 and A-69, took part in a flypast.
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