Eurocopter AS532 Cougar

AS532 Cougar
Eurocopter AS-532UL Cougar, France - Army (cropped).jpg
Eurocopter AS532 of the French Army
Role Medium utility military helicopter
National origin France
Manufacturer Aérospatiale
Airbus Helicopters
First flight September 1977
Introduction 1978
Status In service
Primary users French Air Force
Bulgarian Air Force
Turkish Air Force
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Produced 1977–present
Developed from Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma
Variants Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma
Developed into Eurocopter EC725

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.

Design and development

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.[1] 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.[2]


An Ecuadorian Army Cougar
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.[3]
AS532 SC
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.[3]
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 fulfill this gap.[4]


A Chilean Navy AS 532
A French Army AS532 Cougar
 Saudi Arabia
Eurocopter Cougar of the Slovenian Air Force.

Former operator



  • On 4 June, 1997, 11 military personnel were killed in Turkey when a Cougar helicopter was shot down with a 9K32 Strela-2 during an operation against the PKK near the Zap region, near Turkey's border with Iraq.
  • On 29 April, 2003, 4 military personnel were killed when a Cougar helicopter crashed into power lines during a training flight, in Isparta Turkey.
  • On 25 July, 2012, a Cougar helicopter during test flight has crashed in Southeastern France in a region called Verdon Gorge. The aircraft was bordered with test pilots and engineers of the manufacturer. The tragic incident killed 6 company personnel. The aircraft crashed was destined to the Albanian Armed Forces.[8][9]
  • On 1 June, 2017, 13 military personnel were killed in Turkey when a Cougar helicopter crashed into power lines shortly after take-off from a base near Turkey's border with Iraq.[10][11]
  • On 25 November, 2019, 13 French military personnel were killed in northern Mali when a Eurocopter Tiger helicopter collided with a Eurocopter AS532 Cougar.[12][13]
  • On 15 April, 2020, a Cougar helicopter operated by the French Army crashed during a training exercise. The crash caused the death of 2 military personnel on board and injured other 5.[14][15]
  • On 4 March, 2021 a Cougar helicopter crashed during severe weather conditions in eastern Turkey, killing 11 military personnel on board and injuring two others. The victims included Lt. Gen. Osman Erbas, a highly ranked army corps commander. Nine of the victims died at the crash site, while two died of their injuries in hospital.[16]

Specifications (AS532 UB)

Orthographically projected diagram of the AS332 Super Puma

Data from Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory[17]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 20 troops / 4,650 kg (10,251 lb) payload
  • Length: 15.53 m (50 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 4.92 m (16 ft 2 in)
  • Empty weight: 4,350 kg (9,590 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 9,000 kg (19,842 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines, 1,185 kW (1,589 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 15.6 m (51 ft 2 in)
  • Main rotor area: 206 m2 (2,220 sq ft)


  • Maximum speed: 249 km/h (155 mph, 134 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 239 km/h (149 mph, 129 kn)
  • Never exceed speed: 278 km/h (173 mph, 150 kn)
  • Range: 573 km (356 mi, 309 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 3,450 m (11,320 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 7.2 m/s (1,420 ft/min)

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ "Canadian Air Force – CH-149 Cormorant Purchase and operation details". Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Projet de loi de finances pour 2013 : Défense : équipement des forces" (in French). Senate of France. 22 November 2012. Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b Endres and Gething 2005, p. 487.
  4. ^ Goddard, Jacqueline (22 May 2019). "Explore Cougar Helicopters with Skycore Aviation - Skycore Aviation %". Skycore Aviation. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "World Air Forces 2019". Flightglobal Insight. 2019. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  6. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004", Flight International,, p. 59, archived from the original on 6 March 2016, retrieved 12 March 2013
  7. ^ "World's Air Forces 2004", Flight International,, p. 100, archived from the original on 1 February 2014, retrieved 12 March 2013
  8. ^ "France helicopter crash kills six". BBC News. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  9. ^ Reuters Staff (25 July 2012). "UPDATE 1-Six dead in helicopter crash in French Alps-police". Reuters. Retrieved 10 April 2021. {{cite news}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ Uludere Cougar Kazası (in Turkish).
  11. ^ 13 dead in Turkish military helicopter crash. Deutsche Welle, 12 May 2017
  12. ^ "Mali : treize militaires français tués dans l'accident de deux hélicoptères lors d'une opération de combat". France Bleu (in French). 26 November 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  13. ^ "French troops killed in helicopter crash in Mali". 26 November 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  14. ^ "French Army as532 Cougar crash during training". Helicopter Industry. 16 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  15. ^ "French army helicopter crash kills two soldiers, injures five". Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  16. ^ 11 killed in army helicopter crash in eastern Turkey. Canada CTV News, March 4, 2021
  17. ^ Taylor, M J H, ed. (1999). Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000 Edition. Brassey's. ISBN 1-85753-245-7.


  • Endres, Günter G. and Michael J. Gething. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide. HarperCollins UK, 2005. ISBN 0-00718-332-1.

External links

  • Airbus Helicopters AS532 ALe page
  • AS 532 U2/A2 Cougar Helicopter, Search and Rescue Variant Details
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