About

The original Gazelle helicopter was designed for the French Army as a lightweight observation helicopter, however, early on in the aircraft’s development, the decision was taken to enlarge the helicopter to enable greater versatility and make it more attractive for the export market. The first prototype SA 340 flew on 7 April 1967, initially with a conventional tail rotor taken from the Alouette II. This tail was replaced in early 1968 with the distinctive fenestron tail on the second prototype.

Even in its development process the Gazelle had attracted British interest and this led to a deal between Aerospatiale and Westland, which allowed the production in Britain of 292 Gazelles SA 341’s, of which 262 were for the British armed forces. The deal also included Aérospatiale Puma’s for UK and allowed the French a work share in the manufacture of the 40 Westland Lynx naval helicopters for the French Navy.

 

Versions

SA340 Gazelle 1967
SA341B Gazelle AH.1 1972 Westland built version for the British Army and Royal Marines. 212 built. Featured the Astazou IIIN engine, a nightsun searchlight and Decca Dopp
SA341C Gazelle HT.2 1972 training version built by Westland for the Royal Navy
Soko Gazelle 1973 Local designations former Yugoslavia. HI-42 = recce HN-42 = anti tank HO-42 = utility HS-42 = rescue. More than 160 SA341 and SA342 Gazelle were produced under license by the Soko plant in Mostar from 1971 to 1991
SA341D Gazelle HT.3 1973 training version built by Westland for the RAF
SA341F Gazelle 1973 version for the French Army. 170 built by Aerospatiale to replace the Alouette 2. 40 converted to SA341M equipped with HOT 1 antitank missiles
SA341G Gazelle 1973 Civil variant powered by an Astazou IIIA engine. The SA341G was the first helicopter to obtain single-pilot IFR Cat 1 approval in the US.
SA341H Gazelle 1973 Military export variant powered by an Astazou IIIB engine including a license built in Yugoslavia by SOKO
SA342K Gazelle 1973 Military version of the SA342J powered by Astazou XIV engine and shrouds over the air intakes for Kuwait
SA341E Gazelle HCC.4 1976 VIP version by Westland for the RAF to be used by 32 Squadron. One Built and three converted
SA342J Gazelle 1980 Civil version powered by Astazou XIV engine
SA342L Gazelle 1980 Military version of the SA342J powered by Astazou XIV-H engine
SA342M Gazelle 1980 Military version of the SA342J powered by Astazou XIV-M engine for France. Fitted with 4 HOT anti-tank missiles
SA342M1 Gazelle 1985 Similar to SA342M but with the three Ecureuil main blades to improve performance (MTOW increased to 2100kg)

Specifications

  • 5 seat turbine helicopter
  • Fuselage length 9.53 m
  • Height 3.18 m
  • Rotor Diameter 10.5 m
  • Maximum Speed 164 knots
  • Cruising Speed 125-130 knots
  • Endurance 3h00 with 450 liter tank or 3h20 with 540 liter JET-A1 total capacity
  • Engine Turbomeca Astazou IIIA, IIIB, IIIC2 or IIIN2 on SA341
  • Engine Turbomeca Astazou XIVH or XIVM on SA342
  • Power 592 hp on SA341 or 870 hp on SA342
  • MTOW is 1800kg on SA341 or 1900kg on SA342

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 310 km/h (190 mph, 170 kn) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 264 km/h (164 mph, 143 kn) max cruise at sea level
  • economical cruise speed: 233 km/h (145 mph, 126 kn)
  • Range: 361 km (224 mi, 195 nmi) at sea level with maximum fuel
  • Range with pilot and 500 kg (1,100 lb): 233 km (145 mi, 126 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,000 m (16,000 ft)
  • Hover ceiling IGE: 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
  • Hover ceiling OGE: 2,000 m (6,600 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 9 m/s (1,800 ft/min) max at sea level
  • Disk loading: 19.5 kg/m2 (4.0 lb/sq ft)

Records

  • Speed over a closed circuit of 100km without payload
    1971: 296.00 km/h
    Denis PROST (France) - Aérospatiale SA341 Gazelle
  • Speed over a straight 3 km course at restricted altitude
    1971: 310.00 km/h
    Denis PROST (France) - Aérospatiale SA341 Gazelle
  • Speed over a straight 15/25 km course
    1971: 312.00 km/h
    Denis PROST (France) - Aérospatiale SA341 Gazelle