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Medium Transport Helicopter

Eurocopter Dauphin / Panther

Eurocopter Panther

Entered service in ?
Crew 2
Dimensions and weight
Weight (empty) 2.38 t
Maximum take off weight 4.3 t
Rotor diameter 11.94 m
Length 13.73 m
Height 4.06 m
Cargo load
Cargo load 1.6 t
Passengers 4 - 12 troops
Engines 2 x Turbomeca Ariel 2C
Engine power 2 x 800 hp
Maximum speed 306 km/h
Ferry range 800 km
Service ceiling 5 860 m

The Eurocopter Dauphin (Dolphin) is a replacement for the older Alouette III helicopter for both military and civil service, developed by Eurocopter Company. The prototype took its maiden flight in 1972. This twin-engine version - SA 365 - is a search and rescue (SAR) helicopter and can carry a minimum of two or a maximum of 13 people, depending on the mission.

The Dauphin is a medium multipurpose helicopter and also one of the most successfully designed aircraft. Widely used as for search and resucue, emergency medical services, corporate transport, policing, and news media, the HH-65 is a variation of Dauphin used by the US Coast Guard.

The SA 366G1 version of the Dolphin chopper selected by the USCG (United States Coast Guard) in the 1980s is the new air-sea rescue aircraft and named HH-65 Dolphin. A total of 99 helicopters were made for the SAR operations of the USCG and then acquired. However, the helicopters had to comply with US regulations related to locally produced parts and engineering improvisations, especially since the original Turbomeca engines needed replacement with Allied-Signal LTS-101-750B-2 power plants. The engine change was not successful and several in-flight tests resulted in loss-of-power events. In event of the failures, USCG decided to convert the HH-65 into Multimission Cutter helicopter and also decided to replace the Allied-Signal engines with Arriel 2C2 Unites from Turbomeca. Thus in 2004, the process of changing the engines began again and is still under progress in 2006. These new Dolphin helicopters named HH-65Cs are safer, reliable, and more efficient.

Eurocopter Panther landing troops Another variant of the Dolphin SA 361 is the AS 365N3. Currently under production for use by USCG, the AS 365N3 has an Arriel 2C turbo shaft and equipped with a self-activating digital electronic control (FADEC). The Victoria Police Air Wing in Australia is also using the Dauphin AS 365N3s and SA 365Cs helicopters.

The Eurocopter Panther is the military version of the Dauphin. The SA 361 is an improved version of the SA 360 and has been developed for 'hot and high' conditions with greater payload facility. Though the SA 361 series was never manufactured, some prototypes of the variants have been built. The SA 361H is the military variant of the SA 361. It can carry up to eight hot anti-tank missiles and though built, was never produced for use.

China's Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation also has the permission to manufacture the Dolphin helicopter under a special license, as the Z-9. The company has also developed the WZ-9 and the WZ-9A-100, which are the combat versions of the Dauphin and are frequently used by the military.

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