The Aérospatiale SE-3160 Alouette III is a single-engined utility
helicopter that can accommodate up to 7 passengers. The Alouette III was
derived from the Alouette II featuring a more powerful turboshaft and
enlarged cabin. Development of the SE.3160 Alouette III started in the
late 50s under Sud-Aviation banner. The first of two prototypes, Sud-Est SE-3160
c/n 001 F-ZWVQ, powered by one 550 hp Turboméca Artouste IIIB turboshaft,
was flown on 28 February 1959. Four pre-production machines followed the
prototypes, and the first production helicopter of this type, SE-3160
c/n 1001, was delivered as UB-6101 to Burmese Air Force on 25 July 1961.
In the military role, the Alouette III was used either to transport six
fully equipped troops or as an assault helicopter. Certification was
achieved on 12 December 1961. The initial SE-3160 Alouette III remained
in production until 1969, when it was replaced by the improved SA-316B
Alouette III. The Alouette III was developed over the years and remained
in production until 1985. Over 1450 helicopters of the different
versions of the Alouette III were built, including production under
licence in India, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Romania and Switzerland.
On 1 January 1970, Sud-Aviation was merged with a number of other
French aerospace companies to form the SNIAS (Société Nationale
Industrielle Aérospatiale). From 1984, SNIAS operated under the name of
Aérospatiale. The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and
Aerospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter
Group. As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA)
and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed
EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting
all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.
In the eighties and nineties, Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen of the Royal Netherlands Air Force
used Hoogeveen airfield in the Netherlands as base for a week during the exercise sluipvliegen during March and September.
On 22 February 1990, Sud-Est SE.3160 Alouette III A-499 of the
Royal Netherlands Air Force 300 squadron, in the colors of the "Grasshoppers" demo team, was photographed
at Hoogeveen during this exercise. Alouette III A-499 was owned by the Royal Netherlands Army, but
operated by the RNethAF. Alouette III s/n 1499 was assembled by Lichtwerk Hoogeveen and
entered service as A-499 with 298 squadron of Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GpLV) on
21 June 1968. Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GpLV) was in fact the Army
operating within the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In 1979, the aircraft
was transferred to 300 sqdn. Alouette III A-499 was withdrawn from use
on 18 March 1996. The helicopter was sold in the USA and registered
N499RA with Roberts Aircraft Company as an Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III on 11 May 1996. After the
Alouette III was exported to Venezuela, registration N499RA was
cancelled on 2 September 1997.