The Aérospatiale SA341G Gazelle is a small single-turbine-engine utility helicopter
that can accommodate up to two crew and three passengers. The Gazelle is operated on transport, scouting and light
attack duties. Development of the SA-341 Gazelle started in 1966 under Sud-Aviation banner as project X 300 to meet a
French army requirement for a light observation helicopter with seating for five people to replace the Alouette II.
Soon afterwards, the name SA 340 was adopted for the project when Sud-Aviation began working on the light observation
helicopter. While in the final design stages the SA 340 attracted British interest as a replacement of the Bell Sioux.
This British interest led to a joint development and production share-out agreement signed on 22 February 1967 and
officially confirmed on 2 April 1968. This share-out agreement was part of the franco-british agreement to licence
production that also included the Puma and Lynx helicopters. The Sud-Aviation SA-341 is the production derivate of
the SA-340, two prototypes of which have been tested. The first SA340 prototype c/n 340-01 had a traditional tail
rotor and performed its first flight with test-registration F-WOFH on 7 April 1967. It was powered by a Turboméca
Aztazou IIN turboshaft and equipped with a new semi-rigid rotor with composite blades developed in a cooperative
effort with Bolköw. The second SA-340 prototype c/n 340-02 featured the 13-blade shrouded anti-torque rotor, the
newly designed 'Fenestron' tail rotor instead of a conventional tail rotor, to be utilised by the SA-341, flew first
with test-registration F-ZWRA on 17 April 1968. Four pre-production SA341s were built, with the first, c/n 314-01 test
flown as F-ZWRH on 2 August 1968. The third pre-production SA341, c/n 341-03, was equipped to British Army requirements,
assembled and tested in France, and then re-assembled by Westland Helicopters Ltd in the UK as the prototype Gazelle AH.1.
As Gazelle AH.1 it was first flown at Yeovil as XW276 on 28 April 1970. As the SA341 Gazelle was interesting for both
the military and civilian market, CofA was requested. On 7 June 1972, National Certification of the Model SA 341 G was
given by the DGAC-F. On 27 April 1976, the more powerful Model SA 342 J was certified by DCAG. Over the years 1775
Gazelle helicopters were built in France by Sud Aviation / Aérospatiale / Eurocopter and under licence by Westland
Helicopters Ltd. in the United Kingdom as the Westland Gazelle; by SOKO in Yugoslavia as the SOKO HO-42 and variants;
and by the Arab British Helicopter Company (ABHCO) in Egypt as the ABHCO SA-342 Gazelle.
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.
The 1972-built Aérospatiale SA341G Gazelle c/n 1006 flew first with
test-registration F-WTNV. On 30 August 1974, the SA341G Gazelle was present at
the "Open Dag"of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at Twenthe AFB.
In 1976, the Aérospatiale SA341G c/n 1006 was converted to an Aérospatiale SA342J and was flown
as before by SNIAS as F-WTNV. Aérospatiale SA342J F-WTNV was not only used for tetst but also as demonstrator and in this
role it was the first helicopter used by the Rijkspolitie (Dutch Police Force). In that period, the Gazelle was marked with RIJKSPOLITIE titles
and was operated out of Driebergen. At the AVD police staion in Driebergen the Gazelle was parked in a garage next to
the in the Netherlands well known Porsche 911 Targa's of the AVD (Algemene Verkeers Dienst). On 25 July 1980, the helicopter was re-registered
F-GAMK with Aérospatiale Société Nationale Industrielle, Paris.
Over the years, the Aérospatiale SA342J Gazelle F-GAMK was operated by companies like Héli-Normandie.
On 28 November 1986, registration F-GAMK was cancelled as withdrawn from use and the aircraft was broken up.