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.
The SAR (Search and Rescue)
flight of the Royal Netherlands Air Force was established in 1959 as
part of the 298sqdn and operated 8 Alouette II for their SAR and TAR
tasks. In 1966, the Alouette II was replaced by 5 Alouette III
helicopters. The SAR flight was based at Ypenburg, with one of the
helicopters stationed at Terschelling. On 23 September 1968, the SAR
flight moved to Soesterberg and the TAR task was replaced by a
photography task. On 30 June 1977, the SAR-flight moved to Leeuwarden
and the photography task was dropped. The 1966-built Sud-Est SE.3160
Alouette III c/n 1381 was testflown in Marignane as F-WKQC. On 8 July 1966, this Alouette III was delivered as H-81
"Fred" to the SAR flight. After the four remaining Alouette III helicopters of the SAR Flight of the Royal
Netherlands Air Force were replaced by three Agusta Bell AB-412SP in 1994, the H-81 was withdrawn
from use on 18 March 1994. Alouette III H-81 was sold to the Pakistan Navy "138" on 9 August 1994.
The SAR-flight Alouette III H-81 was photographed at Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands 26 April 1990.