- Aircraft and helicopters
Eurocopter AS-532U2 Cougar MK II transport helicopter
The Defence Helicopter Command has 17 AS-532U2 Cougar transport helicopters for transport of personnel and materiel. External loads can be slung under the body. The Cougars can be used for maritime operations (from a ship) and can be equipped with inflatable floats to be able to float on the water in the event of an emergency. The helicopter's tasks include troop transport, resupply, medical transport and firefighting.
Length 16.79 m (without rotor)
Height 4.6 m (4.97 with rotor)
Width 3.86 m (without rotor)
External with turning rotor 19.5 x 16.2 m
- articulated spheriflex
- main rotor 4 blades, diameter 16.2 m, 265 rpm
- tail rotor 4 blades, diameter 3.15 m, 1,279 rpm
Engines: 2 x Turbomeca Makila 1A2 Turboshaft. The engines have a Digital Engine Control Unit. An Integrated Flight and Display System has been integrated into the cockpit.
- maximum continuous 1,236 kW
- maximum on take-off 1,376 kW for 5 minutes
- maximum continous single engine 1,420 kW
- in emergencies 1,467 kW for 2 minutes
- in emergencies 1,573 kW for 30 seconds
7,300 kg including fuel; maximum 9,750 kg (with internal load); maximum 10,500 kg (with external load)
- MSL/ISA- Mean Sea Level/International Standard Atmosphere;
- Vne (max.) 170 kts (315 km/h);
- fast Cruise 155 kts (287 km/h);
- eco cruise 140 kts (260 km/h).
Flight range maximum of approx. 800 km (without reserve fuel)
Manufacturer Eurocopter France (ECF)
Flight ceiling maximum 6,095 m (20,000 ft)
Crew 2 pilots and a loadmaster
Passengers: standard configurations (for the air force Cougars):
- crew + 20 passengers;
- crew + 16 troops with backpack and personal weapon.
- crew operational (4) + 10 troops with full packs; 14 troops without packs
- crew standard (4) + nurse + physician/anaesthetist + 3 patients sitting + 3 patients on stretchers.
External load maximum 3,000 kg
Colour camouflage pattern or grey (starting in 2008)
In use with Royal Netherlands Air Force
The history of the Cougar dates back to the French-British SA 330 Puma helicopter. This 1965-vintage medium-weight tactical support helicopter was intended primarily for transporting personnel and materiel directly into the combat zone. The French branch of Eurocopter later extended the Puma and made it heavier. The AS 332 Super Puma was the result. That was later modified to create a specific military version: the Cougar.
The Cougar transport helicopters are equipped with an extensive self-protection suite. One of the self-protection systems is the Integrated Self-protection System (ISPS). That computer-operated system consists of the Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS), the Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), and an Advanced Countermeasures Set (ACMS).
The MAWS gives warning if the helicopter is threatened by a missile attack. The system can analyse the missile threat on the basis of UV emissions. The RWR ensures that the crew is warned if it is being tracked by a radar system. The system recognises airborne radars in aircraft and missiles as well as radar from ground-based systems. The ACMS ejects the correct countermeasures to deal with the threat.
The Cougar also has flares (linked to the MAWS) and chaff (linked to the RWR). Flares are a kind of torch that give off intense heat. They can be fired from six special containers to mislead a missile. Chaff is a type of cloud of silver paper used to counter radar emissions. In addition to firing off chaff, the helicopter will also take evasive manoeuvres.
Depending on the mission, the crew of the Cougar can be increased by the addition of a door gunner. The loadmaster and door gunner operate the FN MAG 7.62 mm on-board weapons mounted in the side door.
The 2-engine Cougar has a 4-bladed main rotor and a long, flowing shape. The helicopter has retractable landing gear and the main wheels are located in so-called sponsons at the rear of the body. The sliding doors on the side make it easier to enter and leave the helicopter.
The Cougar has been deployed in many missions over the years. In 2001 and 2002, Cougars took part in the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2004, Cougars took over the tasks of the Chinook helicopter detachment in Iraq. The Cougars transported personnel and materiel and were on 24-hour standby as medevac for the Dutch Battle Group. Cougars also provided support during the first free elections in Iraq with the transport of ballots from As Salman and Bussaya to As Samawah. Cougar helicopters also flew in Afghanistan from April 2006 to mid-2010 in support of Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) as part of the ISAF operation.
Along with the Chinook, the Cougar can also be used for firefighting. Both of those helicopter types can be fitted with so-called 'fire buckets'. Fire buckets are flexible water containers that can be hung under the helicopter. The fire bucket for the Cougar has a volume of 2,500 litres. 2 Cougars were deployed to fight fires in Portugal in August 2005 and in Greece in August 2007.
The Cougars are stationed at Gilze-Rijen Air Base and are part of 300 Squadron. Along with 298 Squadron (Chinook) and 301 Squadron (Apaches), they are an important part of the Defence Helicopter Command.