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Description: The Aerospatiale, thereafter Eurocopter and now Airbus Helicopters, SA 330 Puma is a medium lift multi-purpose helicopter designed in the 1960s to meet the requirements of the French Army for an all-weather transport helicopter. The prototype flew for the first time on April 15, 1965. The first production aircraft performed its maiden flight in September 1968. The United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF) joined the SA 330 Puma program through an agreement signed in 1967. In 1981, Aerospatiale introduced the second generation Puma featuring stretched fuselage and more powerful engines. Known as the AS 332 Super Puma or AS 552 Cougar, the prototype first flew in September 1978. The third generation of the Puma helicopter family developed by Eurocopter first flew in November 2000. The civil version is called EC 225 Super Puma and the military version EC 725 Cougar. These aircraft feature a five-bladed main rotor, more powerful engines, state-of-the-art avionics, glass cockpit, more cabin room and improved performance. The EC 225 and EC 725 helicopters achieved initial operational capability in 2004/2005. More than 1,000 Puma/Super Puma/Cougar helicopters have been produced for customers worldwide.
The Airbus Helicopters EC225e is a new twin-engine variant of the Super Puma family announced at Heli-Expo (California) on February 16, 2014. The EC225e features 550 kg of additional payload, an additional fuel tank for very long range flights, new cabin layout for improved passenger comfort, new avionics to reduce pilot's workload and two new Turbomeca Makila 2B turboshaft engines. The EC225e helicopter will offer an extended range by 50 nautical miles with 19 passengers compared with the basic EC225 model. The new helicopter is slated for certification in late 2015 with the first customer delivery expected by mid-2016.
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