Eurocopter has announced that Bulgaria has signed an important contract for the
purchase of 12 As 532 AL Cougar for the Bulgarian Air Force and 6 AS 565 MB
Panther helicopters for the Bulgarian Navy.
All these aircraft will be delivered between 2006 and 2009. The first three
Cougar helicopters are due for delivery to the Bulgarian Air Force by end 2006.
Eight Cougars are intended for tactical transport missions and the four others
will fly combat search and rescue (SAR) missions.
six Panthers will perform sea surveillance and SAR missions, along with more
common anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface operations on behalf of the
Bulgarian Navy. These acquisitions are the result of Bulgaria entry into NATO
structure in March 2004. Cougars will play a vital role inside the Bulgarian
armed forces assisting NATO and UN forces in international peacekeeping
Both aircraft are twin-engine types with Cougar relying on Makila 1A1 engine and
Panther on Arriel 2C turboshaft, both engines from Turbomeca. Cougar AL variant
can be equipped with side and pod mounted guns and rocket launchers providing
secondary fire support capability.
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