Airbus Helicopters has handed over the first production Cougar AS532 Ale helicopter to the Chilean Army (Ejército de Chile) at the recently concluded Feria Internacional Del Aire Y Del Espacio (FIDAE) air show in Santiago, Chile.
Cougar AS532 AL, which is the ninth Cougar helicopter to be delivered to the Chilean Army, is the latest member of the Cougar family and features the same four-axis autopilot and glass cockpit as the company's EC225 Super Puma.
Ejército de Chile aviation commander general Sergio Retamal said the delivery is an important day for Chilean aviation, and makes the Chilean Army the first operator of the new version of the Cougar.
"The Lamas we once flew were replaced by Pumas and now Cougars," Retamal said. "Thanks to these aircraft, we are a reliable ally for rescue operations and natural disaster response, among other missions."
Powered by two Turbomeca Makila 1a1 turboshaft engines, the Cougar AS532 AL is a multi-role helicopter designed for troop transport, medical evacuation and search-and-rescue (SAR) operations, UPI.com reports.
The helicopter can carry 25 fully equipped soldiers, and can also be outfitted with pod-mounted cannons and rocket launchers for military operations.
Approximately 20 AS532s are expected to be acquired by the Chilean Army in an effort to enhance vertical air mobility of troops, equipment and supplies, as reported by DefenseNews.
The Chilean Army's Aviation Command currently operates a mixed fleet of medium-lift helicopters, including SA330 Pumas, AS332 Super Puma and the AS532 AL.