The UK's Special Air Service (SAS), the elite unit of the Army Air Corps, has taken delivery of a fifth Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin. Industry sources tell HeliHub.com that the upcoming Olympics in London has inter alia placed additional responsibilities on the SAS, hence the need for the extra aircraft. It is expected to take up the military serial ZJ784 in due course, following on from the others which are ZJ780 through ZJ783. The fleet are maintained by FB Heliservices at Shawbury.
The first four Dauphins were delivered bY Eurocopter UK between October 2008 and January 2009. This latest aircraft was cancelled from the UK civil register just yesterday and is coincidentally the very next serial number (6823) off the production line to the last of the original batch and not just off the production line. The reason behind this is that the aircraft was delivered from the factory in France to Eurocopter's UK subsidiary in August 2008 on the expectation of a sale, but has instead sat there in primer all of the time since until the military bought it.
The Dauphins replaced four Agusta A109A helicopters, the first two of which were war spoils from the Falklands War in 1982. Within a short time a second pair was added, and all four were withdrawn from use as the Dauphins were introduced. They are now either in storage or awaiting display in museums. One is known to be with the School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering at Arborfield, Berkshire, while two others are expected to be displayed in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton and the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop. The fourth is used for ground instruction at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield.
The photos accompanying this article are aircraft in the original batch. The photo below is with due credit to Dave Haines, while the flying shot is from Richard Trinder. The copyright of each remains with the photographers.
Jeremy Parkin - HeliHub.com
- 02-Mar-14 Eurocopter MH-65C Washington Island, US-Wisconsin
- Rockwell Collins to provide US Coast Guard MH-65E fleet Radar Sensor System solution
- Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter flies 7500th mission
- Turbomeca signs first SBH contract for Indian offshore operation
- 21-Jan-14 6578 Eurocopter HH-65C New Haven Township, US-Michigan
- 18-Jan-14 VT-ELD Eurocopter AS365N Birbhum, India
- 04-Jan-14 ZS-HOS Eurocopter AS365 Cape Town, South Africa
- 17-Dec-13 Eurocopter AS365N Guwahati, India
- Dalian Police receive second Eurocopter EC155
- Pentastar Aviation completes three 600-hour inspections on EC155s
- Christie to supply projectors for German Federal Police EC155/AS332 flight training devices
- AMMROC and Eurocopter complete the overhaul/modification of the first AS565 Panther
- 20-Nov-13 VT-ELR Eurocopter AS365N Chowra Island, India
- 06-Nov-13 OY-HJJ Eurocopter EC155 Clipper Field, UK
- Eurocopter confirms HeliHub.com report of Lithuanian AS365 sale
- Eurocopter to attend Seoul ADEX 2013
- Lithuania orders three AS365s for SAR
- Maryland State Police confirm pilot error in Dauphin wheels-up landing
- 14-Oct-13 JA15KM Eurocopter AS365N3 Kumamoto, Japan
- 05-Oct-13 F-WTAZ Eurocopter AS365 Grand Central, South Africa