Atlas Oryx is a South African multi-purpose military transport helicopter developed by Atlas Aircraft Corporation in 1986.
The design of the Atlas Oryx model aircraft began with South African aircraft developers from Atlas Aircraft Corporation, now referred to as Denel Aviation in the early 80s of the last century. The model base of the French multi-purpose aircraft Aerospatiale Puma, which successfully proved itself during operation, was taken as the initial base.
The external design of the Atlas Oryx helicopter compared to the Aerospatiale Puma model was partially changed, however, in general, the similarities of the two aircraft are clearly visible.
The initiator of the development of the Atlas Oryx aircraft was the military command of the South African Armed Forces, which intended to operate this aircraft for the transport of goods and military personnel, or as a fire support helicopter from the air, capable of waging an effective fight against unarmored vehicles and the enemy manpower.
The first flight tests of the Atlas Oryx helicopter were made by aircraft developers from the Atlas Aircraft Corporation in 1986, and since 1987, this aircraft was sent to mass production, where it was until 1991.
Due to its functional features, the scope of use of the Atlas Oryx helicopter is very limited, however, this aircraft is perfect for most military, but not combat missions. In addition to transporting military personnel, the Atlas Oryx helicopter can also be used for search and rescue operations, which in fact provides all the required multi-purpose applications.
One of the most negative qualities of the Atlas Oryx helicopter is its relatively low maneuverability, which did not allow the use of this aircraft as a combat unit.
The cabin of the Atlas Oryx aircraft can accommodate up to 23 people, including three helicopter crew members, as well as 20 equipped military personnel, while, in fact, the aircraft can carry a heavy load, however, due to restrictions on the amount of free space, this does not seem possible.
The Atlas Oryx helicopter can transport up to 4 tons of payload on its board, which is very acceptable, while cargo can be transported both inside the aircraft itself and on an external hitch.
The power plant of the Atlas Oryx aircraft consists of two Turbomeca Makila IA1 gas turbine aircraft engines, each of which can develop a thrust of 1900 hp, which in turn allows the helicopter to cover distances of 2000 kilometers (cruising distance) at a cruising flight speed of 280 km \ h.
In the combat version, the armament of the Atlas Oryx helicopter includes two 7.62 mm machine guns installed in the doorways of the aircraft, which accordingly also leads to an increase in the minimum crew to 5 people.
- Crew: 3 people;
- Capacity: 20 people (depending on layout);
- The length of the helicopter: 15.45 m.;
- Helicopter height: 5.14 m.;
- The diameter of the rotor: 15.6 m.;
- Empty helicopter mass: 3600 kg .;
- Maximum take-off weight: 8000 kg .;
- Cruising speed: 280 km \ h.;
- Maximum flight speed: 310 km \ h.;
- Maximum flight range: 2000 km .;
- Maximum flight height: 7160 m.;
- Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Makila IA1;
- Power: 2 × 1900 hp.