Eurocopter AS550 Fennec is a light multi-purpose helicopter developed by Eurocopter Group specialists in 1990 and manufactured to date by the Airbus Helicopters Aircraft Corporation.
The development of the helicopter model Eurocopter AS550 Fennec began by French aircraft engineers in 1986. Over a very short period, specialists from the Eurocopter Group company managed to create a good multi-purpose aircraft, used mainly for special military operations, to combat enemy ground units, as well as to destroy lightly armored military equipment. However, in most cases, the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec helicopter is used by the armies of various countries to transport small armed groups for special operations and is also actively used for reconnaissance on the ground, providing fire cover and search and rescue operations.
When designing the helicopter, French engineers and designers relied on the Eurocopter AS350 model, but the design of the aircraft underwent significant changes, and the helicopter itself became more practical and reliable in terms of its operational capabilities.
Depending on the modification, as well as its intended purpose, the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec helicopter can carry up to 6 people on board – two pilots and four-armed and fully equipped soldiers. If the helicopter is supposed to be used for search and rescue operations, then, as a rule, this aircraft is designed for less capacity. In some situations, an aircraft of this model is also actively used for transportation of small cargoes with a total weight of up to 1030 kilograms.
Depending on the modification, the aircraft may possess such weapons as an automatic 20 mm. aircraft gun, 7.62 mm machine guns. or 12.7 mm., unguided, and guided missiles. However, in open collisions, because of its light armor, the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec helicopter is usually not used.
Depending on the modification, the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec helicopter can be equipped with one or two turboshaft engines capable of developing more than 850 hp. each. Options equipped with a single-engine are marked by French aircraft manufacturers as the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec, and versions with two engines are marked Eurocopter AS555 Fennec. Depending on the variant, the flight speed of this aircraft, as well as the maximum take-off weight may vary.
- Eurocopter AS550 C2 Fennec – the basic production version of the helicopter with light armor;
- Eurocopter AS550 U2 Fennec – A modified version of the Eurocopter AS550 C2 Fennec, not equipped with armor;
- Eurocopter AS550 C3 Fennec – An improved version of a military helicopter;
- Eurocopter AS555 AF Fennec 2 – twin-engine version of the helicopter. It has enhanced flight and technical characteristics, and allows you to place a bun on board up to 8 people;
- Eurocopter AS555 AN Fennec 2 – A modified version equipped with 20 mm. aircraft gun;
- Eurocopter AS555 AR Fennec 2 – modification equipped with a set of unguided missiles;
- Eurocopter AS555 MN Fennec 2 is a special version developed for work in the naval forces. It does not have armor protection;
- Eurocopter AS555 MR Fennec 2 – An improved version of the Eurocopter AS555 MN Fennec 2;
- Eurocopter AS555 SN Fennec 2 – an armored version of the helicopter developed by order of the French Navy;
- Eurocopter AS555 SR Fennec 2 – An improved version of the Eurocopter AS555 MN Fennec 2. It has armored protection;
- Eurocopter AS555 UN Fennec 2 – multi-purpose training and cargo version of the helicopter;
- Eurocopter AS555 UR Fennec 2 – transport version of the helicopter;
- Eurocopter AS555 SP Fennec 2 – A modified version developed for the Navy of Argentina.
- Crew: 2 people;
- Capacity: 4 people (depending on version);
- Length: 10.93 m. (Depending on version);
- Height: 3.34 m.;
- The diameter of the rotor: 10.7 m.;
- The mass of the empty helicopter: 1220 kg. (Depending on version);
- Maximum take-off weight: 2250 kg. (Depending on version);
- Cruising speed: 235 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight speed: 285 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight range: 648 km. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight height: 5280 m.;
- Powerplant: Turbomeca Arriel 2B (depending on the version);
- Power: 850 hp (Depending on version).