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Aerospatiale SA-321K Super Frelon

The real helicopter

ID

Type Medium transport helicopter
Manufacturing Country France
Dimensions Rotor span: 18.90 m, Fuselage length: 19.40 m, Height: 4.93 m
Performance Max. speed: 240 kph, Range: 650 km
Weight Empty: 6,540 kg ,Max. weight: 12,500 kg
Engine Three Turbomeca Turmo III C6 engines rated at 1,550 hp. each

General Description
A multi-purpose, three engine medium transport helicopter made in France, that served in Heyl Ha’avir for almost a quarter of a century.

The service at the Israeli Air Force
The IAF’s order of battle in the 1960s included assault helicopters of one model only: the Sikorky S-58. This helicopter, however, had a limited carry capacity, which in turn limited its operational use. It could only carry a single squad of troops, for example, without the equipment and armaments that ground troops usually carry along with them. An urgent need thus arose for a heavy transport chopper – which could also free the transport planes (Dakota, Nord, Stratocruiser) for other missions.

Israeli-French military cooperation was quite close in the mid-1960’s, and the Israeli purchase personnel turned to Paris for a solution. In early 1965, an Israeli delegation arrived at France’s Test Flight Center, for basic training in flying the Super Frelon. The delegation was made up of both air and ground crews from the S-58 squadron, who would form the backbone of a new squadron, that would be made up solely of Super Frelons. The squadron was established in January of 1966, under the command of Maj. Hayim Naveh – formerly commander of the S-58 squadron.

In the Six Day War the IAF had four Super-Frelons and eight pilots, who had not yet completed their course of training. Nonetheless, the helicopters were used in complex medevac and equipment/ammunition transport missions. Towards the end of the war, the Super Frelons had the privilege of being the first Israeli aircraft to land at Sharm a-Sheikh. On June 7th 1967, in Operation ‘Urim’, they landed 150 paratroopers there, under the command of Col. Davidi.

In the course of the war, the Super Frelons were also sent to lend assistance to the USS ‘Liberty’, which was mistakenly identified as an enemy ship, attacked and badly damaged by Israeli planes and ships – leaving 34 American seamen dead and many others injured. The ‘Liberty’ refused the aid offered, and the Super Frelons turned back.

All in all, the Super Frelon squadron carried out 41 sorties during the war, accumulating 112 daytime flight hours and 41 nighttime flight hours.

During the War of Attrition (1968-1970) the Super Frelons were used on many missions, and the number of Super Frelons in the IAF grew. On the evening of October 21st 1967, Egyptian ‘Styx’ missiles hit the Israeli destroyer ‘Eilat’, off the shores of the Sinai. The ship began sinking, and Super Frelons were dispatched to rescue its crew. The scene of the operation was lit up by flares dropped by Nord Noratlases. About 150 seamen were pulled out of the water, and 24 of those were evacuated aboard the Super Frelons.

In the Yom Kippur War, the Super Frelons served as a backup force for the ‘Yas’ur’ helicopters. They were used for liason and secondary transport assignments, but also landed commandos on Mount Hermon in the Golan, in Operation ‘Kinuah’ (‘Dessert’).

The Super Frelons were also employed in Operation ‘Peace for the Galilee’ in 1982 – but the details have yet to be cleared for publication.

In 1991, the Super Frelons were retired from active service. There is one flight-ready Super Frelon in the IAF Museum at Hatzerim.

Development Process
In the late 1950’s, engineers at Sud Aviation (later Aerospatiale) were developing a transport helicopter, in response to a request from the heads of the French Navy. The helicopter was intended to execute a variety of marine operations, including anti-submarine warfare. It was named the ‘Super Alouette’ at first, with the name later being changed to SE-3200 Frelon (Wasp).

The first Frelon prototype flew in 1959, but the its performance was disappointing, and an improved model, the SA-3210 Super Frelon, was designed. The chopper, which had been developed using French, American and Italian know-how, differed from the Frelon in its main rotor design, the tail rotor, the engine setup and the main transmission box.

The new prototype held its first test flight at the Sud Aviation plant in Marnian. Its landing gear was fixed, without any floats (the prototype fitted with floats made its debut flight in 1963). The idea was to create a much faster helicopter, and its shape and aerodynamic profile were changed accordingly. It worked: in July of 1963, the Super Frelons broke the Sikorsky choppers’ speed records, and became the world’s fastest helicopters.

The first serial Super Frelon flew on November 30th 1965. It boasted a radar, accurate navigation systems, an automatic pilot and anti-submarine systems. The Super Frelons were produced until 1980. Besides Israel, the transport versions of the helicopter were sold to South Africa, Libya, Malta, China, Iraq, Zaire and Syria.

Source IAF

The model

Brand: Heller
Title: SA 321 Super Frelon
Number: 496
Scale: 1:35
Released: 1979 | Rebox (Changed box only)
Type: Full kit