On June 2 the Eurocopter AS365 N3+ Dauphin, the new helicopter of the Lithuanian Air Force landed at Šiauliai Airbase. This is the first of the three Search And Rescue (SAR) helicopters contracted for by the Lithuanian Armed Forces together with the Ministry of Environment from European Union (EU) funds. Eurocopter is planned to deliver and hand over the second and the third helicopters to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by the end of the year.
«We are retiring dated Russian-manufactured helicopters and continue to fit up our armed forces with western equipment. It matters to us that our pilots will fly more up-to-date, new and more efficient aircraft», Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas says. Minister also underscored that the first helicopter will also serve to fulfil Lithuania’s commitment to the nations completing the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission by ensuring SAR function.
As laid out in the arrangement of cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Lithuanian Armed Forces is committed to use no less than 75 flight hours for environmental observation and control annually. The AS365 N3+ Dauphin rotorcraft, delivered to the Lithuanian Air Force by the Airbus Helicopter, will complete environmental monitoring and control from the air tasks and SAR missions: search for people lost at sea, extinguish fires, transport patients or organs for transplantation, support state and municipal institutions in emergencies.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces signed the procurement contract with Airbus Helicopter on three Eurocopter AS365 N3+ Dauphins in October 2013. The total value of the contract amounts to roughly EUR 52 million. The price includes purchasing price of the three helicopters, all related equipment, training of pilots and maintenance personnel, and three-year after-sales services.
Lithuania is not the first European Union member state that has used EU funding for purchasing helicopters. Earlier, Spain bought rotary-wing aircraft in the same manner. Also, many European countries practise buying dual use goods to save and to the end of an economical effect.
AS365 N3+ Dauphin
The AS365 N3+ belongs to the Dauphin family, which is well known for its unique design. This medium helicopter has proven its ability to perform any kind of mission, anywhere in the world. It even excels in the most severe climatic conditions, such as high altitudes or hot temperatures.
The standard AS365 N3+ is fitted with the unique Airbus Helicopters 4-axis autopilot to ease crew workload and help simplify the most demanding missions, including SAR. It also features excellent forward visibility during an approach.
The AS365 N3+ is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2C turbine engines fitted with a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system. Not only can this aircraft take off in ground effect at maximum weight and in temperatures of up to +50°C, but it is also capable of taking off with a full load from sea level in Category A conditions.
The AS365 N3+ incorporates the all-composite Fenestron tail rotor, which provides safety, high manoeuvrability, exceptional efficiency and low sound level during flight. The Fenestron is also an unparalleled safety equipment for ground crew. Its sound emission is rated at 3.1 EPN decibels below the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, making it the quietest helicopter in its category.
|Crew||single/dual-pilot Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or single/dual-pilot Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)|
|Passenger transportation||2 pilots + up to 12 passengers with comfort seats|
|Corporate transportation||2 pilots + up to 8 passengers with Executive layout|
|VIP transportation||2 pilots + up to 7 passengers with VIP layout|
|Casualty evacuation||1 or 2 pilots, 2 stretchers and 4 seats|
|Maximum Takeoff weight (internal or external load)||4,300 kg/9,480 lbs (All configurations)|
|External load capacity||1,600 kg/3,527 lbs|
|Useful load||1,926 kg/4,246 lbs|
|2 Turbomeca Arriel 2C, turboshaft engines, FADEC|
|Maximum power per engine (OEI 30-second rating)||717 kW/961 shp|
|PERFORMANCE AT MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT, SL, ISA|
|Maximum speed (Vne – never exceed speed)||155 knots/178 mph/287 km/h|
|Recommended Cruise Speed (RCS)||145 knots/167 mph/269 km/h|
|Rate of climb||1,321 feet/min/6.7 m/s|
|Range with optional auxiliary tanks (at RCS 145 knots/167 mph/269 km/h)||498 NM/573.5 miles/923 km|
|Endurance||4 h 45 min|
Its low vibration level and high flight stability provide working comfort for medical attendants and a smooth ride for patients