Design of the SA 315B Lama began in late 1968, initially to meet a requirement of the Indian armed forces, and a prototype was flown for the first time on 17 March 1969. French certification was granted on 30 September 1970 and FAA Type Approval on 25 February 1972. The Lama combines features of the Alouette II and III, having the airframe (with some reinforcement) of the former and the dynamic components, including the Artouste power plant and rotor system, of the AS 316 Alouette III. During demonstration flights in the Himalayas in 1969 a Lama, carrying a crew of two and 140 kg (308 lb) of fuel, made the highest landings and take-offs ever recorded, at a height of 7,500 m (24,600 ft). On 21 June 1972, a Lama set a helicopter absolute height record of 12,442 m (40,820 ft). The pilot was Jean Boulet, holder of the previous record in an SE 3150 Alouette. The production Lama is capable of transporting an external load of 1,135 kg (2,500 lb) at an altitude of more than 2,500 m (8,200 ft). In an agricultural role, it can be fitted with spraybars and an underbelly tank of 1,135 litres (300 US gallons; 250 Imp gallons) capacity, developed jointly by Aerospatiale Helicopter Corporation and Simplex Manufacturing Company. The tank is equipped with an electrical emergency dump system. An alternative agricultural installation, using two side-mounted glass fibre tanks of Simplex manufacture, was shown for the first time at the 1976 US National Agriculture Aviation Association convention. Up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) of liquid chemicals can be carried in these tanks, which weigh 132 kg (290 lb) empty. A high-performance electric pump dispenses up to 455 litres (120 US gallons; 100 Imp gallons)/min at 2.06 bars (30 lb/sq in) boom pressure. A total of 407 Lamas was manufactured by Aerospatiale and production is now only carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India. Helibras of Brazil produced seven SA 315B helicopters. HAL had produced a total of 222 by 31 March 1993.


SE 3130 Alouette II: Initial version with Turbomeca Artouste II C6 360 shp engine derated from 530 shp. SA 313B Alouette II: Designation applied to post 1957 helicopter. SA 315B Lama: Version to which description applies with Turbomeca Artouste IIIB 562 shp (derated from 870 shp) engines. SA 318C Alouette II: Version with Turbomeca Astazou IIA 360 shp (derated from 530 shp) engine. For more details see separate entry in this section. HAL Cheetah: Licence-built version of SA 315B manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India. Helibras HB 315B Gaviao: Licence-built version of SA 315B manufactured by Helibras in Brazil.


Versions of the SA 315B are in service with the armed forces of the following countries: Angola (2), Argentina (4), Chile (17), Ecuador (3), India (HAL Cheetah - 58), Morocco (2), Pakistan (15), Peru (5) and Togo (3).


Glazed cabin has light metal frame. Centre and rear of fuselage have a triangulated steel tube framework. Rotor system and drive as for Alouette III.


Skid type, with removable wheels for ground manoeuvring. Pneumatic floats for normal operation from water, and emergency flotation gear, inflatable in the air, are available.


One 649 kW (870 shp) Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft engine, derated to 410 kW (550 shp). Fuel tank in fuselage centre-section, with capacity of 575 litres (152 US gallons; 127 Imp gallons), of which 573 litres (151 US gallons; 126 Imp gallons) are usable.

Glazed cabin seats pilot and passenger side by side in front and three passengers behind. Provision for external sling loads of up to 1,135 kg (2,500 lb). Can be equipped for rescue (hoist capacity 160 kg; 352 lb). Liaison, observation, training, agricultural, photographic and other duties. As an ambulance can accommodate two stretchers and a medical attendant.

LENGTH (m) : 12.92
HEIGHT (m) : 3.09
MAX T-O WEIGHT (kg) : 2300
MAX LEVEL SPEED (knots) : 103
MAX RANGE (nm) : 278
MAX RATE CLIMB (m/min) : 330