IAR-330L gallery

Romania marked a milestone in East-West relations during the Cold War when obtained the license to manufacture a helicopter of French origin. This operation allowed Romania to have some autonomy in defensive matters regarding the USSR, something quite curious.
The IAR-330L can carry up to 16 soldiers or 1 ton of cargo and from the beginning decided to prepare this model to be easily armed with 23mm guns, rockets, anti-tank missiles and even light bombs. Currently there are 36 examples in service with the Romanian Air Force.
The performance of IAR-330L are in some cases superior to those of their French counterparts, proving that they are not only a copy, but the interest in improving the original design as much as possible. The Romanian model achieves higher speed, ceiling and rate of climbing than the SA-330H Puma
The IAR-330 NAVAL model is the most recent variant and appeared in 2007 at the request of the Romanian Navy. It is similar to the Air Force model and included the modernization package adopted for the SOCAT attack version.
The main missions of the NAVAL variant are the rescue, medical evacuations and maritime surveillance for which they have a radar installed in the nose and various special equipment such as floats under the nose and on the sides of the fuselage.
The Romanian Navy has three examples that operate from frigates and are currently the only aircraft of the Naval Aviation.
In 1995, Elbit Systems from Israel was chosen to improve the offensive capacity of some IAR-330L in service. Finally, 24 helicopters were converted to this SOCAT variant for attack and anti-tank warfare that have entered into service in 2001.
In SOCAT model, the installation of “wings” with four hardpoints for weapons such as missiles, rockets, pods and even bombs has improved greatly the attack capacity. A Nexter THL-20 20mm gun has been installed in the nose with 750 rounds.
Due to several fatal accidents, the current fleet of IAR-330L SOCAT amounts to 22 examples. The weapon chosen for the anti-tank missions is the Israeli Spike ER missile of the “fire and forget” type, one of the most effective on the current market.

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