Eurocopter has handed over the first AS532AL Cougar to the Turkish air force, which plans to use 20 AS532ALs for combat search and rescue (CSAR). In 1997, Turkey signed a contract for 30 Cougars, 10 of which are AS532ULs for the Turkish army to supplement 20 machines ordered in 1993. The deal includes local manufacture of 28 helicopters by EUROTAI - a Tusas Aerospace Industries/Eurocopter joint venture. The first two machines have been built by Eurocopter, with the second due to arrive later this month. Turkish-built machines will be delivered through to February 2003.EUROTAI is responsible for airframe build and acceptance testing. In the CSAR role, the Turkish air force's Cougars are equipped with nose mounted forward looking infrared sensor and search radar. The AS532ALis an armed version of the UL.

Source: Flight International