European Gunships PART 3

One of the Puma SOCATs from Flotila 71 Aeriană shows off the most common training configuration. The SOCAT is equipped with four rocket pods, 20mm cannon and forwardfacing self-defence sensors, while the pilots wear MiDASH helmets. The SOCAT can also carry Spike XT-5 and XT-8 ER missiles.Liviu Dnistran

In the latest instalment of AFM’s review of Europe’s helicopter gunships, coverage moves to Romania, Spain and Turkey.

FLEET SURVEY

Romania

Tank-busting Pumas

IN THE 1970S, Romania acquired a licence to build the SA330 Puma, locally named IAR-330. Designed as a transport helicopter, the SA330 and the IAR derivative have been transformed into many different versions and outgrew their original mission. There are several variants of the IAR-330 Puma serving the Forţele Aeriene Române (FAR, Romanian Air Force) but the most advanced is the SOCAT (Sistemul Optoelectronic de Cautare si lupta Anti-Tanc, or optoelectronic search and anti-tank combat system) helicopter gunship.

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