Singapore Air Show

Lock ’n’ load on STAero Super Puma gunship

 - December 1, 2006, 5:55 AM

The cabin space of the Eurocopter Super Puma can be retained even when two .5-inch caliber machine guns have been installed by ST Aerospace. This is evident from the display in the company’s pavilion at the entrance to Hall A where a Eurocopter Super Puma displays not only a single gun installation, but also a forward-looking infrared pod that can be semi retracted when the helicopter is on the ground.

The two machine guns would give a helicopter a combat capability against a wide range of targets including light infantry vehicles and enemy ground forces, or vessels and other waterborne targets, or unmanned aerial vehicles and other helicopters. The soft-mounted design makes for a significant reduction in recoil force by more than 60 percent and the gunners may fire the weapon while standing, sitting or squatting.

As the mounts are fitted outside the fuselage, the cabin doors may be closed during flight to and from the combat area but if a rapid defense against ground fire may be necessary, the doors can remain open to enable the gunners to make maximum use of the wide arc of fire. Even with the guns fitted, smooth ingress and egress of fully equipped combat troops remains possible.

Full under slung, winching, hoisting and carriage of litters also remains possible. A Super Puma thus armed could  handle combat search and rescue roles.