Combat Search and Rescue Cougar: In-Flight Refueling Tests Successfully Completed
French Air Force Cougar Mk2 in combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) version completed aerial refueling tests from a KC-130 Hercules in October 2000
Eurocopter, November 15, 2000 - Marignane, France - Further to the first test campaign in June 2000, which covered the aerodynamic aspects during in-flight refueling of the Cougar Mark 2 in its combat SAR version by a KC-130 Hercules, a second series of tests was successfully completed in October 2000.
These tests concentrated on fuel transfers and in particular on the validation of the following three elements:
- the mechanical aptitude of the helicopter to complete the maneuver throughout the refueling envelope without any restrictions,
- the operation of the fuel system and its safety mechanisms,
- the definition of the piloting reference points and of the refueling envelope.
The refueling procedure results from a procedure that starts with the helicopter flying in formation in the wake of the tanker airplane. After hook-up by means of a refueling boom connected to the refueling pod located on the airplane wing, the helicopter takes up a position slightly to the side and higher, and the fuel transfer operation can start.
The first tests conducted involved partial refueling with 500 and 1000 pounds of fuel, then a full refueling operation was completed during which 5500 pounds of fuel were transferred in less than fifteen minutes.
The tests were conducted from the left wing and then from the right wing of the tanker airplane, changing the configurations of the helicopter until the maximum operational configuration was tested (maximum all up weight carrying all the external stores).
These tests were conducted in cooperation with the Saudi Air Force on board a KC-130 Hercules tanker airplane and a combat SAR version Cougar Mark 2 helicopter, both on loan from the customer.
Also involved were the Test Flight Center of Istres and the 125 Air Base, who provided logistics support for the Saudi crew and their aircraft. Their support enabled the operations to be carried out in optimum conditions and within the scheduled time frame.
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