Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Aerospatiale Super Puma

The AS 332 Super Puma was based on the successful SA 330 Puma design and is a larger aircraft with newer engines.

The Super Puma was developed by French-based Aerospatiale (formerly Sud Aviation) form the successful AS 330 Puma series of medium-lift utility helicopters.

The newer Super Puma design was essentially a base Puma with an improved avionics suite, enlarged fuselage, new Turbomeca-brand Makila-type 1,700 shaft horsepower turboshaft engines, intake fitters, ventral fin structure along the tail boom, revised nose assembly and a composite main rotor blade. Since the type entered production, Aerospatiale had merged with Germany's Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (DASA) to become Eurocopter in 1992. The Super Puma is now marketed under the Eurocopter brand label though it still retains the "AS" (for Aerospatiale) designation in its model number.

The Super Puma prototype achieved first flight on September 13th, 1978. The prototype was designated as the AS 331. The new design, being larger than the Puma, was allowed greater cabin space for more passengers and more fuel for greater ranges.

The nose featured provisions for the Honeywell Primus 500 or Bendix/King RDR 1400 series weather radars. Super Pumas were eventually produced in short and long fuselage versions. Early users of Super Pumas became the commercial oil industry where the large helicopter proved popular in shuttling oil rig workers to and fro.

Externally, the Super Puma shares many of its characteristics with the preceding Puma design. Its engines are mounted forward and high atop the fuselage exhausting outwards above the crew cabin. The engines power a four-bladed composite construction main rotor and five-bladed tail rotor mounted to starboard. The pilot and co-pilot are fitted into a glazed forward-mounted canopy with excellent views in all vital directions.

Each pilot is afforded an automobile-style door for easy entry and exit. The fuselage sides are dominated by two large cabin doors (one door to a side) with cabin windows. The undercarriage is full retractable and features two main landing gears (single-wheeled) recessing into low-mounted fuselage side sponsons as well as a nose gear fitting two wheels recessing behind and under the cockpit floor. Like the Puma series before it, the Super Puma features an elevated empennage with a single vertical tail fin and a horizontal tailplane jutting out of the portside of the fin.

Like the Puma before it, the Super Puma has been widely accepted into service with dozens of countries around the world. The Super Puma has since been branched into a dozen or so variants beginning with the AS 331 prototype. This produced the AS 332A commercial pre-production models followed by the first commercial production examples designated as the AS 332C. Military pre-production models became the AS 332B followed by the initial militarized forms in the AS 332B1. The AS 332 C1 was a dedicated Search & Rescue (SAR) example equipped with six cabin stretchers and a surface search radar. The AS 332F became a militarized anti-submarine and anti-ship variant while the AS 332F1 was a base navalized Super Puma modified to contend with the rigors of the salty ocean environment.

The AS 332L first flew on October 10th, 1980, appeared as a new civilian production model and sported a lengthened fuselage for an increase in its cabin space and fuel capacity as well as uprated turboshaft engines. Operations of the type were certified in 1983. The AS 332L1 was a similar model featuring an even more lengthened fuselage containing an airliner-type interior and uprated Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines and made its operational appearance in 1986. The AS 332M became a militarized version of the AS 332L model while the AS 332M1 was a similar militarized AS 332L with a lengthened fuselage.

The AS 332L2 "Super Puma Mk II" was a further civilian-based transport development of the type beginning service in 1993 and featuring a long-fuselage for an extra row of seats. These Super Pumas were also given a spheriflex rotor head with EFIS flight instrumentation as well as longer main rotor blades with parabolic tips and a four-axis Automatic Flight-Control System (AFCS). The cockpit was updated to include four large multi-function LCD screens. Passenger seating is between 19 and 24 persons. A 15-passenger VIP model (Super Puma Mk II VIP) is also available complete with galley and toilet.

The AS 332L1 utilized twin Turbomeca Makila 1A1-series turboshaft engines running at 1,742 shaft horsepower each while the AS 332L2 fitted twin Turbomeca 1A2-series turboshaft engines rated at 1,819 shaft horsepower each. Top speed for the AS 332L1 was 278 kilometers-per-hour with a range of 841 kilometers and a service ceiling of 20,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was listed at 1,618 feet-per-minute. Comparatively, the AS 332L2 operated at a top speed of 278 kilometers-per-hour, a range of 831 kilometers, a service ceiling of 23,622 feet and a rate-of-climb of 1,614 feet-per-minute.

The AS 332L has seen extensive production and use during its run. These are now being replaced by the newer AS 332L2 Super Puma MK II series. Bristow Helicopters acquired no fewer than 31 custom AS 332L's for its North Sea-based offshore oil rig work. Customizations included folding cabin seats, life rafts, jettisonable cabin doors, IFR instrumentation, de-icing equipment, baggage compartments and North Sea-related navigational aid equipment. These came under the designation of "Tiger" (sometimes called "Super Tigers").

Indonesian Aerospace (formally IPTN) has license-produced the Super Puma as the NAS 332L1 of which at least 7 were sold to Iran in a 1996 deal.

Beginning in 1990, Super Pumas were separated in their civilian and militarized forms by the latter taking on the production designation of AS 532 "Cougar" (civilian models still retained their AS 332 designations). The Cougar family now consists of the AS 532MC Mk I (note the "Mk I" mark designation was retroactively applied to previous Super Puma forms) as a Search & Rescue (SAR) platform, the AS 532SC Mk I as a short-fuselage anti-submarine variant, the AS 532U2 Mk II as an unarmed base model, the AS 532A2 Mk II as another Search & Rescue form, the AS 532L2 Mk II featuring a lengthened fuselage for extra seating and extended main rotor blades, and the simplified AS 532 "Cougar 100" with fixed landing gear. Militarized Super Puma/Cougar aircraft can display a broad range of armaments including 7.62mm general purpose cabin-door machine guns (on pintle mountings), 7.62mm gun pods, rocket pods, anti-ship missiles and various makes of air-to-surface missiles.

The Eurocopter EC 225 civilian and its EC 725 militarized variant is an improved version of the Puma family line. This system first flew in November of 2000 and features a five-bladed main rotor assembly. It also has a larger cabin with newer Makila 1A4 turboshaft engines featuring FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), a greater Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) and revised EFIS avionics.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CETME Modelo 58

Early CETME assault rifle prototype chambered for experimental 7.92x40mm cartridge

The Spanish state company CETME (Centro de Estudios Tecnicos de MaterialesEspeciales - Special Materials Technical Studies Center, now known as Empresa National Santa Barbara) was founded in 1949 to develop various small arms for Spanish army. At about the same time it employed the German arms designer Ludwig Vorgrimler, who worked for the famous Mauser Werke in Germany before and during the World War 2. The Vorgrimler was the designer of the experimental German assault rifle, known as "Gerat 06" or Stg.45(M). This rifle was not manufactured in any quantities, but its design served as a basis for further development at the CETME, and more important, at the another German company,Heckler & Koch, which obtained a license for the Vorgrimler / CETME rifle design circa 1957. This deal later resulted in the famous family of the H&K weapons, like the G3 and HK33 assault rifles, HK21 and HK23 machine guns, MP5 submachine guns and numerous other small arms that achieved a worldwide popularity. All those weapons are built using the delayed blowback system of operation, designed by Vorgrimler and his men at the Mauser in 1945 and refined by CETME.

CETME modelo A assault rifle, chambered for 7.62x51mm reduced load cartridge

The initial assault rifle development at the CETME was conducted around proprietary intermediate cartridge, known as 7.92x40mm CETME. This cartridge featured a long and streamlined bullet, made from aluminum. The overall design was found adequate, but cartridge was rejected in favor of the 7.62x51mm round with lighter bullet and a reduced powder charge. Improved rifle entered serial production in 1956 and was adopted by the Spanish army in 1957.In 1958 CETME introduced a slightly improved design, known as Modelo B or Model58. This rifle was intended to fire 7.62x51mm reduced loads but also could fire the standard 7.62mm NATO, if the bolt group and the return spring are replaced with the appropriate set of parts. In 1964, CETME introduced the Modelo C, which also was adopted by Spanish Army, Navy and Air Force. This rifle was intended to fire only standard, full power 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. Its key improvements were 4-position diopter sights (instead of the earlier leaf type open sights),wooden handguards instead of earlier steel ones, bipod was made as a separate part and, most important, the chamber was fluted to improve extraction and avoid torn rims and cartridge case failures in harsh environment conditions. Production of the modelo C rifle was ceased in 1976, and in 1980s it had been gradually replaced by its 5.56mm derivative, CETME Modelo L assault rifle.

CETME modelo B / mod. 58 with 30 rounds magazine

All 7.62mm CETME rifles are built around Vorgrimlers' roller delayed blowback system. This system employs a two parts bolt with two rollers.The front bolt part (bolt head) is relatively light and has a bolt face with extractor on it. It also has a hollow cavity at the rear, in which an inclined forward end of the rear part of the bolt (bolt body) is inserted. The system features two rollers, inserted from the sides into the bolt head and rested on the inclined forward end of the bolt body. When gun is fired,the pressure began to move the cartridge back against the bolt face. The rollers, which are extended into the recesses in the barrel extension, began to move inward into the bolt head, due to inclined shape of the recesses. This movement translates into the faster rearward movement of the heavier bolt body,so, at the initial moments of shot, when pressure in the chamber is still high,bolt face moves relatively slow. When pressure drops to a reasonable level,rollers disengage the barrel extension completely and from this moment on the bolt head and the bolt body move backward at the same speed, extracting and ejecting spent case and chambering a fresh cartridge on the way back. All CETME rifles are firing from the closed bolt. The trigger mechanism is hammer fired,and in military versions is capable in semi-automatic and fully automatic modes of fire. On the early models the safety / fire mode selector switch was located above the trigger at the right side of the gun. From the model C the safety /selector switch was relocated to the left side of the gun. The receiver is made from steel sheet stampings, as well as the trigger group housing, which is hinged to the receiver just behind the magazine housing. Early models (prior to Modelo C) were issued with integral folding metallic bipods and open leaf-type rear sights. The Modelo C rifles were issued with wooden handguards and a separate detachable bipods. The rear sights were replaced by the 4 positions diopter sights, marked for 100 - 400 meters range. All rifles featured a wooden buttstock and a folding carrying handle above the receiver. The flash hider of the Modelo C rifles was shaped to accept and launch NATO-standard rifle grenades. Most rifles were issued with magazines of 20 rounds capacity and made of steel, but 30 rounds magazines also were available.

CETME modelo C rifle (semi-automatic only "Sporter" version shown)

Caliber: 7.62x51 mm reduced power load; also 7.62x51mm NATO
Action: delayed blowback
Overall length: 1015 mm
Barrel length: 450 mm
Weight: 4.4 kg
Rate of fire: 550 - 600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds



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