Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Factfile: Puma

Puma graphic

The Puma is a transport helicopter with a single, four-blade main rotor powered by two turboshaft engines.

It is the oldest helicopter operated by the Royal Air Force, entering service as the HC1 in 1971.

The RAF uses the Puma to carry up to 20 passengers, or 16 troops and their equipment, or up to 7,055 lb (3,200 kg) of other material slung underneath.

It can also be fitted with six stretchers for evacuating casualties.

The aircraft has satellite navigation equipment and an instrument landing system.

There are normally three crew: two pilots or a pilot and a navigator, plus one other.

For defence, the Puma has a radar warning receiver, missile approach warning, infra-red jammer and automatic flare dispensing to divert incoming missiles.

A 7.62mm machine gun can be fitted in the cabin.

Westland made 48 Pumas for the RAF under licence from the French company Aerospatiale.

In 2008, 34 remain in service. The helicopters are due to be phased out by 2010.


Crew 3  
Max speed 163mph (262kph)  
Length 46ft 1.5in (14.06m)  
Rotor span 49ft 2in (15m)  
Max weight 19,841lb (9,000kg)  
Range About 480 miles (772km)  

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