More Details on Algerian AS 355Ns

FURTHER DETAILS arc now known which add to the previous report of a batch of new Eurocopter AS 355N Ecureuil 2 helicopters being acquired by the Algerian Air Force. Whilst the manufacturer has declined to provide details of the deal, due to customer sensitivities, sightings at the factory confirm that more than five helicopters are involved in the contract.

In addition to the five previously reported examples, a further three, 7T-WUW (c/n 5734, ex F-WQDS), 7T-WUY (c/n 5736, ex F-WWXE, F-WQDO) and 7T-WUZ (c/n 5737, ex F-WWXA, F-WQDP) were noted at the Eurocopter factory at Marseille-Marignane in June, being prepared for delivery.

A further two, 7T-WVX (c/n 5703) and 7f-WVY (c/n 5705), which were seen there in March are reported to be destined for the Algerian Police, which is also believed to be the recipient of 7T-WVM (c/n 5721, ex F-WQDN) and 7F-WVZ (c/n 5703, ex F-WQDJ).

In addition to the Ecureuil 2s, the Algerian Air Force is also taking delivery of two EC 725s, 7F-WVA (c/n 2600, ex F-WQDJ) and 7T-WVB (c/n 2609, ex F-WWOQ), which are to be operated in the VIP transport role.

Acquisition of the new AS 355s seems to be leading to the disposal of at least some of the Algerian Air Force’s older AS 350s and AS 355s on the civil market. Full details are unconfirmed, but AS 350B ES-43 (c/n 1551) and AS 355F-2 ES-92 (c/n 5381) were noted stored at Gap-Tallard, France, in late June awaiting civilian conversion. In addition, a further ex-Algerian AS 350B, ES-28, was seen at St Tropez’s Grimaud Heliport.

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