The helicopter division of French aircraft manufacturer Aerospatiale produced this large twin-engine turbine helicopter. Aerospatiale was formed in the early 1970s by combining most of the French government-owned aerospace companies, including Sud Aviation, which had been responsible for helicopter design and production. In the 1990s, the helicopter division of Aerospatiale was merged with the German MBB helicopter company to form Eurocopter. Today, Eurocopter is a division of EADS, a multinational European aerospace giant.
The AS332L1 was derived from the AS332L by increasing engine power. In all other respects the two helicopters are the same. The AS332L was derived from the original AS/SA 330J Puma and the AS332C Super Puma, by adding power, increasing takeoff gross weight and stretching the fuselage. The AS332L1 Super Puma, is a 20- to 24-place, twin-engine turbine helicopter that is characterized by a large rectangular cabin, with a flat floor. The cabin uses three-across airline seating in commercial utility applications. The aircraft is one of the mainstays of the North Sea offshore oil support fleet. It is also in use with numerous armed forces throughout the world and is popular as a VIP transport for heads of state. This is also one of the first helicopters that can be fitted with anti-icing equipment for the main and tail rotors. The drivetrain of the AS332L1 uses two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 engines and a four-bladed, fully articulated, rotor with composite rotor blades.
The AS332L1 was developed in the early 1970s, the first flight was in 1977, and certification was obtained in 1987. The aircraft is in production and about 500 AS332L/L1/L2 have been delivered to date. At present, some 140 of these helicopters are in commercial service worldwide. The remainder are in service with various armed forces. The vast majority of the commercial models are used in support of North Sea oil exploration and production. Less than ten are registered in North America, mostly in Mexico.