French Navy Dauphin Tony Osbourne

Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin

The Airbus Helicopters, previously Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin is a medium twin-engine helicopter equipped with an enclosed Fenestron tail rotor which is beneficial for operating in confined spaces. Originally marketed as the Dauphin 2 and developed from the first single-engine Dauphin, this larger helicopter first flew in 1975. The Dauphin holds a number of speed records including the helicopter travel time from Paris to London. The Dauphin has proved popular with multiple militaries and government agencies the world over. The US Coast Guard operate it as the HH-65 and it is operated by 8 Flight of the Army Air Corps as the primary transport for the SAS.

The French Navy operate two variants of the Dauphin, including one named the Panther. The Panther is standard military version of the Dauphin and is used as a ship-borne helicopter for combat assault, and anti-surface warfare. In addition, standard Search and Rescue Dauphins are also operated primarily for training purposes and to act as "Plane Guards" for pilots operating from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in case one has to eject or ditch close by.

The French Navy will be providing one of their Dauphins for static display at this year's Air Tattoo.

Photo Credit: Tony Osbourne

On display