IAR-330 Puma SOCAT


According to the CFE treaty, Romania may have 120 attack helicopters in the inventory. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) decided that the procurement program in this field should include 96 dedicated attack helicopters, to be built by the Romanian aerospace industry under foreign license and 24 IAR-330L "Puma" upgraded with a suitable avionics package and new weapons system. Both program were intended to be developed by IAR S.A. Ghimbav-Brasov. The former was to be the ill-fated "Dracula" program, dropped in 1999.
A basic configuration was established in 1992 as Puma 2000. By the extension of this configuration, resulted the Antitank Optronic Search and Combat System (SOCAT) to be used as antitank gunship . The Israeli company Elbit Systems Ltd. was selected as foreign system supplier in 1994, and in September 1995, IAR S.A. signed the contract for the upgrade of 24 IAR-330L Puma with the SOCAT system. The program started in 1996, as a joint activity of the Romanian MoD, IAR S.A. and Elbit Systems. The first IAR-330 upgraded with SOCAT system, was Black 28 made its maiden flight in the SOCAT configuration on May 26, 1998. On October 23,1999 at 13.00 local time, the second prototype of the IAR-330L Puma, upgraded with the SOCAT system and registered as Black 41, made its first flight from the airport of IAR S.A. from Ghimbav, near Brasov, Romania.

Technical data

Powerplant: two Turmo IV B turbojet engines 1400 HP each.
- Length: 15m;
- Height: 4,6m;
- Wingspan: 3,38m.
- Main propeller diameter: 16,2m.
- Maximum takeoff weight: 7400kg.
- a THL20 20-mm caliber, turreled under fuselage gun;
- two side 7.62-mm caliber machine guns;
- external stores including X-5 antitank missiles, air-to-air missiles or reactive projectile blocks UB-16-57 mounted on 4 beams.
Payload: 1000kg.
Crew: 3.
- Maximum speed: 263km/h;
- Ceiling: 4800m;
- Maximum range: 550km.

Original civil IAR.330 without military SOCAT upgrade