They are good for retirement.
This Friday, the last three Alouette III helicopters still in service bid farewell to the French Navy during a ceremony at the Lanvéoc-Poulmic naval aeronautics base, south of Brest (Finistère).
The device had become legendary in the ranks of the Navy after sixty years of missions carried out above all the oceans of the globe.
Before equipping the Navy, these helicopters capable of flying at 200 km/h were used in the civilian sector, in particular for rescue and the transport of heavy loads.
For the French Navy, they are engaged in anti-submarine warfare missions by boarding frigates and aircraft carriers.
At the time, these abilities were remarkable.
The Alouette is capable of carrying 750 kg of goods on board, ie two-thirds of its empty load, and can fly to more than 5,000 meters in altitude.
Abilities that allowed him to participate in rescue missions at sea until the end of his career but also to be equipped with torpedoes and sonars to locate and reach enemy submarines.
In sixty years of career, the entire fleet will have accumulated 328,000 flight hours and 100,000 landings, specifies the French Navy.
The helicopter was notably present in April 2008 when thirty yachtsmen from the Ponant sailboat were taken hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Without pilot assistance, the device is used to train future pilots.
Three Alouette IIIs were still on mission for the French Navy until their withdrawal on Friday.
The helicopters will remain on alert until the end of December before being sold to museums or aeronautical sectors wishing to train pilots.
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