Eurocopter EC725

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EC 725 Caracal/Super Cougar
A French Air Force EC 725R2 Caracal in 2009
Role Tactical Transport helicopter
Manufacturer Eurocopter
Airbus Helicopters
First flight 27 November 2000
Introduction February 2005
Status Active service
Primary users French Armed Forces
Brazilian Armed Forces
Royal Malaysian Air Force
Mexican Air Force
Unit cost
US$24.5 million (2013 est)[1]
Developed from Eurocopter AS 532
Variants Eurocopter EC225, KAI KUH-1 Surion

The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) EC 725 Caracal (also named Super Cougar) is a long-range tactical transport helicopter developed from the Super Puma/Cougar family for military use. It is a twin-engined aircraft and can carry up to 29 seated troops along with two crew, depending on customer configuration. The helicopter is marketed for troop transport, casualty evacuation, and combat search and rescue duties, and is similar to the civilian EC 225.


The EC 725 was developed to meet a French Air Force requirement for a specialist helicopter for Combat Search & Rescue operations after the AS 532 A2 Cougar model was rejected for this purpose following extensive trials between 1996 and 1999. The more ambitious EC 725 design made its maiden flight at Marignane on the 27 November 2000 and the machine made its first presentation on the 15 January 2001. The French Air Force subsequently ordered 6 for Combat Search & Rescue duties with the first being delivered in February 2005. Eight more helicopters were ordered for the French Armed Forces in November 2002.[2] Indonesian Aerospace (PT. Dirgantara Indonesia/PTDI) is in charge of the maintenance, repair and overhaul of Indonesia's EC725s.[3] Based on the original design and license from Eurocopter, Indonesian Aerospace is currently developing 6 units for Indonesian Armed Forces which are scheduled to be delivered in 2014.


An EC 725 Super Cougar MkII+ at Paris Air Show 2007 (French Armée de l'Air)
A FN MAG mounted on an EC-725 Super Cougar MkII

The EC 725 is based on the Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar, improving upon the design with a five-blade composite main rotor incorporating a new airfoil shape to reduce vibration levels. The helicopter can be fitted with removable armour plating to protect the troops and is powered by two Turbomeca Makila 1A4 turboshaft engines mounted over the cabin, which feature a dual-channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system. They can be fitted with an anti-icing system to enable the aircraft to operate in very cold climates. Other improvements include a reinforced main rotor gearbox and an all glass cockpit. The cockpit is equipped with an integrated display system featuring a digital map and Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays.

The helicopter has day and night time search and rescue capabilities by way of a search radar and Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR); these allow the EC 725 to be flow under visual meteorological and instrument flight rules conditions.[4] The EC 725 can be equipped with various military equipment and armaments, such as a pair of 7.62 mm FN MAG machine guns mounted within forward left and right windows, or a pair of 68 mm (2.75") Thales Brandt or Forges Zeebrugge side-mounted rocket launchers, each with 19 rockets, or the MU90 Impact aerial-launched torpedo.[4]

There are currently four configurations designed by Eurocopter for the EC 725. The Troop Transport version has seating arrangements for a maximum of 29 troops in addition to the crew. The VIP Transport version can carry between 8 to 12 passengers. The Casualty Evacuation version can carry up to 12 stretchers with four seated medical staff, and the Combat SAR configuration is fully equipped for search and rescue duties in a combat environment.

Operational history[edit]

The French Air Force helicopters were quickly put into active service with three EC 725 helicopters being used to evacuate people from Lebanon during Opération Baliste in the summer of 2006. As of 2007, three French Air Force helicopters have been deployed to the war in Afghanistan to support the coalition forces in the capital city of Kabul.

The Brazilian Government has announced that the Helibras factory in Itajubá, Minas Gerais, will produce, initially, 50 units of the Caracal (EC 725).[5] Three helicopters were test-flown in December 2010 and are already in service in the military forces. Helibras plans to begin assembling the other helicopters in 2012.[6]

During missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Malaysia's air force EC 725 was deployed to search the plane along the C-130 at South China Sea and Strait of Malacca.[7][8]

On 21 April 2015 Poland qualified H225M Caracal as sole bidder for the 50 units order based on the technical evaluation. If signed the contract will consist 16 transport, 13 CSAR, eight ASW, eight SOS and five MEDEVAC helicopters that will be assembled in Poland.[9]

On 30 April 2015 the Mexican Air Force Cougar EC725 was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in the tail rotor and was forced to make an emergency landing, killing six soldiers and wounding 12. The aircraft was engaged in Operation Jalisco, a coordinated multi-force action intended to go after the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel (CJNG) in both Jalisco and Colima.[10]


A EC725 of the Brazilian Army
An EC 725 Super Cougar MkII+ at RAIT 2009

Specifications (EC 725 Caracal)[edit]

EC 725 Line Drawing.svg

Data from {}[15]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2 (pilot + co-pilot)
  • Capacity: 1 chief of stick + 28 troops or 5,670 kilograms (12,500 lb) payload
  • Length: 19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in)
  • Empty weight: 5,330 kg (11,751 lb)
  • Gross weight: 11,000 kg (24,251 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 11,200 kg (24,692 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turboméca Makila 2A1 turboshaft engines, 1,776 kW (2,382 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 16.20 m (53 ft 2 in)
  • Main rotor area: 206.1 m2 (2,218 sq ft)


  • Maximum speed: 324 km/h (201 mph; 175 kn) in level flight
    Close-up of the rotor hub on an EC 725 Super Cougar MkII
  • Cruising speed: 285 km/h (177 mph; 154 kn)
  • Never exceed speed: 324 km/h (201 mph; 175 kn)
  • Range: 857 km (533 mi; 463 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 1,325 km (823 mi; 715 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 6,095 m (19,997 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 7.4 m/s (1,460 ft/min)

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^
  2. ^ "EC 725 Cougar Medium Multimission Helicopter". Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Airbus Helis". Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Glowacki, Bartosz. "Poland begins evaluation tests of H225M Caracal." Flight International, 15 May 2015.
  5. ^ Farias, Ivy (September 8, 2008). "Brasil produzirá em Minas Gerais helicópteros para as Forças Armadas". Agência Brasil.  Retrieved on July 11, 2009.
  6. ^ "Brazil’s armed forces test-fly EC725". Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  7. ^ "M.O.T Malaysia on Twitter". 
  8. ^ "Alert 5 » Aircraft searching for #MH370 using RMAF Gong Kedak as base - Military Aviation News". 
  9. ^ Warsaw details reasons behind H225M selection., 22 April 2015
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Air Forces 2013" (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Kazakhstan orders 20 Eurocopter EC725s". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Heli Expo 2015 Preview", page 126. Helicopter International, Volume 38 Number 4 January - February 2015. ISSN 0143-1005. Archive
  15. ^ "Eurocopter Cougar EC 725 Technical Data" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 

External links[edit]