The Alouette SE316 Helicopter was built by built by Aerospatiale at Marignane, Marseilles, France. The first example was flown on 28 February 1959. The SAAF was an early customer for the Alouette III helicopter with the first examples arriving and being taken on charge in South Africa during in February 1962. A total of 118 of these helicopters were eventually acquired and operated with 15, 16, 17, 19, 22 and 31 Squadron as well as 87 Helicopter Flying School.

 These general purpose helicopters were used extensively for troop transport, aircrew training, sea and mountain rescue, casualty evacuation, cargo slinging, reconnaissance, law enforcement and dagga location flights in support of the South African Police. During the Border War, this helicopter was also configured as a gunship and operated in close support of ground forces throughout the Operational Area of Northern Owamboland and Southern Angola. The surviving helicopters were officially withdrawn from service in September 2007.


This helicopter was initially registered in the United States as N8396 prior to being delivered to 15 Air Depot for assembly on 22 May 1975. This helicopter was allocated to 17 Squadron at AFB Zwartkop. On 27 January 1976, the helicopter was transferred to 16 Squadron then based at Port Elizabeth before returning to 17 Squadron art Zwartkop on 14 July 1976. The helicopter was stored at 11 Air Depot for a while before being once again allocated to 16 Squadron in Port Elizabeth on 12 December 1980. The aircraft allocated to 22 Squadron at Ysterplaat in September 2006 before undergoing servicing at 6 Aircraft Servicing Unit in 1987. On completion of servicing, the helicopter was transferred to 87 Helicopter Flying School on 28 March 1989 and later again returned to 17 Squadron at Zwartkop. The aircraft was withdrawn from service during 2007 and allocated to the SAAF Museum by Disposal Board AF1/16/08 in 2008. Alouette 624 Joined the SAAF Museum Flight in September 2010.


Alouette 628 was taken on charge by the SAAF on 8 June 1986 and allotted to 17 Squadron on 4 July 1976 before being transferred to 16 Squadron in Port Elizabeth on 14 July 1976. The helicopter remained with 16 Squadron until transferred to 15 Squadron at AFB Durban on 27 November 1990. ON 27 December 1991, Alouette 628 was transferred to 19 Squadron at AFB Hoedspruit where it operated until 2006 when the helicopter was transferred back to 17 Squadron at Zwartkop in 2006. Alouette 628 was loaned to the SAAF Museum Flight during September 2008 and was officially withdrawn by the SAAF during 2007. Although this helicopter had already been flying with the Museum Flight since September 2006, she was officially allocated to the Museum by Disposal Board AF1/16/2008.

The Museum at Zwartkop also has Alouette 29 on static display in the Gunship configuration whereas Alouette 611 is on static display at the satellite Museum at Ysterplaat and Alouette 632 is on static display at the satellite museum in Port Elizabeth.


  • Country of origin: France
  • Power Plant: Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turbo shaft of 570 shp
  • Max gross mass: 2 200 kg Max level speed: 210 km/h
  • Service ceiling: 3 200 m Range: 540 km
  • Crew: Pilot & Flight Engineer and 5 passengers or 2 stretchers and Medic
  • Armament: 4 x .303 in Browning machine guns or 2 x 12,7mm Browning machine guns or 1 x 20 mm GA151 cannon