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Eurocopter AS 355
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The Eurocopter AS 355, known as the Twin Star, is one of the world's best selling, most versatile helicopters. It is small and was designed to be relatively inexpensive to purchase, and easy to operate with, low overall maintenance expenses. It can be equipped with numerous choices of flight instruments, avionics, and optional equipment.
The AS 355 is used by oil companies as an air taxi, for search and rescue, for police patrol, television coverage, cable observation and repair, military scouting, reconnaissance, and light attack when equipped with a 20 mm cannon pod and pylon mounted rockets.
A naval version of the AS 355 is equipped with a chin mounted search radar and can be armed with light weight homing torpedoes. Police versions of the helicopter are usually equipped with a night sun searchlight under their center section.
The AS 355 has the best safety record in its class. Its twin engine design is much appreciated for the extra margin of safety provided by a second engine. The three main rotor blades are made from a fiberglass composite material for long life and light weight. Their leading edges have a steel covering for extra strength. The rotor system uses a maintenance-free rubber ball joint rather than hinges for each rotor.
The Eurocopter AS 355 has been exported to some 19 countries around the world. Over 800 of the helicopters have been produced to date.