Aérospatiale SA365M Panther - The Phoenix of French Rotorcraft

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes, don’t care how.
  • Yes, as a tech-tree vehicle.
  • Yes, as a premium / event vehicle
  • No.
0 voters


The SA 365M Panther started its development life as the Dauphin, a replacement to the older Allouette III. In a rather Phoenix like manner, the development of the Panther went through several deaths followed by rebirths via several iterations of refinements and upgrades. Through these revisions, the Panther became the swift yet capable helicopter it is today.

The single engine SA360 Dauphin 1 prototype had its first flight in June 2nd 1972, with a Turbomeca Astazou XVI engine (980-shp [1,2]). This engine was later replaced with the Astazou XVIIIA (1,050-shp [1]) in the production SA 360C Dauphin, increasing the flight performance of the Dauphin [1]. Although Aerospatiale originally advertised the Dauphin for civilian applications, they would quickly make attempts to utilize their design for military applications as well. The SA 360H would receive a further uprated Astazou XX (1,400-shp [1]) engine, driving the performance even higher. The SA 361B would take this a step further by introducing the newer Starflex rotorhead [2]. With these improvements, the Dauphin was able to garner some limited military interest, with the SA 361H prototypes advertised as assault helicopters along with the SA 360 having trials aboard the Jeanne d’Arc in 1978 [2].

Eventually the twin engine SA365C Dauphin 2 prototype would take flight on January 24th 1975, powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1A engines (2x 660-shp [1] or 2x650-shp [2]). Compared to the single-engine variant, the SA 365C was more successful in military sales, though still limited in quantity and mostly in transport or search and rescue roles. In 1977, yet another large redesign would take place with further improved rotor blades, fully retractable tricycle undercarriage, uprated engines, increased fuel capacity, a revised cabin layout for increased number of passengers, and composite materials in the air-frame to improve the overall weight to become the SA 365N [2]. At this point the Dauphin 2 was becoming quite quick, setting new records on the Paris-London-Paris route [2]. The SA 365N was then upgraded yet again into the SA 365M Panther. This included two new engines, replacing the Arriel series with the Turbomeca TM333 engines (2x838-shp [2]) increasing the possible gross weight to 4,100 kg. Despite the increase in power, the TM333 engines were better in fuel efficiency than their predecessors. With this increase, another record was set with the Panther at 6,116 lbs, climbing to 3,000 meters in 2 minutes 54 seconds, and 6,000 meters in 6 minutes 14 seconds [3].

At this point, even the SA 365N Panther was impressive enough that sales began to pick up, with 50 SA 365Ns sold to China (who were impressed enough that they later licensed and built on the design, seen in-game with the Z-9 [5]). Aerospatiale specialized the Panther into the SA 365F for naval applications and the SA 365M for anti-tank and light assault transport [2]. The SA 365F would feature a chin mounted Agrion 15 radar, along with mounts for four AS.15TT AShMs. Due to the upgraded equipment, naval variant could perform TWS along with over-the-horizon targeting for missiles launched from allied ships or shore batteries. Due to the rigorous sea-proofing requirements of naval operations, the production SA 365Fs used the navalized Turbomeca Arriel 520M engines (2x700shp [2]), along with a larger carbon fiber 11-blade fenestration tail [2].

Finally we arrive at the SA 365M anti-tank variant (being of greater interest for WarThunder). The SA 365M Panther features the high powered TM333 engines, night vision and sighting systems, a variety of air to ground armament, a new tail unit, and strengthened air-frame [2]. This reinforced air-frame with composite material could survive a crash at 23 ft/sec [3] or 15 Gs [4]. The composite material also served to reduce the radar signature of helicopter along with a radar-absorbing coating [4], aiding in avoiding radar detection as well as reduced infrared profile [5]. Materials of the composite include Kevlar, Rohacell, and Nomex [3]. For guiding weaponry, the SA 365M featured a Vivianne sight [7], one featured in-game already on other French helicopters.

Today, the Panther continues to serve its users across the world, whether it be in military or civilian applications. After the purchase of Aerospatiale, later models of the Panther would feature the newer numbering system under Eurocopter / Airbus / EADS as the AS 565 [6].

SA 365M Panther Performance

Flight Characteristics (Multiple Sources):

  • Crew: 1 [2] or 2 [7] (Excluding Passengers)
  • Main Rotor Diameter: 39ft, 1.75in [2], 39ft, 2in [4]
  • Tail Rotor Diameter: 3ft, 7.5in [4]
  • Fuselage Length: 39ft, 7in [2], 38ft, 2in [4]
  • Height: 13ft, 4in [2], 11 ft, 6.5 in [4]
  • Width: 10ft, 6.5in [4]
  • Empty Weight: 2,300 kg [2]
  • Maximum Weight: 9,039 lbs [4, 7] 9,040 lbs [2, 5]
  • Power-Plant: 2x Turbomeca TM 333-1M engines [2,5] 838-shp each [2] 912-shp each [7].
  • Max Cruising Speed: 176 mph [1, 4]
  • Range: 530 miles [4] 750km [5]
  • Maximum Speed: 184 mph [7]
  • Maximum Altitude: 16,680ft [2], 11,810 ft [4]

Some additional performance can be seen in the DTIC_ADB166906 Helicopter Air to Air Maneuverability Analysis.

Two Pylons, one on each side.
Each pylon can hold either:

  • 22 68mm rockets [3, 4, 7] (44 total)
  • 19 2.75 in rockets [3] (38 total)
  • 20mm M621 gun pod [3, 4, 5, 7] (two pods total)
  • 4 Mistral Missiles [3, 5, 7] (8 total)
  • 4 HOT ATGMS [2, 4, 5, 7] (8 total)
  • 4 TOW ATGMS [4, 7] (8 total)

Additional Metrics

  • Vivianne Optic [7]
  • Reduced Radar Profile [4,5]
  • Reduced Infrared Profile [5]

In-terms of air-to-ground capabilities, the rockets, HOTs, and 20mm gun pod are features familiar to helicopter pilots, yet mounted on a rapid air-frame due to the two powerful engines featured on the SA 365M. Although not the largest payload, the reduced radar profile and ability to reposition quickly should be an experience pilots enjoy.

For air-to-air, the SA 365M offers a truly unique arsenal. The ability to bring 8 Mistrals or 4 Mistrals and a 20mm cannon will be a novel experience that will be sure to delight pilots who enjoy using their helicopters against enemy aircraft.



Expo image with the the quad Mistral stack - Daniel Simon on Getty Images

Image with M621 20mm cannon [4]
Helicopter Fighters Page 115 Brightened

Exploded Layout View [7]

Image with Quad HOT launcher, Targeting Optic, by Martin Bos on defensiefotografie.nl



[1] Helicopters of the World 1983 Bill Gunston ISBN: 0517405067, Page 31
[2] World Military Helicopters Elfan ap Rees ISBN: 0710603746, Pages 22-25
[3] Modern Air Power Helicopters 1990 Michael Heatley Cover 0831760591 Pages 48-51
[4] Helicopter Fighters 1990 Andy Lightbody Cover 0517687623 Pages 114-117
[5] Modern Military Helicopters 1987 Paul Beaver Cover 9780850598933 Pages 22-25
[6] Military Aircraft of the World 2001 Peter R March Cover 1854095277 Page 159
[7] Modern Fighting Helicopters 1998 Bill Gunston Cover 0861019458 Page 115, 115


Worth noting is that depending on how modern of a Panther we get, the Elbit Rokar countermeasure system could be included.

1 Like

+1 for tech tree with countermeasures, Mistrals and TOW/HOT (whatever the user prefers). A combo of 4x Mistrals and 4x TOWs would be sweet, and would be a good bridge between Tiger and Gazelle


I figured at 9.7/10.0 it would be a good fit since it carries less total armament than the existing Tigre HAP (Chin gun + 4 Mistral + 8 HOT-3 simultaneously) but in an air to air role can carry 8 Mistrals total, as well as having the TOW as an alternative option.

1 Like

I would love to see this helicopter in the Tech Tree, I am actually surprised it was not introduced in the same time with the Chinese Z-9W one since it was a license-build after S.A.365.
It will be a good gap between the Gazelles and the Tiger.


Minor update, I purchased Flight International, August 8th 1987 Edition,
A few additional details confirmed in it:
Turbomecca TM.333 1M turbines produce 913shp each.
The airframe is extremely stable, and can pull more than +7G
Has a reduced IR signature via special paint and jet dilution (Similar to HIRSS) .
Viviane optic is provided for the anti-armour role, as well as capability to bring
2x20mm cannon pods
2x22 68mm Brandt Rockets
2x4 Mistrals



Definitely! France Definitely could use a heavier heli line!

Suggestion passed to the developers for consideration.