I.A.R.330 Puma SOCAT - antitank modernisation program

[Would you like to see the I.A.R 330 Puma SOCAT in game?]
  • Yes, I would love to see it in Italian tech tree toghether with Romanian aircraft.
  • Yes, I would love to see it in the French tech tree since it’s bases on S.A.330 Puma.
  • No.

0 voters

Hello.

I would like to present to you a further modernisation of I.A.R.330L series called Puma SOCAT, which also gives the helicopter gunship and antitank capabilities using the latest weapon systems and avionics available in the 1990s in NATO armies.

Pictures of I.A.R.330 Puma SOCAT in flight

Brief history
I.A.R. 330 PUMA is a licence-built version of the Aérospatiale S.A. 330 Puma helicopter, manufactured by the Romanian aerospace manufacturer Industria Aeronautica Romana (shortly abreviated I.A.R - hence the name) in Brasov (Romania). Romania acquired the licence from Aérospatiale to produce the Puma in July 1974 and the first licence-built helicopter designated I.A.R. 330H flew for the first time in October 1975. It was soon followed and modernised into the I.A.R. 330L configuration in 1977, which improved it’s capabilities. 165 helicopters were built, from which 112 were sent to Romanian Airforces, the rest of them being put into export market for other countries: Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Sudan etc.

As previously mentioned, in the 1990s the Romanian Air Force decided to enhance the combat capabilities of the IAR 330L, making it a universal anti-tank and support helicopter and the Israeli company Elbit Systems was chosen due to previous colaborations with Israeli companies. In September 1995 the Romanian Air Force signed a contract to upgrade 24 helicopters with the SOCAT system (Sistem Optronic de Cercetare și Anti-Tanc, translated into Optronic Search and Anti-Tank System). The first modified IAR 330L SOCAT was flown on 26 May 1998, from IAR’s airfield in Ghimbav, near Brașov and on 23 October 1999, the second prototype flew. The first SOCAT was delivered to a combat unit in 2001 and in total 25 SOCATs were made, including the prototype being rebuilt to production standard in 2005. Other Puma airframes were later upgraded with SOCAT’s avionics and designated I.A.R.330M, but without combat capabilities (they were reserved only for troop transport and Med-Evac).

Specifications

In terms of specifications, the Puma SOCAT is not too different from I.A.R.330L, having similar flight performance and structural configuration, the main modifications being put into avionics, armament and countermeasures, which includes:

  • Laser Warning Receiver (LWR)
  • Radar Warning Receiver (RWR): no information on which system, but my guess is a NATO equivalent to what other helicopters of same period of time have been fitted with
  • Chaff/Flares dispensers (30 rounds/launcher specified, from pictures seems to be 2 launchers behind rear landing gear)
  • FLIR/CCD camera in the nose and NVIS (Night Vision system) onboard
  • HUD (Head Unit Display)
  • HMD (Helmet Mounted Display)
  • Other equipment and avionics less relevant for War Thunder, like MFDs (Multi Functional Display), FCS (Flight Control System), GPS/INS (Global Positioning System / Inertial Navigation System - both present, but probably must be switched between these 2 systems and does not provide the function of DataLink between these 2) or HMRC (Helicopter Multi-Role Computer)
Technical specifications

2D Drawing


Source: Figure 2 from First Steps towards the certification of IAR-330 Puma naval for helicopter-ship operations | Semantic Scholar

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1–3
  • Capacity: 16 fully equipped troops
  • Length: 18.15 m (59 ft 7 in) (overall), 14.06 m (46 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 5.14 m (16 ft 10 in)
  • Empty weight: 3,615 kg (7,970 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 7,400 kg (16,314 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turboméca Turmo IVC turboshaft engines, 1,175 kW (1,576 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 15.00 m (49 ft 3 in)
  • Main rotor area: 176.7 m2 (1,902 sq ft)

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 271 km/h (168 mph, 146 kn) (max cruise)
  • Never exceed speed: 294 km/h (183 mph, 159 kn)
  • Range: 572 km (355 mi, 309 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 6,000 m (20,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 9.2 m/s (1,810 ft/min)

Cockpit layout and avionics
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Flares/Chaff dispening

Avionics and fire control systems
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And let’s not forget what’s very important in War Thunder: the armament available.

Armament

The Puma SOCAT has a wide variety of weapon systems that can be mounted, including:

  • 20mm GIAT THL-20 autocannon in the turret below the nose, with 750 rounds available and +/-110 degrees of traverse si +21/-50 degrees elevation
  • up to 4x LPR-57 or UB-16-57 (LPR is probably the internal Romanian designation of the same launcher) with 16x S-5 unguided rockets per launcher (on the 4 pylons available)
  • up to 4x LAU-130/A launchers capable of 19x Hydra-70 or CRV-7 rockets (usually not seen because Romania has lots of ex-Soviet stockpiled equipment and Puma is usually seen with UB-16-57 launchers , but being a NATO member it is able to equip it in need)
  • 2x mounts for Spike-ER (or X-5 missiles as they’re designated internally), with up to 4x missiles/pylon (on external pylons of 55kg each), range between 400-8000m, speed 160-180m/sec, weight of 34kg and RHA penetration with Tandem HEAT warhead of 1000 mm
  • 2x Nexter NC-621 20mm gun pod with 180 rounds (on the 2 outer pylons, but only used in tests)
  • 2x Anti-Air rockets mounted externally to the pylons (but rarely used - little data is known, but the missile looks familiar with R-60MK from the photos available)
  • 2x 7.62mm general-purpose machine guns in pintle mounts and operated by door gunners (optional, it could also carry 12.7mm DshK machine guns instead of the 7.62s but it was usually put on Naval Puma variant)
Spoiler

LAU-130/A launcher with Spike-ER mount
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Frontal view of the turret with 2 x UB-16-57 launchers and 2x Spike-ER Mounts
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Image with AA missile mounted externally to the pylons (possibly R-60MK)
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Pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine guns:

12.7mm DshK machine gun from Naval version:
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Before closing in, I will leave you with some additional pictures for potential camo options for I.A.R.330 Puma that could be opted for in-game.

Spoiler

Additional camos:
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Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the reading, if you have any additional information please feel free to fill in with suggestions.

Sources

IAR 330 PUMA SOCAT - technical specifications
Aripi romanesti : Elicopterele Romaniei… | RomaniaMilitary
SOCAT: SISTEM OPTO-ELECTRONIC DE CERCETARE SI ANTI-TANC - Romania Military
IAR 330 - Wikipedia
IAR 330 - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia
IAR-330 Medium Utility Helicopter | MilitaryToday.com
https://en.topwar.ru/105224-palubnye-vertolety-vms-rumynii-chast-2-ya.html
IAR 330 | Military Wiki | Fandom
https://www.navy.ro/despre/organizare/dategen_el.php
Spike-ER multi-purpose anti-tank missile system | Missilery.info
https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/iar-330l-puma-helicopter-romania/
IAR-330L Puma SOCAT 79 + 56 + 86 + 64 + MEDEVAC 67 RoAF | … | Flickr
IAR-330L Puma SOCAT 64 + 79 RoAF | Baza 95 Aeriană Bacău O… | Flickr
IAR Industria Aeronautică Română IAR 330 Puma - most liked photos | Airplane-Pictures.net
Reddit - Dive into anything
BSDA 2014 – IAR-330 Puma Naval – Resboiu
MALI, Gao, Minusma UN mission, Camp Castor, Helicopter unit Romanian Pumas for paramedic rescue flights, Helicopter IAR-330 Puma L-RM / MALI, Gao, UN Mission Minusma, Multidimensionale Integrierte Stabilisierungsmission der Vereinten Nationen in Mali, CAMP CASTOR , rumänische Hubschrauber Staffel für medizinische Hilfe, Helikopter IAR-330 Puma L-RM, Maschinengewehr Stock Photo - Alamy
Aerospatiale (IAR) IAR-330L/SOCAT Puma - Romania - Air Force | Aviation Photo #1701496 | Airliners.net

2 Likes

+1 This resembles what the South Africans made(XTP), and with the Mi-8 proving somewhat popularity, this would have no problem finding its place in the game

Despite the fact that there was once a Romanian premium in the French heli tree, I want this for Italy since Romania belongs there. +1 for Italy.

1 Like

Sometimes the location of nations and vehicles change, like the Israeli F-84 premium, the Sho’t Kal Dalet tank or the first tier of Italian aircraft. I would love to see a fully-fledged Romanian sub-tech tree in the game (regardless of location), or at least some of the potential vehicles available in WT.

1 Like

Yep. I fully support a Romanian sub-tree for Italy in every branch.

Since Italy received Hungarian GF line and it’s known that Romanian additions will be placed in that TT as well, I think it would be nice to have Romania helicopters in the tree.

Spoiler

Imo there should be a separate line going from the starter heli (in my custom TT, it’s AB47J equipped with 4 missiles, while AB205A-1 gets hidden). The line will be this way :

Rank V
→ IAR-316B → Hungarian Mi-24D →
Rank VI
→ IAR-330L → Hungarian Mi-24V →
Rank VII
→ IAR-330L SOCAT

Also IAR-317 gets added as a rank V squadron vehicle. There can be more helicopters in this line, such as Romanian/Hungarian Mi-8T and Hungarian Mi-17, H145 and H225, but I don’t want to include them for now, because I haven’t seen them equipped with any atgms in service of said nations and find them unnecessary for the TT in such state.