CHEETAH

The Cheetah helicopter known as Alouette II is a light helicopter originally manufactured by Sud Aviation and later Aérospatiale, both of France.

The Cheetah is the rechristened Lama which has been derived from the Alouette II. The Lama mated the Alouette's airframe with the larger Alouette III's dynamic components including Artouste IIIB engine. On 17 March 1969, the SA315B Lama made its maiden flight. Three years later, on 21 June 1972, Jean Boulet of France, piloting a Lama, broke the high altitude record for a helicopter flight reaching 12,442 meters (40,820 feet), followed by the longest autorotation in history. It is no small testimony to the Lama's design that the altitude record stands to this day. The Cheetah has been extensively used in the Himalayas, where it is operating at altitudes beyond 20,000 ft and in Siachen it is the backbone of Indian Army’s strategic military presence.