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The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) has inducted the first upgraded Cougar AS-532 AL helicopter into services at Ruag Aviation facilities in Alpnach, Switzerland.

The move marks the completion of the first SAF helicopter upgrade under the modernisation project supported by the Nato Support and Procurement Agency’s (NSPA) Aviation Support Programme.

Last year, NSPA signed Ruag Aviation to provide upgrade services to the fleet.

Work on the first helicopter commenced in September and involved overhaul activities on its twin engines.

The Cougar is equipped with two Turbomeca Makila 1A2 engines, which provide a maximum continuous power of 1,240kW and are able to maintain their maximum take-off power of 1,380kW for five minutes.

"Work on the first helicopter commenced in September and involved overhaul activities on its twin engines."

The Eurocopter-built Cougar AS 532 is available in three versions, the AS 532 A2 combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) helicopter, the AS532 Horizon surveillance system operated with a ground station, and the AS532 UB/AB utility version.

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Currently, the fleet is in service with 28 air forces, eight armies and five navies including France, Spain and Bulgaria.

The aircraft is equipped with two outboard 20mm cannons, pod-mounted rockets and two 12.7mm machine guns.

The Aviation Support Programme will continue to provide support to the SAF AS-532 AL helicopter fleet under the three-year contract with an additional option to extend for a five year period.

Image: Slovenian Armed Forces’ upgraded Cougar AS-532 AL helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Nato Support and Procurement Agency.