Aerospatiale SA 366/HH-65A Dolphin

In 1979, the U.S. Coast Guard began looking for a new helicopter for the short-range recovery (SSR) role. Eurocopter's SA 366G was selected, beating out the Bell 222 and Sikorsky S-76. Over the next five years, 96 helicopters were acquired by the USCG, which designated the helicopter the HH-65A Dolphin. Although the helicopter is usually operated from land bases, it is also capable of shipboard operations as well. It features a 3,500-lb. hoist for sea rescues, and is also used for drug trafficking operations.

The helicopter has a crew of three: a pilot and copilot who sit in tandem, and a flight engineer. The baggage area can be fitted with a 47.5-gallon auxiliary tank for increased range, plus an additional 125-gallon tank in place of passenger seating. The Dolphin burns 61 gallons of jet fuel per hour of routine usage. It has a range of 472 miles with maximum fuel or 248 miles with maximum passenger load; typical endurance is 4 hours. A full tank of fuel costs $900.


Eurocopter HH-65A Dolphin

Subassemblies: Body +4, Top-and-tail rotor +0, three Retractable Wheels +0.

Powertrain: Two 507-kW HP gas turbines; 1,014-kW TTR drivetrain, 2,300-kWs advanced battery.

Fuel: 300 gallons jet fuel (Fire 13) in light self-sealing tank [Body] (fire +0).

Occupancy: 2 NCS, 2 NPS.

Cargo: 0 lbs.


Armor F RL B T U

All: 3/10 3/10 3/10 3/10 3/10



Body: Civilian Helicopter Package (autopilot, GPS, long-range radio, navigation instruments, 1-mile searchlight, transponder), 3,500-lb. Winch, 25-mile thermograph, small computer with datalink, flight recorder, stretcher pallet, 14-man environmental control, backup driver.



Size: 38'x6'x13' Payload: 1.47 tons Lwt.: 4.46 tons

Volume: 600 cf Maint.: 22 hours Price: $838,375


HT: 12. HPs: 320 Body, 94 Rotors, 29 each Wheel.


aSpeed: 201 aAccel: 4 aDecel: 10 aMR: 2.5 aSR: 2

Stall speed 0.


Design Notes:

Body is 600 cf; rotor is 12 cf; wheels are 30 cf. Structure is light, expensive with fair streamlining. Body armor is standard composite. Mechanical controls. Fuel tank is light, seal-sealing. Design loaded weight was under by 28 lbs.

Real-world weight was used for performance calculations. Design aSpeed was 205 mph.



The SA 365 (1975) is a civilian version, carrying 12 passengers. It features two 505-kW turboshafts with a top speed of 166 mph.

A number of military variants are available. These have been designated the AS 565 Panther series by Eurocopter. The Panther is primarily deployed in the anti-ship and anti-submarine roles. It can carry 1,323 lbs. of disposable stores on four hardpoints. Generally, it is armed with four AS15TT light anti-ship missiles or two Mk 46 lightweight torpedoes.


From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic