The Portuguese Air Force bid farewell to the Alouette III helicopter on June 18, exactly 57 years after the helicopter entered service in 1963.
The first Allouette flight took place in Luanda, Angola, on June 18, 1963.
Over the course of over five decades, the Alouette III fleet totaled more than 300,000 flight hours, distributed in various operational and instructional missions. It has been operated by “Drones”, faithful custodians of all the traditions of the existing light helicopter squadrons in Portugal, since 1978.
During its time in service, the helicopter carried out missions during the Colonial War and supported the peace keeping mission in Timor. It also performed tactical transport and supported helicopter pilot training.
At the time of its decommissioning, the aircraft was operated by Squadron 552 – “Zangões”, at Air Base No. 11 in Beja.
The Alouette III is being replaced by the Leonard-developed AW119MKII Koala, which was ordered by the country in 2018. The first two units were delivered in 2019, while a total of five have been ordered.