|This page is about the French utility helicopter SA.342M Gazelle. For other versions, see Gazelle (Family).
A member of the Gazelle helicopter family, the SA.342M Gazelle is a French Army anti-tank helicopter equipped with a Turbomeca Artouste Astazou XIV engine and a Fenestron tail rotor. It is equipped with up to four HOT missiles and a SFIM APX M379 stabilised sight, making it the primary anti-tank gunship of the Gazelle family. The SA.342M can also switch to an anti-air role by mounting Mistral missiles, becoming the Gazelle Mistral variant.
It was introduced in Update 1.87 "Locked On". The Gazelle is a versatile helicopter that can perform different roles depending on the loadout. It can destroy tanks with ATGMs or rockets, or shoot down aircraft or helicopters with AAMs and cannon. It relies on stealth and cover to avoid detection and enemy fire, as it has no radar warning receiver and limited armour.
The Gazelle is a fast and agile helicopter which can do tight turns and barrel rolls at a relative altitude. It has similar flight performance as the EC-665 Tiger helicopters, but with a more sluggish flight. The weight and small size make the Gazelle one of the fastest accelerating helicopters in the game, even with full payload.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 0 m - at sea level)
| Max altitude
Survivability and armour
The Gazelle has low survivability even against flak, not only because the cabin has low thickness, but also because the cabin glass takes a lot of the cabin surface. Thus, even low-calibre machine gun fire is able to take the Gazelle down with no issues at all.
Modifications and economy
The SA.342M Gazelle can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- 14 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
- 4 x HOT-1 missiles
- 4 x HOT-2 TOW missiles
- 4 x Mistral missiles
- 2 x Mistral missiles + 7 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets
- 2 x Mistral missiles + 2 x HOT-1 missiles
- 2 x Mistral missiles + 2 x HOT-2 TOW missiles
This version of the Gazelle removes the 20 mm autocannon and replaces it with two additional pylons which can be used to carry double the ordnance. It has a really low ordnance capacity compared to other helicopters at the tier but compensates it with the agility and speed, specially when compared with Mi-24's. Both HOT-1 and HOT-2 do not have really long ranges, meaning the Gazelle has to enter within the SPAA range. However, SPAA can be countered by flying low and staying behind cover, specially trees and mountains. It carries a really low amount of rockets but can be deadly if aimed correctly. It also has access to air-to-air missiles, the Mistral missile.
Usage in battles
This helicopter has three main playstyles, centred around the selected loadout.
- Anti-Tank: Using ATGMs, get within 4 km of a target, while remaining hidden by trees or buildings, and guide your missile to the target. Focus on tanks without reactive armour, as they may render your missiles ineffective, and waste your time. After expending your missiles, it is best to return to the helipad and resupply.
- Rocketeer: Using unguided rockets, fly low over the battlefield and assault a single tank with a precise salvo, and then retreat behind cover.
- Air defence: Using AAMs, sneak behind enemy lines, and land in an obscured area, or behind cover, and wait for aircraft or helicopters to get near your allies. Then surprise attack them with your missiles and cannon fire. This will make short work of any helicopter, and most slow-flying aircraft.
Overall, you want to avoid direct line-of-sight to your enemies, as they likely can spot you faster than you can spot them, and engage you at longer range. Surface-to-air missiles are a serious threat, as they can take you by surprise, and you have no radar detector to warn you of their presence. The same applies to radar-guided anti-aircraft guns.
In Helicopter Battles (Heli EC) the Gazelle is notably better than either of the two preceding helicopters, finally unlocking AAMs with a greater range (5.5km) than 3/4km ATGMs.
Pros and cons
- One of the smallest helicopters, easier to hide, and harder to hit at high speed
- Mistral air-to-air missiles
- Has access to flares and thermal optics
- Can be equipped with HOT-1 and HOT-2 AGMs
- Surprisingly hard to manoeuvre at speed, and has a tendency to over-roll
- No armour, easy to damage critical components and eliminate crew
- Starts off with one of the weakest stock loadouts for helicopters
- No gun armaments
- Very low unguided rocket count
The SA.342M Gazelle was the anti-tank version of the SA.342F Gazelle, the Gazelle utilised by the French army. It was fitted with the Astazou XIV engine, as well as with the Euromissile HOT-2 TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missile. In order to increase the anti-tank capabilities, it was fitted with SFIM APX M397 stabilized sight.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the helicopter;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|SA 313B Alouette II · SA 316B Alouette III · SA.341F Gazelle · SA.342M Gazelle
|◄SA 313B Alouette II · HKP2 · SA.342L Gazelle
|▄H-34 · EC-665 Tiger HAD · Tiger HAD Block 2 · EC-665 Tiger HAP
|IAR 316B · SA 313B Alouette II · SA 316B Alouette III · SA.341F Gazelle · SA.342M Gazelle