SA 341F Gazelle
|This page is about the French utility helicopter SA 341F Gazelle. For other version, see SA.342M Gazelle.|
The SA 341F Gazelle is a rank VI French utility helicopter with a battle rating of 9.7 (AB/SB) and 9.3 (RB). It was introduced in Update 1.87 "Locked On".
Initially designed by Sud Aviation in 1966, the Gazelle helicopter project (SA.340, SA.341 and SA.342) was continued by Aérospatiale as a French five-seat transport, scout and light attack helicopter manufactured in both France and the United Kingdom. Manufacturing licenses were granted allowing a Yugoslavian company SOKO and the Arab British Helicopter Company in Egypt to also produce these aircraft.
The Turbomeca Artouste Astazou IIB turbine engine powers the Gazelle. Initial testing of this helicopter utilised a standard tail-rotor taken from the Alouette, however, design changes switched to a Fenestron-style tail, the first helicopter to do so. The Fenestron tail or "fantail" differs from a conventional tail rotor as it contains eight to eighteen blades housed within the tail unit of the helicopter. Advantages of the Fenestron include substantial noise reduction, protection of tail rotor damage from contact with other objects and protection of ground personnel working around the tail section. With the aid of the Fenestron tail, the Gazelle was the world's fastest helicopter in its class during its early years.
In the service of the French, the Gazelle SA.341F was utilised as a light support helicopter equipped with a 20 mm GLAT M.261 cannon and various rockets, anti-tank missiles and air-to-air missiles. Over the years, the Gazelle was removed from anti-tank duty and reconfigured for operations as an Air Observation Post directing artillery fire, airborne forward air controller directing ground-attack troops, troop casualty evacuations and communication relay operations.
Describe how the helicopter behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 0 m - at sea level)
| Max altitude|
Survivability and armour
With no armor plating present on the vehicle, this helicopter is incredibly vulnerable to all types of fire. The exposed engine is also vulnerable to being damaged or set alight, dooming the helicopter.
The SA 341F Gazelle is armed with:
- A choice between two presets:
- Without offensive armament
- 1 x 20 mm GIAT M.621 cannon (1,000 rpg) + 32 x Flares
The SA 341F Gazelle can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- 7 x FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets + 1 x 20 mm GIAT M.621 cannon (1,000 rpg)
- 2 x HOT-1 missiles + 1 x 20 mm GIAT M.621 cannon (1,000 rpg)
- 2 x HOT-2 TOW missiles + 1 x 20 mm GIAT M.621 cannon (1,000 rpg)
- 2 x Mistral missiles + 1 x 20 mm GIAT M.621 cannon (1,000 rpg)
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. However, due to the limited armament (2 missiles), the Gazelle is limited to strafing ground targets and trying to lock onto enemy helicopters.
- Mi-28N, Mi-24P, Mi-24V: Due to the gazelle's lack of a MAW system, it is still possible to shoot it down with the AAMs these helicopters carry. Their armor also means that it is harder for you to shoot them down in return.
- Ka-50, Ka-52: Both can outrange you, meaning that killing one is the result of their mistakes
- Tiger UHT: Similar to the Ka-50, the Tiger has access to IR-guided ATGMS with long range.
- AH-1: Highly maneuverable with a high volume of fire, the Cobra family of helicopters is incredibly good at dogfighting. Engage from long range, or use superior speed to flee.
|I||Compressor||Flak jacket||Offensive 20 mm||Flares|
|III||Engine||Replacing helicopter blades||NVD||New 20 mm cannons||HOT-2|
Pros and cons
- One of the smallest helicopters, easier to hide, and harder to hit at high speed
- 20 mm autocannon for engaging aircraft and lightly-armoured vehicles
- Respectable ammo count for the cannon
- 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
- Fixed forward cannon is hard to get on target
- Very low unguided rocket count
- Can only equip one type of missile at a time; AGM or AAM
- Carries only two of each missile
Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the helicopter in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the vehicle and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Vehicle-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the
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<ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with
<references />. This section may also include the vehicle's dev blog entry (if applicable) and the in-game encyclopedia description (under
=== In-game description ===, also if applicable).
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.
|Utility||SA 313B Alouette II · SA 316B Alouette III · SA 341F Gazelle · SA 342M Gazelle|
|Export||▀SA 313B Alouette II|
|Attack||▄H-34 · EC-665 Tiger HAD · EC-665 Tiger HAP|
|Utility||IAR 316B · SA 313B Alouette II · SA 316B Alouette III · SA 341F Gazelle · SA 342M Gazelle|