The AS355 is a light utility helicopter originally made by Aérospatiale, later Eurocopter and today by Airbus Helicopters. It first took flight in 1979. Production began in 1975.
The AS355 began design as an explicit replacement for the Alouette II and would fulfill roles in corporate transport and utility missions across the world.
The AS355 has been developed from the outset to have full Category A performance and ISA+10 certification.
There are many variants of the twin-engine model and it represents more performance in this class than other similarly-priced competitors.
The AS355 (F2) is powered by two Allison 250-C20F turboshaft engines, each rated at 420 shaft horsepower. This gives it a cruising speed of 224 kilometers per hour or about 139 miles per hour. It has an excellent range of 703 kilometers (437 miles) and a service ceiling of 3 400 meters or just over 11 000 feet.
In the USA the helicopter was marketed as the Twinstar. It is also known as the Ecureuil or the AStar. In total nearly 4000 have been delivered, which means this family of helicopters is one of the most successful on the world market.
Although the EC130 entered the market as a functionally direct replacement, production of the popular AS355 continues today.