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#1987 Romanian Air Force - IAR-330L SOCAT Puma (78)

20050910-118 Romanian Air Force - IAR-330L SOCAT Puma (78) Brno CZ.jpg #1988 Let L-13 Blanik (glider) formationThumbnails#1986 Air Force of Serbia & Montenegro - Soko J-22 (25207)

IAR-330L SOCAT Puma (78) from the Romanian Air Force at the Czech International Air Fest 2005, Brno-Tuřany (Czech Republic)

The IAR-330 is the Romanian-built version of Aérospatiale's SA-330 Puma helicopter, manufactured by IAR (Industria Aeronautică Română) Brașov.
In 1990s, the Romanian Air Force decided to enhance combat capabilities of IAR-330L, making it a universal anti-tank and support helicopter. At that time, Romania started to cooperate with Israel on some military programs. The Israeli company Elbit Systems was chosen, and in September 1995 the Romanian Air Force signed the contract to upgrade 24 helicopters with the SOCAT system (Sistem Optronic de Cercetare și Anti-Tanc).
The first IAR-330L SOCAT was flown on 26 May 1998, from the airport of IAR S.A. in Ghimbav, near Brașov. On 23 October 1999, the second prototype flew. The first IAR-330L SOCAT was delivered to a combat unit in 2001. In all, 25 SOCATs were made,
including the prototype, rebuilt to a serial configuration in 2005.