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Atlas Aviation Beta XTP-1

Atlas Aviation XDM  

Atlas Aviation CSH-2 Rooivalk / Red Hawk / Red Kestrel




Born out of the South African Air Force's need for an escort and close air support helicopter, the Rooivalk programme was initiated in the early 1980s by Atlas Aviation. The Alpha XH-1 was purely a test-bed for weapon and cockpit systems. It was fitted with a GA-1 Rattler 20mm cannon in a steerable turret, linked to a Kukri helmet-mounted sight. Following on from the Alpha XH-1 research, Denel comimssioned two Puma helicopters to develop the systems required for the Rooivalk. During 1987, the first of two XTP-1 Puma-based test-beds were built and used to evaluate engines, avionics, optronics, weapons and associated control systems for the larger airframe. These test-beds also included the use of locally-produced composite materials used in both airframe and rotor systems.

Puma J1 first flew in 1986 and was the primary avionics, weapons and flight control systems’ test bed.

A highly modified version of the Aérospatiale SA.330 Puma, the XTP-1 has been under development since 1981, and a prototype was revealed in May 1987. Principal upgrades include the installation of an under-fuselage GA-1 20mm cannon turret with a helmet-mounted sight for the gunner and inter­nal ammunition storage, two large stub wings with a total of four pylons for rocket pods, and a redesigned tail unit with a ventral fin and modified horizontal stabiliser.


Puma J2 flew shortly afterwards, its primary task being to develop the weapons systems and integrate them with the aircraft and the other on hoard systems. Concurrently two missile tests were conducted: the first stud­ied the effect of missile blast on the tail boom and the other studied the accuracy of the weapons and associated systems.


The first Rooivalk prototype was unveiled in January 1990 and the second prototype, or advanced design model, flew for the first time in May 1992. It differed from the original experimental design model in having the production 1553B databus and full anti-armour mission equipment fitted. It was also armed with the 20mm cannon fitted in a TC-20 chin turret.

From the J model Pumas the Rooivalk started to take shape in the form of the ini­tial experimental development model (XDM). XDM first flew on 11 February 1990 and began testing aircraft dynamics before progressing on to validate mechanical, aerodynamic and structural design, mov­ing through to expand the flight envelope. It is fitted with an articulated rotor head which allows it to loop, giving it that per­formance edge over an adversary. Denel also claims that the maximum speed was taken out of the design envelope allowing 196kt in forward flight.

The Rooivalk's fuselage is mostly metal but with some composites. It has stepped tandem cockpits, with the pilot in the rear and the co-pilot/gunner in the front. The cockpit canopies are formed from flat plate on single curvature sheets to minimise glint from the sun. The twin Topaz turboshaft engines are uprated versions of the Turbomeca Turmo IV and the main rotor is similar to that fitted to the Aerospatiale Puma. An automatic flight control system is fitted, with auto-hover and auto-land. The Rooivalk is designed to operate at low level (under 15m) and at high speeds.




This tandem-seat helicopter is based around a Puma transmission and dynamics and has been built using composite materials. Powered by two Turbomeca Makila turboshafts developing 1175kW it has an all-up-weight of 3245kg. The helicopter can be armed with an assortment of weapons and is capable of operating day or night. Weapons include: 20mm cannon fitted in a TC-20 chin turret or larger DEFA 30mm cannon in a TC-30 chin turret, 2 x 18-tube rocket pods, 2 box launchers for 4 laser beam-riding ZT-35 anti-tank guided missiles, 2 Kukri or Darter Infra-Red homing air-to-air missiles.

The South African Air Force purchased four Rooivalk CHS-2s in 1993 and intend to eventually operate a Squadron of at least 16 Rooivalks. The Rooivalk entered service in late 1996.The Rooivalk was also offered to the British Army to fulfil their Attack Helicopter requirement.

By 1999 was called the Red Hawk



Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Makila 1A2, 1470kW.
Instant pwr: 1492 kW.
Rotor dia: 15.58 m.
Length with rotors turning: 18.73m
Fuselage length: 16.4m
Height: 4.59m
Empty weight: 5910kg
MTOW: 8750 kg.
Payload: 2030 kg.
Max speed: 167 kt / 309km/h
Max cruise: 150 kt / 278km/h
Max range (internal fuel): 700 km.
Range with max fuel: 705km
Range MTOW with external fuel: 1260km
Service ceiling: 6100m
HIGE: 18,200 ft.
HOGE: 16,500 ft / 5545m
Crew: 2


Engine: 2 x Topaz (Turboméca Makila 1K2), 1794 shp
Rotor diameter: 51.115 ft / 15.58 m
Length: 54.626 ft / 16.65 m
Height: 17.028 ft / 5.19 m
Max take off weight: 19293.8 lb / 8750.0 kg
Weight empty: 13031.6 lb / 5910.0 kg
Max. speed: 167 kt / 309 km/h
Cruising speed: 150 kt / 278 km/h
Initial climb rate: 2198.82 ft/min / 11.17 m/s
Service ceiling: 16503 ft / 5030 m
Maximum range: 680 nm / 1260 km
Range: 378 nm / 700 km
Endurance: 4 h
Crew: 2
Armament: 1x MG 20mm, 8-16 Miss. ext., 4x A/A Miss. V3B Kukri, max. 2030kg










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