Aerospatiale SA 341 Gazelle all-purpose lightweight helicopter
originated as Aerospatiale project X 300 to meet a French army
requirement for a light observation helicopter. The
designation was changed to SA 340 soon afterwards. The
finished design showed close affinity to the SA 318c Aloutte II,
and eventually used the same power plant and transmission system.
Unlike the Aloutte II, however the new helicopter features a
fully-encoulded fuselage structure and has two pilots side by
side, with full dual controls. It also introduced two
innovations: the fenestron, or shrouded tail rotor, and a
rigid modified Bolkow-type main rotor. And it showed every
sign of sharing its pre-decessor's sales success and popularity.