Home Forum Shop Alumni

Aircraft Stats:

Powerplant: 2 x Turbomeca Makila IA1 turboshaft engines of 1,877shp (1,400kW) each
Speed: 320 kph, 199mph mph
Range: 500km, 311miles
Seats: 3+16
Length: 14.06m, 46ft 2in
Span: 15m, 3ft 3in
Max T/O Weight: 8 400kg, 18,520lb
Period of Service: 1990 - Current


Status: Current
Manufacturer: Denel
Country of Manufacture: South Africa
Role: Utility

The Atlas Oryx is a medium-sized utility helicopter manufactured by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation (now Denel Aviation) of South Africa. First launched in 1991 as a transport helicopter for the SAAF, the Oryx is an 8t helicopter with three cockpit crew seats, 16 troop seats or up to 12 VIP seats. It can carry 6,000kg of cargo on the external sling or 3,600kg of freight in the cabin.

It is thought that the basic airframe came from IAR in Romania (which had a licence to produce Pumas) and the Super Puma tail booms, rotors, engines, etc were acquired elsewhere.

In 2006 the SAAF initiated a mid life upgrade for 35 Oryx helicopters to extend their service life to the 2015 - 2020 timeframe. Due to budgetary restrictions, the upgrade will be limited to airframe life extensions, with a limited communications and navigation upgrade. It was initially planned to do a full glass cockpit upgrade.

Many of the aircraft were also fitted with a RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) on the cockpit eyebrow window. Susequently, most of the aircraft had the RWR with the new EWSPS (Electronic Warfare Self Protection System). This system is aimed at defeating shoulder launched IR missiles such as the SAM 7. The system comprises the MAWS (Missile Approach Warning System) and the flare dispensing system (120 flares divided into 4 magazines) on the rear fuselage. 


Oryx 1224. Oryx 1201 during Operation Genesis in Angola during 1992. Oryx 1217 of 17 Squadron in 2004. Oryx 1202 of 22 Squadron in 2004. Oryx 1211 of 17 Squadron in 2004.