20 January 2012 - by Tony Osborne- Flight Global
London - Eurocopter is test flying and preparing to deliver the first AS532AL cougars to the Albanian Armed Forces.
The first of five aircraft ordered, FA-630, has been flying from the company's plant at Marignane near Marseille since late last year.
Albania ordered the helicopters under a €78.6 million contract in December 2009 and all five aircraft will be deliver by early 2013.
The Cougars are the first new aircraft purchase made by the Albanian Ministry of Defence since the end of the Cold War.
The largely Chinese and Soviet-built fleet of helicopters, which once dominated the forces, have been retired from service and replaced by donated Agusta-Bell Hueys from Italy and ex-German military Bo-105s.