Some Thiarian Helicopters:
The Thiarian aviation industry never quite managed to enter the helicopter market; the few designs that achieved production readiness usually failed due to excessive cost, with two exceptions (not yet drawn, to come later). Thiaria's armed forces thus have to buy off the shelf. The Aerospatiale Puma/Cougar was their standard medium transport helicopter from the early 1980s through late 2000s; the acquisition of the NH-90 had already been decided upon in 1995, but cost and reliability issues frustrated the Thiarians, and they decided to quit the programme and look for an alternative in 2004. The Eurocopter Caracal - a brand new offer with virtually no development risk, as it was based upon a 40 year old design - fit their requirements best, and between 2004 and 2009, a total of 120 units were ordered, 48 for the air corps to serve as CSAR and special operations support helicopters and 48 for the navy for use as shipborne ASW machines (8 for each carrier, 2 for each destroyer and 1 for each fleet replenishment ship, plus 12 in reserve). The air force version was virtually identical with the french original, while the naval version featured many indigenous improvements, like two fuselage-mounted weapons stations, a surface search radar, MAD gear, a sonobuoy launcher array and sonobuoy surveillance gear.
Caracal - Air force version with refueling probe (available for all 48 machines, but not usually mounted)
Caracal - Naval version (upper one with 2 MU-90 torpedoes, lower one with 2 Polyphem missiles)
Thiaria did not possess a dedicated combat helicopter till 2006; a few Mi-24s were supplied in the early 1970s by the soviets, but that alliance broke up before they were fully operational, and the small fleet never became reliably serviceable. Unwilling to buy American instead, the Thiarians deferred the decision from year to year for almost two decades; the puny army budget (compared with the amounts of money lavished upon the navy) did not help either. In the late 1990s, the Thiarians took notice of South Africa's troublesome Rooivalk programme, a potentially very powerful helicopter with the added benefit of considerable commonality with the already well established Puma/Cougar series. When the South Africans demanded a counter-trade agreement during negotiations about the purchase of Siolpaire jet fighters, the Thiarians offered to buy 16 Rooivalks and acquire a license to build 48 more. The deal was made, and the South Africans finally were able to get their project running after it had been starved for funding over many years. Deliveries took place in 2006 and 2007, and the first Thiarian license-produced machines followed in 2009; they featured a new five-bladed rotor similar to the Caracal's, a mast-mounted radar and the ability to fire TRIGAT (identical to the German PARS-3LR) ATGMs. As usual with Thiarian army projects, the originally planned numbers could not be funded, and production was terminated after 24 machines in 2011. Although the Thiarians marketed the Rooivalk - called Seabhac (Hawk) by them - rather aggressively, no export orders have materialised so far.
Seabhac (Rooivalk) - upper one with 4 Mistral AAMs and 4 68mm Rocket pods, lower one with 4 Mistral AAMs and 8 TRIGAT ATGMs)