01/31/2010. At the 1979 Paris Air Show, Aérospatiale announced that it had won with this aircraft the competition for a helicopter to perform SRR (Short Range Recovery) duties from eighteen shore bases, and from icebreakers and cutters, of the US Coast Guard. Basically similar to the SA 365N the helicopter was to be fitted with engines and equipment of US manufacture accounting for about 60 per cent of the total cost of each aircraft.
The helicopter was powered by two 680 shp Avco Lycoming LTS 101-750A-1 turboshafts, and the first SA 366G flew for the first time at Marignane, France on July 23, 1980. It was later shipped to Aérospatiale Helicopter Corporation in Texas for installation of avionics, and flight testing for FAA certification. The size of the tail fin and carbon fiber 'fenestron' was increased on the operational Coast Guard aircraft, designated SA 366G1.
The first HH-65A of the initial order for ninety aircraft was delivered on November 19, 1984, over a year behind schedule, due to problems with the IFR (Instrument Flight Regulations) equipment. It normally carried a crew of four (pilot, co-pilot, hoist operator, and rescue swimmer), and the first life-saving medevac mission was completed on September 20, 1985. Later an additional 12 aircraft were ordered.
From 2001, the HH-65A fleet was upgraded to HH-65B configuration, with GPS (global positioning system) equipment and flat-panel displays. The LTS 101-750A-1 turboshafts proved to be not powerful enough and 1,054 shp Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 turboshafts were evaluated in 2002, leading to the decision in 2003 to fit all aircraft with these engines, the type being redesignated HH-65C. A number of re-engined aircraft have been fitted with armament for interdiction duties, these are designated MH-65C.