The Eurocopter AS355 is a twin-engine light helicopter originally manufactured by Aérospatiale. The AS355 first appeared in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies as a helicopter owned and operated by the Carver Media Group Network in Vietnam. An AS355 F1 was subsequently featured in 1999's The World Is Not Enough as an overgrowth-clearing helicopter utilised by King Industries.
Tomorrow Never Dies
After discovering the wreck of the British ship HMS Devonshire in the South China Sea, James Bond and Wai Lin, a Chinese spy on the same case, are captured by the henchmen of media mogul Elliot Carver and are taken by AS355 to the CMGN tower in Saigon, Vietnam. After escaping the building, the pair grab a BMW R1200C motorbike and are chased through the streets of Saigon by the helicopter. Its pilot eventually attempts to mow down the pair using the aircraft's main rotor, but is outmanoeuvred and crashes in flames.
The World Is Not Enough
Whilst investigating the activities of oil heiress Elektra King at a caviar factory owned by Valentin Zukovsky, James Bond fends off an assassination attempt using two AS355 helicopters with buzz saw pendants, known as aerial side-trimmers. The devices are essentially a string of rotating buzzsaws affixed to the bottom of a helicopter. In normal operation, the pilot navigates his aircraft into position alongside overgrowth, engages the saws, and slices through the vegetative foliage. In the hands of King Industry's assassins, the blades cut through wooden platforms and even 007's BMW Z8, whilst gunmen fire from its exposed cockpit. Bond uses a ground-to-air rocket from his Z8 to shoot down the first aircraft and utilises a gas pipe and flare gun to destroy the second.
Behind the scenes
During The World Is Not Enough, the helicopter assault sequence was achieved using a mixture of computer-generated helicopters and a full size mock-up of the AS355 which was suspended from a crane. For an earlier scene, where 007 encounters one of the aircraft upon arriving in Azerbaijan, a real-life helicopter was utilised and filmed on location. Interestingly, a sequence featuring a buzzsaw column-equipped helicopter was originally written into an early draft of GoldenEye by Michael France, and had the helicopter chasing Bond and the heroine while they were on skis.