Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Contains threads on Joint Service equipment of the past, present and future.
User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7179
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
England

Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by SKB »

Image

Introduction
The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. The aircraft differs considerably from the American version, with Rolls-Royce Gnome engines (derived from the US General Electric T58), British-made anti-submarine warfare systems and a fully computerised flight control system. The Sea King was primarily designed for performing anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions. A Sea King variant was adapted by Westland as troop transport known as the Commando.

In British service, the Westland Sea King provided a wide range of services in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. As well as wartime roles in the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, the Iraq War, and the Afghanistan War, the Sea King is perhaps most well known in its capacity as a Royal Navy Search and Rescue (red and grey livery) and RAF Search and Rescue Force (yellow livery) helicopter. The Sea King was also adapted to meet the Royal Navy's requirement for a ship-based airborne early warning platform.

As of 2015, the WS-61 Sea King remains in operation in Britain, as well as multiple export customers: Germany, Norway, Egypt and India. The United Kingdom is currently replacing the Sea King with more modern variants of the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin helicopter.

Origins
Westland Helicopters, which had a long-standing licence agreement with Sikorsky Aircraft to allow it to build Sikorsky's helicopters, extended the agreement to cover the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King soon after the Sea King's first flight in 1959. ] Westland proceeded to independently develop the Sea King, integrating a significant proportion of components from British suppliers; key changes include the use of a pair of Rolls-Royce Gnome turbo shaft engines and the implementation of an automatic flight control system. On this matter, authors Jim Thorn and Gerald Frawley stated that: "Despite appearances, Westland's Sea King [is a] very different aircraft from Sikorsky's". Many of the differences between the Westland-built Sea King and the original helicopter were as a result of differing operational doctrine. While the U.S. Navy Sea Kings were intended to be under tactical control of the carrier from which they operated, the Royal Navy intended its helicopters to be much more autonomous, capable of operating alone, or coordinating with other aircraft or surface vessels. This resulted in a different crew arrangement, with operations being controlled by an observer rather than the pilot, as well as fitting a search radar.

The Royal Navy selected the Sea King to meet a requirement for an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter to replace the Westland Wessex, placing an order with Westland for 60 SH-3D Sea Kings in June 1966. The prototype and three pre-production aircraft were built by Sikorsky at Stratford, Connecticut and shipped to the United Kingdom to act as trials and pattern aircraft. The first of the SH-3Ds was initially fitted with General Electric T58s and, after being shipped from the United States, was flown in October 1966 from the dockside at Avonmouth to Yeovil airfield. The other three were delivered from the docks, by road to Yeovil, for completion with British systems and Rolls-Royce Gnome engines. The first Westland-built helicopter, designated Sea King HAS1, flew on 7 May 1969 at Yeovil. The first two helicopters were used for trials and evaluation by Westland and the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment; subsequent production Sea Kings were delivered to the Royal Navy's 700 Naval Air Squadron from August 1969 onwards.

By 1979, the Royal Navy had ordered 56 HAS1s and 21 HAS2s to meet the anti-submarine requirements, these were also configured for the secondary anti-ship role. The Westland Sea King was updated and adapted for numerous roles, subsequent variants include the HAS2, HAS5 and HAS6. Changes from initial production aircraft included an expansion of the cabin and upgraded engines.

Commando and further developments
One of the most extensively modified variants was the Westland Commando , operated by the Royal Navy as the HC4. The Commando had capacity for up to 28 fully equipped troops and had originally been developed to meet an Egyptian Air Force requirement. Due to the deletion of the amphibious capability, not required in the Egyptian desert, the most noticeable change from the Sea King was the deletion of the side floats, the main undercarriage being carried on stub sponsons. An improved variant of the Egyptian Commando, with changes including the fitting of folding blades common to the ASW variants, was designated as the Sea King HC4 by the Royal Navy and all the aircraft were new build. First flying on 26 September 1979, due to its operational range of up to 600 nautical miles without refuelling, the HC4 'Commando' became an important asset for amphibious warfare and troop transport duties, in particular. Several Royal Naval Air Squadrons have operated the Commando variant, such as 845 Naval Air Squadron, 846 Naval Air Squadron and 848 Naval Air Squadron. In British service, the Sea King HC4 was deployed on operations in the Falklands, the Balkans, both Gulf Wars, Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Towards the end of the Sea King's operational life, several HAS6s were repurposed by the removal of the ASW equipment, as troop transports. In 2010, the last of the UK's converted ASW Sea Kings to troop transports were retired.

In the 1970s, Westland's experience with the Sea King led the company to conduct the British Experimental Rotor Program (BERP), in coordination with the Royal Aircraft Establishment, which applied innovations in composite materials and new design principles to the helicopter rotor. Initial trials carried out with active Sea Kings found several advantages to the BERP rotor, including a longer fatigue life and improved aerodynamic characteristics. Subsequent Westland helicopters, such as the record-breaking Lynx and the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin, took advantage of BERP rotors for greater performance. Westland equipped later-built Sea Kings with the new composite rotors as well.

Westland has produced a total of 330 Sea Kings; export customers include the Indian Naval Air Arm, the German Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force. The last of the Royal Navy's Sea Kings in the ASW role was retired in 2003, being replaced by the AgustaWestland Merlin HM1. The Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) variant is expected to be replaced around the introduction of the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The UK has also planned to retire the HC4 and search and rescue variants in March 2016.

Search and rescue (SAR)
A dedicated search and rescue (SAR) version, the HAR3, was developed for the RAF Search and Rescue Force. The type entered service in 1978 to replace the Westland Whirlwind HAR.10. A 16th helicopter was ordered shortly after, and following the Falklands War of 1982, three more examples were purchased to enable operation of a SAR flight in the islands, initially from Navy Point on the north side of Stanley harbour, and later from RAF Mount Pleasant. In 1992, six further helicopters were ordered to replace the last remaining Westland Wessex helicopters in the SAR role, entering service in 1996. The six Sea King HAR3As featured updated systems, including a digital navigation system and more modern avionics.

Westland also manufactured SAR versions of the Sea King for the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the German Navy and the Belgian Air Force. On SAR variants, the cabin was enlarged by a stretch of the fuselage behind the door; another key feature, used for additional flotation in the unusual event of a water landing, inflatable buoyancy bags were housed inside the aircraft's sponsons. Upgrades and changes made to SAR Sea Kings include the addition of radar warning receivers, a cargo hook for the under-slung carriage of goods, and the redesigning of the cockpit for compatibility with night vision goggles.

As of 2006, up to 12 HAR3/3As were dispersed across the UK, a further two HAR3s were attached to the Falkland Islands, providing 24-hour rescue coverage. Some Royal Navy HAS5 ASW variants were adapted for the SAR role and served with 771 Naval Air Squadron, Culdrose and HMS Gannet SAR Flight at Prestwick Airport in Scotland. As of 2009, they are expected to remain in service until 2018. Both Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge have flown SAR Sea Kings in front-line roles.

Airborne early warning (AEW)
The Royal Navy's airborne early warning (AEW) capability had been lost when the Fairey Gannet aeroplane was withdrawn after the last of the RN's fleet carriers was decommissioned in 1978. During the Falklands War, a number of warships were lost and casualties suffered due to the lack of an AEW platform. The proposed fleet cover by the RAF Shackleton AEW.2 was too unresponsive and at too great a distance to be practical. Consequently, two Sea King HAS2s were modified in 1982 with the addition of the Thorn-EMI ARI 5930/3 Searchwater radar attached to the fuselage on a swivel arm and protected by an inflatable dome. This allowed the radar to be lowered below the fuselage during flight and for it to be raised for landing. These prototypes, designated HAS2(AEW), were both flying within 11 weeks and deployed with 824 "D" Flight on HMS Illustrious, serving in the Falklands after the cessation of hostilities. A further seven HAS2s were modified to a production standard, known as the AEW2. These entered operational service in 1985, being deployed by 849 Naval Air Squadron. Four Sea King HAS5s were also later converted to AEW role as AEW5s, giving a total of 13 AEW Sea Kings.

An upgrade programme, Project Cerberus, resulted in the Sea King AEW fleet being upgraded with a new mission system based around the improved Searchwater 2000AEW radar from 2002 onwards. This variant was initially referred to as the Sea King AEW7, but soon renamed ASaC7 (Airborne Surveillance and Control Mk.7). The main role of the Sea King ASaC7 is detection of low-flying attack aircraft; it also provides interception/attack control and over-the-horizon targeting for surface-launched weapon systems. In comparison to older versions, the new radar enables the ASaC7 to simultaneously track up to 400 targets, instead of an earlier limit of 250 targets. The effectiveness of the AEW7 was greatly increased via the addition of a Link 16 data link, allowing gathered radar information to be analysed and rapidly put to use by multiple allied platforms in range.

The ASaC7s will remain in service until they are replaced under the Future Organic Airborne Early Warning (FOAEW) programme, which will operate from the UK's future Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier. However, as a result of the time gap between the planned out of service date of the Sea King in 2016, and the introduction of the replacement "Crowsnest" system, to be fitted to the AgustaWestland Merlin, in 2018, seven Sea King ASaC.7 helicopters, to be operated by 849 Naval Air Squadron, will remain in service with the RN through to the second half of 2018.

Falklands War
A number of Sea Kings were deployed during the Falklands War. They were transported to the combat zone and operated from the decks of various ships of the Royal Navy, such as the landing platform dock HMS Fearless. In the theatre, they performed a wide range of missions, from anti-submarine patrols and reconnaissance flights to replenishment operations and the insertion of special forces. Support provided by the Sea Kings in the form of transport for men and supplies has been viewed as vital to the success of the British operation. Sea Kings also protected the fleet by acting as decoys against incoming Exocet missiles.

Anti-Submarine Sea Kings of 820 Naval Air Squadron was embarked on HMS Invincible. With 11 HAS.5s, the squadron operated anti-submarine and search and rescue sorties with one helicopter always airborne on surface search duties. On 14 June, an 820 NAS Sea King HAS.5 was used to transport Major General Jeremy Moore to Port Stanley to accept the surrender of Argentine troops on the island. The squadron flew 1,650 sorties during the war. A Flight of 824 Naval Air Squadron embarked two Sea King HAS.2As aboard RFA Olmeda and were used to move supplies to other ships on the way south and later anti-submarine patrols. C Flight had three Sea King HAS.2As on board RFA Fort Grange which were used for replenishment duties, supplying over 2,000 tons of stores.

825 Naval Air Squadron was formed for the war with 10 Sea King HAS.2s modified as utility variants to support ground forces. The anti-submarine equipment was removed and the helicopters fitted with troop seats. Two aircraft embarked on Queen Elizabeth 2 and were later used for moving troops from the QE2 to other ships, the remainder embarked on Atlantic Causeway and were used for troop movements around the islands. Embarked on HMS Hermes was 826 Naval Air Squadron with nine HAS.5s, which carried out continuous anti-submarine sorties. From the departure of Hermes from Ascension in April until the Argentine surrender, the squadron operated at least three helicopters airborne continuously for fleet protection.

On 23 April 1982, a Sea King HC4 was ditched while performing a risky transfer of supplies to a ship at night, operating from the flagship HMS Hermes. On 12 May, a Sea King operating from Hermes crashed into the sea due to an altimeter problem; all crew were rescued. On 19 May 1982 a Sea King, in the process of transporting SAS troops to HMS Intrepid from Hermes, crashed into the sea while attempting to land on Intrepid. Twenty-two men were killed and nine survived. Bird feathers were found in the debris, suggesting a bird strike, although the accident's cause is inconclusive. The SAS lost 18 men in the crash, their highest number of casualties on one day since the Second World War. The Royal Signals lost one man and the RAF one man.

First Gulf War
During the 1991 Gulf War Sea Kings from several nations, including Canada, Britain, and the U.S., were present in the coalition forces against Saddam Hussain's Iraq regime. Due to the threat of potential use of any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, it was standard practice for Sea King crews to wear fully enclosed NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protective suits. Britain's Sea Kings primarily engaged in inter-ship transport duties, including ferrying troops between the fleet and land. Six Sea King Mk4 helicopters from 845 Naval Air Squadron and six of 848 Squadron, which had been reformed to meet this operational demand, worked in support of the ground advance. There was thorough radar coverage by U.S. airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft; British AEW Sea Kings were not deployed.

Following the end of hostilities, the available Sea Kings remained on deployment in the region to conduct transport missions to relocate people displaced by the conflict to refugee camps and repatriate citizens to their home countries.

Balkans
The Sea King participated in the UN's intervention in Bosnia. 845 Naval Air Squadron and their Sea Kings had been dispatched to the region in late 1992 in response to escalating tensions in the region. They performed various logistical and transport missions, such as the repositioning of Royal Artillery L118 Light Guns in the region and in the evacuation of casualties. In one incident on 24 March 1993, during an attempt to establish an air evacuation route to a UN-declared safe zone, a flight of French Aérospatiale Pumas and Sea King HC4 helicopters were shelled while taking off from an improvised landing zone. Two further Sea Kings arrived to evacuate several UN casualties, managing to fly the wounded to the Bosnian city of Tuzla, where they came under further enemy fire while unloading.

During NATO's intervention in Kosovo, Sea Kings of 814 Naval Air Squadron, operating from numerous Royal Navy vessels in the Adriatic, including the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible, maintained a patrol of the Balkans' coast. The Sea Kings were also heavily used in the transport role during the preparations for a ground invasion of Kosovo.

2000s
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, multiple Sea King ASaC7 from 849 NAS were operated from HMS Ark Royal. On 22 March 2003, two AEW Sea Kings from 849 NAS operating from Ark Royal collided over the Persian Gulf, resulting in the death of seven personnel. A report into the collision called for Sea Kings to be outfitted with night vision goggles, as well as better onboard safety equipment, and recommended changes to procedure regarding the use of radar at night.

In July 2006, Sea King HC.4 helicopters based at RNAS Yeovilton were temporarily deployed to Cyprus to assist in Operation Highbrow, the evacuation of British citizens from Lebanon.

In October 2011, following several years of service in Afghanistan as troop transports for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces stationed there, the Sea King HC.4s returned to the UK; their replacement is the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin. Between April 2009 and July 2011, the Royal Navy's Sea Kings stationed at Camp Bastion conducted over 1000 operational missions. The initial Afghan deployment had been criticised as the Sea Kings had not been fitted with protective Kevlar armour.

General characteristics (HAS.5 variant)

Crew: Two to four, depending on the mission
Length: 55 ft 10 in[129] (17.02 m)
Rotor diameter: 62 ft 0 in (18.90 m)
Height: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m)
Disc area: 3,020 ft² (280 m²)
Empty weight: 14,051 lb (6,387 kg)
Loaded weight: 21,000 lb (9,525 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 21,400 lb (9,707 kg) (overload weight)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Gnome H1400-2 turboshafts, 1,660 shp (1,238 kW) each
Propellers: Five bladed rotor
Maximum speed: 129 mph (112 knots, 208 km/h) (max cruise at sea level)
Range: 764 mi (664 nmi, 1,230 km)
Rate of climb: 2,020 ft/min (10.3 m/s)
Armament:
4× Mark 44, Mark 46 or Sting Ray torpedos, or 4× Depth charges
Provision for a door mounted machine gun of various calibers


User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7179
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
England

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by SKB »

Royal Navy AEW2a variant.
Image

Royal Navy HAS.6 variant
Image

Royal Navy SAR variant
Image

Royal Air Force SAR variant
Image

marktigger
Senior Member
Posts: 4630
Joined: 01 May 2015, 10:22
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by marktigger »

you missed 707's deployment to Northern Ireland

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

User avatar
The Armchair Soldier
Site Admin
Posts: 1699
Joined: 29 Apr 2015, 08:31
Contact:
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by The Armchair Soldier »

arfah wrote:Seaking HAR3A just flown south south west over Castle Point, Essex.

Air show in Kent?
Edit: Could be a flypast for Canvey Island's Armed Forces Day parade, also, the Goodwood festival of Speed is on in West Sussex and they have an air show.
Most likely something for Armed Forces Day. There were displays going on up and down the country. I, myself, attended the one in Scarborough. :mrgreen:

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

marktigger
Senior Member
Posts: 4630
Joined: 01 May 2015, 10:22
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by marktigger »

since the RAF will effectivly be retiring the HAR fleet in the next year or so it will have a high profile this year. The Navy ones will soldier on for a little longer till crowsnest and the maritimisation of merlin HC fleet


Tinman
Member
Posts: 290
Joined: 03 May 2015, 17:59
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by Tinman »

I have brief footage of the boulmer yellow taxi on the way to striding edge, will have to manage to find the way to post via and iPhone.

Also those baggers did us great service during herrick!

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

S M H
Member
Posts: 420
Joined: 03 May 2015, 12:59
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by S M H »

Was at Alness when aircrew showed them of shinny new. Wish I had a pound for every time I got wet with spray from winching hovering training exorcizes and dingy drills for aircrew. They unfortunately not replaced as The Government chose tender out to civil operators over the military providing the S.A.R. Doubt we will get the same value from there replacements.

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7179
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
England

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by SKB »




User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7179
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
England

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by SKB »

Final ceremony marks end of Royal Navy's rescue Sea King base HMS Gannet

HMS Gannet, home to the Royal Navy’s Sea King helicopter crews, was officially decommissioned, three weeks after a commemorative flight around Scotland.
http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2016/0 ... hms-gannet

User avatar
GibMariner
Senior Member
Posts: 1351
Joined: 12 May 2015, 14:17

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by GibMariner »

Royal Navy Sea Kings play their part in Daesh air strikes
Royal Navy Sea Kings have providing direct front-line support to daily strikes from the French carrier Charles De Gaulle against Daesh in the Middle East.

The distinctive Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control Mk7 helicopters are scouring Gulf skies and seas for any potential threat to the carrier, whose flight deck is launching Rafale and Super Étendard jets on combat missions against the fundamentalists.

It’s a mission the Sea Kings, normally based at Culdrose in Cornwall, were designed for – and did so with aplomb during the opening stages of the 2003 conflict in Iraq.
Read more: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-la ... ir-strikes

bobp
Senior Member
Posts: 2321
Joined: 06 May 2015, 07:52
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by bobp »

Interesting that they are operating of RFA Fort Victoria but hopefully they are gaining valuable experience for when we get our own carriers in operational use.

marktigger
Senior Member
Posts: 4630
Joined: 01 May 2015, 10:22
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by marktigger »

the seaking is better at tracking over land than hawkeye...even the americans are envious of its capability.

Just seen my first SAR S-92 of the coastguard land in plymouth

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

Dahedd
Member
Posts: 598
Joined: 06 May 2015, 11:18

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by Dahedd »

Given the cash spent on upgrading the Commandos with new rotorblades & other gubbins is it not a waste to dispose of them so soon or are they totally shagged? Any friendly nation in Africa, Asia or the Carribean etc that would benefit from them ?

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier

Tinman
Member
Posts: 290
Joined: 03 May 2015, 17:59
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by Tinman »

Dahedd wrote:Given the cash spent on upgrading the Commandos with new rotorblades & other gubbins is it not a waste to dispose of them so soon or are they totally shagged? Any friendly nation in Africa, Asia or the Carribean etc that would benefit from them ?

Fleets with in fleets, expensive, thats why the RN have gone all Merlin, instead of merlin Seaking mix.

marktigger
Senior Member
Posts: 4630
Joined: 01 May 2015, 10:22
United Kingdom

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by marktigger »

Junglie farewell tour of the south west is on 21st of March

arfah
Senior Member
Posts: 2295
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 19:02
Contact:
Niue

Re: Sea King Helicopter (RN & RAF)

Post by arfah »

-<>-<>-<>-
-<>-<>-<>-

Forum signature removed. - Miss Armchair Soldier


Post Reply