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SH-3 Sea King
US Navy SH-3H Sea King helicopters
Role ASW/SAR/utility helicopter
National origin United States
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft
First flight 11 March 1959
Introduction 1961
Status Active service
Primary users United States Navy
Italian Navy
Brazilian Navy
Japan Maritime Self Defence Force
Variants Sikorsky S-61L/N
Sikorsky S-61R
Westland Sea King
CH-124 Sea King

The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (company designation S-61) is a twin-engined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter. It served with the United States Navy and other forces, and continues to serve in many countries around the world. The Sea King has been built under license in Italy and Japan, and in the United Kingdom as the Westland Sea King. The major civil versions are the S-61L and S-61N.

Contents

Development

In 1957, Sikorsky was awarded a contract to develop an all-weather amphibious helicopter. It would combine submarine hunter and killer roles. The prototype flew on 11 March 1959. It became operational with the United States Navy in June 1961 as the HSS-2. The designation for the aircraft was changed with the introduction of the unified aircraft designation system in 1962 to the SH-3A. It was used primarily for anti-submarine warfare, but also served in anti-ship, search and rescue, transport, communications, executive transport and Airborne Early Warning roles.

Design

SH-3As of HS-6 in the early 1960s

It was designed for shipboard operations, as the five main rotor blades as well as tail section with its five blades can be folded for easy stowage. Because of its amphibious hull, the Sea King has the ability to land on water. However, this is a risky maneuver and used only in emergencies, as the hull can only remain watertight for a limited period of time. The sponsons were fitted with deployable airbags to enhance floatation.

Armaments and equipment of Sea Kings vary widely with their role. Typical armaments can be four torpedoes, four depth charges or two anti-ship missiles (Sea Eagle or Exocet). A large Chaff Pod was sometimes carried for anti-ship missile defense of the Carrier Battle Group. ASW equipment included AQS-13B/E dipping sonar with a 500 foot cable, 5000 watts of power and a Sonar Data Computer for processing sonar and sonobuoy data, 21 sonobuoys (various models), ARR-75 Sonobuoy Receivers, ASQ-81 Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD Bird) and AKT-22 Data link to transmit sonar and sonobuoy data to the rest of the Fleet. In the Search and Rescue role the cabin can accommodate 22 survivors or nine stretchers and two medical officers. In the troop transport role 28 soldiers can be accommodated.

Operational service

Sea King as Marine One

Aircraft carriers always deployed the Sea King as the first aircraft in the air and the last to land serving in air operations as plane guard and SAR for the fixed winged aircraft. An SH-3A, operating from the USS New Orleans amphibious assault ship, was used in the February 1971 Apollo 14 recovery mission.

In the US Navy, it was replaced in the ASW and SAR roles by the SH-60 Sea Hawk during the 1990s, but continues in service for other roles, for ASW in the reserves, and around the world. All H-3 aircraft in US Navy service are used in the logistics support, range support, Search and Rescue, test, and VIP transport roles. The H-3 was finally retired on 27 January 2006 in a Final Flight ceremony in NAS Norfolk, Virginia, by Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 (HC-2), the Fleet Angels.

A Sea King is used as one of the official helicopters of the President of the United States and is operated by the United States Marine Corps. It is known as Marine One when the president is actually aboard.

Variants

A SH-3D Sea King during Apollo 17 recovering operations, with the USS Ticonderoga in the background
HH-3A on the USS Bon Homme Richard
The President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter on permanent display at Nixon Library, Presidential fleet from 1961 to 1976
SH-3D of HS-4 recovering Apollo 10
SH-3G in 1981
SH-3H of HS-8 dipping sonar
Several UH-3H Sea Kings taking off
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US military

XHSS-2 
The only prototype of the H-3 Sea King.
YHSS-2 
Prototype and trials aircraft. Seven helicopters were built for the US Navy.
SH-3A  
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the US Navy (245 built); originally designated HSS-2.
HH-3A 
Search and rescue helicopter for the US Navy (12 converted from SH-3A).
CH-3A 
Military transport version for the US Air Force (3 converted from SH-3A later became CH-3B).
NH-3A (S-61F)
Experimental high speed compound helicopter, with extensive streamlining, no floats, short wings carrying two turbojet engines for extra speed.(1 Converted from SH-3A).
RH-3A 
Minesweeper helicopter for the US Navy (9 converted from SH-3A).
VH-3A 
VIP transport helicopter for the US Army & Marine Corps (8 built, plus 2 SH-3A (STAKE) conversions which were rebuild from damaged helicopters, 1 a YHSS-2 and 1 a SH-3A).
CH-3B 
Military transport helicopter for the US Air Force.
SH-3D (S-61B) (HSS-2A) 
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the US Navy (73 built and two conversion from SH-3A). Also operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy Aviation.
SH-3D (S-61B) 
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the Spanish Navy (6 built).
SH-3D-TS 
Anti-submarine warfare version.
VH-3D 
VIP transport helicopter for the US Marine Corps.
SH-3G 
Cargo, utility transport helicopter for the US Navy (105 Conversions from SH-3A and SH-3D).
SH-3H (HSS-2B) 
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the US Navy (Conversions from older versions).
SH-3H AEW 
Airborne early warning version for the Spanish navy.
UH-3H 
cargo, utility transport version for the US Navy.

Sikorsky designations

S-61 
Company designation for the H-3 Sea King.
S-61A 
Export version for the Royal Danish Air Force.
S-61A-4 Nuri
Military transport, search and rescue helicopter for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. It can seat up to 31 combat troops (38 built).
S-61A/AH 
Utility helicopter for survey work and search and rescue in the Antarctic.
S-61B 
Export version of the SH-3 anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.
S-61D-3 
Export version for the Brazilian Navy.
S-61D-4 
Export version for the Argentine Navy.
S-61NR 
Search and rescue version for the Argentine Air Force.
S-61L/N
Civil versions of the Sea King.
S-61R
The S-61R served in the United States Air Force as the CH-3C/E Sea King and the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant, and with the United States Coast Guard and the Italian Air Force as the HH-3F Sea King (more commonly referred to by the nickname "Pelican").[1]
S-61V 
Company designation for the VH-3A, (1 built for Indonesia).

United Aircraft of Canada

CH-124 
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the Canadian Navy.

Westland

Sea King AEW in 1998

The Westland Sea King variant was manufactured under license by Westland Helicopters, Ltd. in the United Kingdom, who developed a specially modified version for the Royal Navy. It is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Gnome turbines, and has British avionics and ASW equipment. This variant first flew in 1969, and entered service the next year. It is also used by the Royal Air Force and has been sold round the world.

Agusta

AS-61 
Company designation for the H-3 Sea King built under licence in Italy by Agusta.
AS-61A-1 
Italian export model for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
AS-61A-4 
Military transport helicopter, search and rescue helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta.
AS-61N-1 Silver
License built model of the S-61N, with a shortened cabin.
AS-61VIP 
VIP transport helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta.
ASH-3A (SH-3G) 
Utility transport helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta.
ASH-3D 
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta. Flown by the Italian, Brazilian, Iranian, Peruvian and Argentinian navies.
ASH-3TS 
VIP, executive transport mission helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta. Also known as the ASH-3D/TS.
ASH-3H 
Anti-submarine warfare helicopter. Built under licence in Italy by Agusta.

Mitsubishi

S-61A 
Licence built-version of the S-61A as Search-and-Rescue and Utility helicopters for the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (18 Built)
HSS-2 
Licence built version of the S-61B as an Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (55 Built).
HSS-2A 
Licence built version of the S-61B(SH-3D) as an Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (28 Built).
HSS-2B 
Licence built version of the S-61B(SH-3H) as an Anti-submarine warfare helicopter for the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (23 Built).

Operators

Brazilian Navy SH-3 Sea King

Aircraft on Display

There is an SH-3G Sea King on display on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, SC.

Specifications (SH-3)

Orthographically projected diagram of the SH-3 Sea King.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4 (2 pilots, 2 ASW systems operators)
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 54 ft 9 in (16.7 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 62 ft (19 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m)
  • Disc area: ft² (m²)
  • Empty weight: 11,865 lb (5,382 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 18,626 lb (8,449 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 22,050 lb (10,000 kg)
  • Powerplant:General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshafts, 1,400 shp (kW) each

Performance

Armament

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists

References

Notes

  1. ^ United States, 1974. pg. A-40; 1998. pg. A-43; 2004. pg. 43

Bibliography

  • United States. Department of Defense. DOD 4120.15-L Model Designation of Military Aircraft, Rockets, and Guided Missiles. Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 1974.
  • United States. Department of Defense. DOD 4120.15-L Model Designation of Military Aircraft, Rockets, and Guided Missiles. Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 1998.
  • United States. Department of Defense. DOD 4120.15-L Model Designation of Military Aircraft, Rockets, and Guided Missiles. Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2004.

External links


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