Back Westland "Sea King" / "Commando"

Westland "Sea King"

In 1959 Westland acquired the license to build the Sikorsky S-61B, to replace the Wessex in the antisubmarine role. The Royal Navy specification called for a British powerplant with different characteristics from the original one, different electronics and a wide range of mission capabilities. Westland adopted a pair of Rolls-Royce Bristol Gnome turbines for their version of the Sea King, with fully computerized controls and largely British-made ASW equipment. The resultant helicopter is readily identifiable by the dorsal radome of the all-weather search radar. Other avionics systems include Plessey dipping sonar, Marconi Doppler navigation radar and Sperry & New-mark instrumentation. With the two Gnome turbines and these avionics, the first HAS Mk.1 production Sea King flew on 7 May 1969 and the first Royal Naval Squadron was formed the following August.

The Sea King is an antisubmarine helicopter with genuine all-weather capability and a fully-proven navigational and attack system. But it is not a truly amphibious vehicle, in that any length of time spent in water would irrevocably damage some items of equipment on the hull. It is therefore only designed to land on water in an emergency, the boat-type hull being guaranteed watertight for 15 minutes. The two lateral sponsons contain flotation bags to improve buoyancy. Standard ASW equipment includes two marker buoys, four smoke floats, four Mk.44 homing torpedoes or four depth charges. The Sea King can also carry out missions against surface vessels with one or two antiship missiles.

The following versions of the Sea King have been produced: Sea King HAS Mk.1, Mk.2 and Mk.5 for the Royal Navy; HAR Mk.3 (16 of the SAR version for the RAF); Sea King Mk.42 (24 for the Indian Navy), which was based on the RN version except for the communications equipment; Mk.41 for the German Navy (22); Mk.43 for the Norwegian Navy (11); Mk.45 for the Pakistani Navy (6); Mk.48 for the Belgian Air Force (5 of the SAR version); Mk.50 for the Australian Navy (12). A commando version has also been produced, of which 17 were initially delivered to the Royal Navy and at least another 30 to Egypt and Qatar.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

Westland "Sea King" / "Commando"

A licence agreement finalised with Sikorsky in 1959 allowed Westland to use the airframe and rotor system of the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King as the basis for a new ASW helicopter for the Royal Navy. Following test and evaluation of prototype and pre-production aircraft assembled from Sikorsky-built components, the first production Westland Sea King HAS.Mk 1 for the navy was flown on 7 May 1969, the type entering service the same year. At that time, the Sea King HAS.Mk 1 was similar to the Sikorsky Sea King, but powerplant comprised two Rolls-Royce Gnome H.1400 turboshaft engines. More significantly, Westland had adapted the large cabin as a tactical compartment for ASW operations, this meaning that the British Sea King was able to operate as an independent unit in an ASW role. Subsequent development has changed this helicopter very considerably.

Westland also built a tactical version known as the Commando, which is suitable for such roles as cargo transport, casualty evacuation, logistic support and troop transport (28 men can be carried). Further variants are detailed in the table below. Deliveries for the Sea King and Commando totalled 326 by the end of 1993.


Sea King HAS.Mk 1: initial ASW version for Royal Navy; since updated to Sea King HAS.Mk 2 by Royal Navy; 56 completed

Sea King HAS.Mk 2: ASW/SAR version for Royal Navy with uprated Gnome H.1400-1 turboshafts; 21 completed

Sea King HAR.Mk 3: SAR version for Royal Air Force with Gnome H.1400-1 turboshafts; 16 delivered in 1979 plus three in 1985; upgraded to

HAR.Mk 3A standard through addition of greatly improved avionics, navigation and communications gear

Sea King HC.Mk 4: version of Commando Mk 2 for Royal Navy; combines folding rotor and tail of Sea King, non-retractable landing gear of Commando and Gnome H.1400-1 turboshafts; last aircraft delivered in 1990, total production 89; some aircraft modified with RWR, missile approach warning system, chaff/flare dispensers, tactical navigation equipment, and NVG cockpit for Gulf War operations

Sea King Mk 4X: two aircraft, basically as HC.Mk 4; for development use by RAE Famborough

Sea King HAS.Mk 5: developed ASW/SAR version for Royal Navy with Gnome H. 1400-1 engines and advanced avionics; all Sea King HAS.Mk 2 aircraft upgraded to this standard along with 30 new-build aircraft delivered between 1980 and 1986

Sea King HAS.Mk 6: substantially improved anti-submarine warfare version for Royal Navy comprising five conversions from Mk 5 standard and 25 new aircraft

Sea King Mk 41: SAR version for Federal German navy with H.1400 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 42: ASW version for Indian navy with H.1400 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 42A: ASW version for Indian navy with H.1400-1 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 42B: anti-ship version for Indian navy, H 1400-1 turboshafts and equipped to carry Sea Eagle missiles

Sea King Mk 43: SAR version for Norwegian air force with H.1400 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 43A: SAR version for Norwegian air force with H. 1400-1 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 45: ASW version for Pakistan navy with H.1400 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 47: ASW version with H.1400-1 turboshafts, ordered by Saudi Arabia for Egyptian navy

Sea King Mk 48: SAR version for Belgian air force with H.1400-1 turboshafts

Sea King Mk 50: multi-role version for Royal Australian Navy; developed from Sea King HAS.Mk 1 but with H. 1400-1 turboshafts; two additional but similar aircraft ordered in 1983 were allocated designation Sea King Mk 50A

Commando Mk 1: version with H.1400 turboshafts ordered by Saudi Arabia for Egyptian air force

Commando Mk 2: version with H. 1400-1 turboshafts for Egyptian air force

Commando Mk 2A: version as Commando Mk 2 for Qatar Emiri air force

Commando Mk 2B: version as Commando Mk 2 with VIP interiors for Egyptian air force

Commando Mk 2C: version as Commando Mk 2B for Qatar Emiri air force

D.Donald "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft", 1997

Advanced Sea King Mk 42B. The Indian Navy launching a BAe Sea Eagle long-range missile.

RAF Sea King HAR.3 of No.202 Squadron.

Westland Sea King HAS Mk 5/6 are operated in the ASW role by the Royal Navy.

Westland Commando Sea King HC4 operated by 845 NAS in the UN role.

В 1959 году компания Westland получила право использовать планер и систему винтов вертолета Sikorsky SH-3 "Sea King" как основу для нового вертолета ВМС. 7 мая 1969 года состоялся первый полет серийного вертолета Westland "Sea King" HAS.Mk.1, построенного для ВМС Великобритании. Компания Westland устроила в кабине вертолета тактический отсек с оснащением для противолодочных операций, и "Sea King" мог самостоятельно вести боевые действия против подводных лодок.

Тактический вариант под названием "Commando" можно использовать в качестве грузового, для эвакуации раненых, вертолета снабжения и, наконец, военно-транспортного, способного перевозить 28 человек. К концу 1993г. заказчики получили 326 вертолетов вариантов "Sea King" и "Commando".

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- Westland had to fight off stiff competition from the Sikorsky Sea King to gain Royal Navy orders.

- Rolls-Royce based its Gnome turboshaft on the T58 of the Sikorsky helicopter.

- Only the airframe shape and rotorhead of the Sikorsky Sea King remained unchanged.

- British ASW and assault Sea Kings served during the Gulf War.

- The Commando Mk 1 is also known as the Sea King Mk 70 and is basically a stripped-out Sea King HAS.Mk 1.

- No customer has ever specified the Mk 2's optional underwing hardpoints. Westland flew the first commando Mk 2 on 16 January 1975.

- An idea to fit the Commando Mk 2 with 26 inflatable cabin seats was abandoned at an early stage.

- Commando Mk 2Bs have extra seats for two flight attendants.

- Qatar's Mk 3s have Sea King-like undercarriage sponsons.

Technical data for Westland "Sea King" HAS Mk.5

Engine: 2 x Rolls-Royce Gnome H.1400-1 turboshaft, rated at 1238kW, main rotor diameter: 18.9m, length with rotors turning: 22.15m, height: 4.72m, take-off weight: 9525kg, loaded weight: 6202kg, cruising speed: 208km/h, range: 1230km, armament: 4 x Mk.46 torpedos or 4 x Mk.11 depth charges

Charlie Bowman, e-mail, 27.11.2016reply

It is a shame not to have a full detailed documentary since the early begining with this amazing and beautiful flying machine. It is so frustrating that I've decided to go by my own with it. Anyone who might want to joint me in this project can contact me. Welcome all material that will be analized and used under authorization.

thekkamadam Mabalan Ramanadhan, e-mail, 28.07.2013reply

I am qualified in SK 42B and C and worked in Indian Navy for 16 Years ,One of the best ever Helicopter

Mark, e-mail, 04.10.2010reply

Fred, the levers you are talking about are the engine controls. Their are four levers, the middle two are primarily used, they are connected to the fuel computers and manage the engine RPM automatically. The outer two are for when the computers fail, you must manage each engine RPM manually. I hope this is the info you where looking for?

samer, e-mail, 02.04.2011reply

Dear Sir's
I need your help regarding the possibility for the commando MK2 helicopter.
Can we transport the MK2 into the C17 carrier with only the removel of the 5-main blade and nothing else?!


P.Ummer Jamal, e-mail, 05.04.2011reply

I am Ex MCAA1 retired from Indian Navy, who has worked in NAYC, INAS 330 / 336,INS Vikrant / Viraat and was mainly on SEAKING HAS MK42 / 42A for 15 years. I really love this machine and is in my blood, wherever and whenever I get an opportunity to asociate with this I won't miss. I am now 52 and still if I get an opportunity to work with this wonderful machine I would love it and consider as my life time achievement. This helicopter has made me what I am now. My sincere thanks to Indian Navy and WHL

abdul majeed, e-mail, 07.12.2013reply

Sir, I have join Pakistan Naval Aviation since 1998. Retired from Naval Aviation from SEA KING Squadron 2013.Now I am interesting to joining SEA KING if there are any vacancy. Place sir conformed me any vacancy in ur organization Thanking u Sir.

Fred Finizzi, e-mail, 11.04.2010reply

I am going crazy to find the answer to this question.. On marine one (seaking white top) What are the two levers in the cockpit do. They are located where the ceiling console meets the windshild between the Pilot and coPilot. If you compared it to a cars interior these two handles with a ping pong sized ball on the tip(where you grab the lever) would be located on the ceiling inside the car directly above the rear view mirror. they are both exactly the same shape. I have seen the co pilot ''adjust them '' in flight only I have no idea what they do will someone email me with the answer I would be extremely thankful!

shaban, e-mail, 12.06.2009reply

comments shaban

shaban, e-mail, 12.06.2009reply


Chetan, e-mail, 05.06.2008reply

Chetan arora

allan (tweetybird), e-mail, 28.02.2008reply

i'm a retired usn, cpo, aircrewman, with 2,000 flight hrs in the sh-3d, with 2 rescues and really loved flying in this helo i really felt comfortable and safe in this aircraft. i've been retired 15yrs and still think about the flights we made with this helo. thank you sikorsky !!!!!!

JAVED IQBAL, e-mail, 03.02.2008reply

Sir, I have join Pakistan Naval Aviation since 1978. Retired from Naval Aviation from SEA KING Squardron 2002 again re-enrolled 2002 till to date. Now I am intresting to joining SEA KING if there are any vecancy. Place sir conformed me any vecancy in ur organisation Thanking u Sir.

chetan, e-mail, 03.09.2007reply

i have join in indian navy so you are give the sudgetion please , sir i like has navy & i like it's Hardwork,s therfore i have join

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