Our Sikorsky H-3 and CH-124 Sea King Scrapbook

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The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopter’s prototype first flew on March 11, 1959. Designed to be a main part of the U.S. Navy’s anti-submarine warfare efforts that protected their seaborn ships, the design was adapted into other uses, like search and rescue, utility transportation, and even a mini- Command and Control aircraft.

A direct link to an earlier single engined helicopter, the S-52, which was a commercial helicopter. The U.S. Coast Gurd operated a fleet of H-52 rescue helicopters too, known as the Sea Bat. The prototype S-52 flew a year before the SH-3.

Sea Kings were based ashore as well as on larger ships, like aircraft carriers. A large design, it weighed almost six tons empty and could be loaded with fuel, personnel , cargo and/or weapon up to a bit more than 9 tons. Powered with twin General Electric turbine engines, it had a maximum range of 540 nautical miles (620 statute miles). The aircraft was designed to be amphibious and land in water, with landing gear retracted.

As an anti-submarine weapon, it could carry four torpedoes, sonobouys and even nuclear depth charges.

The design, designated the S-61 by Sikorsky, was widely exported. Additionally, license – build airframes were awarded to multiple countries’ aerospace manufacturers… including United Aircraft of Canada, the U.K.’s Westland Helicopters, Italy’s Agusta, and Japan’s Mitsubishi. Well opver one thousand airframes were completed, and civilian versions were produces too, under the designation of the S-61.

Here’s a scrapbook of many versions of the Sikorsky helicopter, you can hover over each photo to see the type.

 

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