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Sea King - Royal Air Force
 

The Westland Sea King HAR3 Search and Rescue helicopter entered RAF service in 1978, it replaced the Wessex HC2 in the SAR role in 1996. The Westland Sea King is a British license-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 British-built Gnome engines, British made anti-submarine warfare systems and a fully computerised control system. The Westland Sea King was also produced as the Commando troop transport version for export.

The aircraft are operated from six locations around the UK, 22 Squadron HQ at RMB Chivenor, B Flight at RAF Wattisham, C flight at RAF Valley, 202 Squadron HQ at RAF Boulmer, D Flight at RAF Lossiemouth, E Flight at RAF Leconfield and 203 (R) Squadron at RAF St Mawgan with each location supporting two to three aircraft. There is also a detachment of two HAR3s 78 Squadron providing SAR cover in the Falkland Islands.

The SAR squadrons provide 24-hour cover around the UK and the Falkland Islands throughout each year. Each squadron maintains a 15-minutes readiness state during daylight hours and a 45-minutes readiness state during the hours of darkness.

For the search aspect of its role, the Sea King is able to operate to precise navigational standards and is fitted with a multi-band homing system, satellite navigation systems, a search radar, a comprehensive avionics suite and a large selection of radios.

For its rescue role, the aircraft is equipped with a hydraulically-operated main rescue hoist, an electrically-operated emergency rescue hoist and electrical connections suitable for powering medical equipment such as incubators.

The SAR fleet of Sea Kings are fitted with a video/infrared detection pod, which is similar to the equipment used by police helicopters, to help search for casualties. All SAR crews are trained to operate using night-vision goggles over unfamiliar terrain. The standard SAR crew is made up of four members: two pilots, one of whom is the aircraft captain, a radar operator who acts as the winch operator at the rescue scene and a winchman, normally trained to paramedic standard, who will supply immediate first-aid and recovery services at the rescue site.

An early 1990s MoD report concluded that a total of 25 x Sea Kings were required to ensure that SAR duties were carried out effectively and an announcement was made in 1992 of an order for six more HAR3, to bring the total up to the required 25. RAF Sea King HAR3/3A are due to be phased out of service in 2017.

Sea King HAR3 - XZ593 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force
 

Photos per serial

Sea King HAR3 - XZ593 - 203 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ593   Sea King HAR3 - XZ593 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ593  

Sea King HAR3 - XZ594 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ594  

Sea King HAR3 - XZ595/K - 202 Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ595  

Sea King HAR3 - XZ597/M - 203 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ597  

Sea King HAR3 - XZ599/B - 203 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ599   Sea King HAR3 - XZ599/B - 203 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force XZ599  

Sea King HAR3 - ZA105/B - 203 (Reserve) Squadron - Royal Air Force ZA105  

Sea King HC4X - ZB506 - QinetiQ - Rotary Wing Test Squadron - Royal Air Force ZB506  

Sea King HAR3A - ZH542 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH542   Sea King HAR3A - ZH542 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH542  

Sea King  HAR3A - ZH543/X - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH543  

Sea King HAR3 - ZH544 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH544   Sea King HAR3 - ZH544 - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH544  

Sea King HAR3A - ZH545/Z - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH545   Sea King HAR3 - ZH545/Z - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH545   Sea King HAR3A - ZH545/Z - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH545   Sea King HAR3A - ZH545/Z - 22 Squadron - Royal Air Force ZH545
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