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Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican

Amphibious Medium-Lift Search and Rescue (SAR) Helicopter

The Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican is the USCG version of the USAF CH-3 Sea King and remains in service today.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 8/7/2019
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1965
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Manufacturer(s): Sikorsky - USA
Production: 58
Capabilities: Transport; Medical Evacuation; Search and Rescue (SAR);
Crew: 3
Length: 73.16 ft (22.3 m)
Width: 62.01 ft (18.9 m)
Height: 18.08 ft (5.51 m)
Weight (Empty): 13,338 lb (6,050 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 22,046 lb (10,000 kg)
Power: 2 x General Electric T58-10 turboshaft engines developing 1,500 horsepower each while driving a five-blade main rotor and five-blade tail rotor.
Speed: 165 mph (265 kph; 143 kts)
Ceiling: 17,503 feet (5,335 m; 3.32 miles)
Range: 780 miles (1,255 km; 678 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,750 ft/min (533 m/min)
Operators: United States
The Sikorsky S-61R twin-engine platform, evolved from the SH-3 "Sea King" line, was a limited market success for the company. In military service it became the CH-3 "Sea King" and the HH-3 Jolly Green Giant for the United States Air Force (USAF). For the United States Coast Guard, it was represented as the HH-3 "Pelican". The S-61R first-flew in 1959 and was produced from then until the 1970s with service introduction formally beginning in 1961. It remains in very-limited-service with some global operators today (2018).

In USCG service, the HH-3F Pelican was based in the Search and Rescue (SAR) minded HH-3E model and procured in a 1965 initiative. The type would be used in the same all-weather, long-range rescue role and sport a radar fit and a water-landing capability. The Pelican made a career spanning from the late 1960s until the late 1990s, giving decades of faithful service until succeeded by the Sikorsky HH-60J "Jayhawk" line (now MH-60T Jayhawk) modeled from the UH-60 "Black Hawk" family.

In its Coast Guard guise, the HH-3F retained much of the form and function of the earlier aircraft in the series. The piloting crew sat at the nose in a side-by-side arrangement. A radome protruded from the nose section. The cabin was slab-sided and dotted with rectangular windows while sliding doors allowed for entry-exit. At the rear of the fuselage, under the tail stem, was a power-operated loading ramp. Sponsons located to either side of the fuselage not only housed the main landing gear legs but also added a buoyant capability for on-water landings (used in conjunction with the helicopter's boat-like, watertight hull). The entire tricycle arrangement was retractable into the design. The tail unit held the vertical tail fin, horizontal plane and the tail rotor unit (facing portside). Over the top of the fuselage was installed the engine pairing.

United States military services not longer operate the S-61R family of helicopters.


None. Mission equipment carried though door guns can be installed.

Variants / Models

• HH-3 - Base Series Designation
• HH-3E
• HH-3F "Sea King"
• AS-61R (HH-3F)
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