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Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King

Ship-based Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter

Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King

Ship-based Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The hugely-successful Sikorsky S-61 platform has been adapted to a wide variety of roles including ASW, SAR, VIP transport and AEW forms globally.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1961
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Sikorsky Aircraft - USA / Westland - UK
PRODUCTION: 1,100
OPERATORS: Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Brazil; Canada; Denmark; Egypt; Germany; India; Iran; Iraq; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Malaysia, Norway; Pakistan; Peru; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Spain; Thailand; Venezuela; United Kingdom; United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 4
LENGTH: 54.79 feet (16.7 meters)
WIDTH: 62.34 feet (19 meters)
HEIGHT: 16.90 feet (5.15 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 11,872 pounds (5,385 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 22,046 pounds (10,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshaft engines developing 1,400 horsepower each and driving a five-blade main rotor and five-blade tail rotor.
SPEED (MAX): 166 miles-per-hour (267 kilometers-per-hour; 144 knots)
RANGE: 621 miles (1,000 kilometers; 540 nautical miles)
CEILING: 14,698 feet (4,480 meters; 2.78 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 2,000 feet-per-minute (610 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



Variable:

2 OR 4 x Mark 44 or Mark 46 torpedoes
2 x Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs)
4 x Naval depth charges
B-57 nuclear depth charge
2 x 7.62mm Machine guns at door mountings

Up to 840lb of ordnance and / or mission equipment. Door guns optional (some models).
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• XHSS S-2 - Single Example Prototype of the H-3
• YHS S-2 - Development and Test Aircraft; seven examples produced.
• S-61 - Sikorsky Company Designation
• S-61A - Export Designation for Royal Danish AF usage
• S-61A Nuri - Export Designation for Malaysian AF usage; dedicated troop transport; seating for 31.
• S-61A/AH - Utility Model for Antarctica sear and rescue (SAR) operations
• S-61B - Export Designation for Japanese MSDF usage; based on SH-3 model; anti-submarine warfare version.
• S-61D-3 - Export Model Designation for Brazil
• S-61D-4 - Export Model Designation for Argentina
• S-61NR - Search and rescue (SAR) model for Argentine usage.
• S-61L/N - Civilian Model of the Sea King
• S-61R - Sikorsky company designation for CH-3C/E and HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" models serving with USAF, USCG and Italian forces.
• S-61V - Single Example Model produced for Indonesia; Sikorsky company designation for VH-3A.
• HSS-2 - Original Production Series Designation
• CH-3A - USAF Dedicated Transport Model; conversions from SH-3A models; 3 examples converted as such.
• CH-3B - USAF Dedicated Transport Model
• CH-124 - Canadian Naval Model; anti-submarine warfare version
• HH-3A - SH-3A model conversions to search and rescue (SAR) aircraft; 12 examples converted as such.
• NH-3A (S-61F) - Experimental Variant conversion from SH-3A model; fitted with turbojet engines and wing structures; single example model.
• RH-3A - Dedicated Minesweeper; 9 examples converted from SH-3A.
• SH-3A - Initial Production Model; dedicated anti-submarine warfare model; fitted with T58-GE8B turboshaft engines of 1,260 horsepower; 245 examples produced.
• SH-3D - Upgraded SH-3 Model
• SH-3D-TS - Anti-Submarine Warfare Model
• SH-3G - Utility/Cargo Model for US Navy
• SH-3H - Multirole/General Purpose Anti-Submarine Model; dipping sonar; MAD gear; search radar; for US Navy
• SH-3H AEW - Airborne Early Warning Model.
• UH-3H - Utility/Cargo Transport Model for US Navy
• VH-3A - US Army and Marines VIP Transport Model
• VH-3D - US Marine Corps VIP Transport Model
• AS-61/ASH-3 - Agusta Production Designation built under license in Italy.
• AS-61A-1 - Italian Export Model Designation for Royal Malaysian AF use.
• AS-61A-4 - Agusta license production model; search and rescue and military transport model.
• AS-61N-1 Silver - Agusta License Production Model of the S-61N but with shorter cabin area.
• AS-61VIP - Agusta license production model; VIP passenger transport model.
• ASH-3A - Agusta license production model; multi-purpose utility transport model.
• ASH-3D - Agusta license production model; anti-submarine warfare version
• ASH-3TS (ASH-3D/TS) - Agusta license production executive VIP transport model.
• ASH-3H - Agusta license production model; anti-submarine warfare version
• Sea King HAS.Mk 1 - Initial Sea King production model produced under license by Westland in the United Kingdom based on a re-engined SH-3D model; fitted with 2 x Rolls-Royce H.1400 Gnome series engines.
• Sea King HAS.Mk 2 - Westland license production
• Sea King HAS.Mk 5 - Westland license production
• Sea King HAS.Mk 6 - Westland license production
• Sea King AEW.Mk 2A - Westland license production; dedicated AEW variant; conversion of HAS.Mk 2 models.
• Sea King AEW.Mk 5 - Westland license production; dedicated AEW variant; conversion of HAS.Mk 5 models.
• Sea King AEW.Mk 7 - Westland license production; dedicated AEW variant; conversion of HAS.Mk 5 models.
• Sea King HAR.Mk 3 - Westland license production; search and rescue (SAR) derivative.
• Sea King HAR.Mk 3A -Westland license production; search and rescue (SAR) derivative.
• S-61A - Mitsubishi license production; based on S-61A model; search and rescue and utility platform.
• HSS-2 -Mitsubishi license production; based on the S-61B model; anti-submarine warfare series.
• HSS-2A -Mitsubishi license production; based on the S-61B (SH-3D) model; anti-submarine warfare series.
• HSS-2B -Mitsubishi license production; based on the S-61B (SH-3H) model; anti-submarine warfare series.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King Ship-based Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 11/29/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
At its peak, the Sikorsky SH-3 series of navy helicopter was a widely-used and successful platform undertaking a variety of over-water roles including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Search And Rescue (SAR) operations. Development stemmed from a 1957 United States Navy (USN) requirement calling for a flyable prototype by 1959. A first-flight was had on March 11th, 1959 and service entry followed in 1961. Production spanned 1959 to the 1970s.

By this time in the Cold War, the Soviet Navy had put a heavy investment on its submarine force and, in response, the USN was forced to modernize its surface fleet to deal with the underwater threat. This also included strengthening its air arm for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role and components like the Sea King were developed for just that.

The resulting Sikorsky design became a medium-class twin-engined amphibious system with the appropriate support for ASW mission equipment and shipborne operational capabilities.

The prototype was designated XHSS-2 and was a one-off example. YHSS-2 represented the preproduction form and seven were built. HSS-2 was the original in-service designation of the Sea King until the 1962 U.S. military reorganization changed this to SH-3. Hence the original HSS-2 now became the SH-3A in service. Two-hundred forty-five of this mark were produced.

The combat SAR platform was known as the HH-3A and twelve were formed from the existing SH-3A stock. CH-3A was a general military transport mark serving the USAF. Three were converted from SH-3A models and later became designated as CH-3B.

Various other designs were delivered or trialed. NH-3A (S-61F) was a compound helicopter development for high-speed tests. RH-3A was a dedicated minesweeper. VH-3A was a VIP transport of the Army and USMC. SH-3D became a ASW form and seventy-three were produced. VH-3D was its VIP form. SH-3G dealt with cargo loads and 105 were converted from the SH-3A and SH-3D stock. SH-3H was an upgraded ASW model while another offshoot became an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) form.

Canadian versions were known under the CH-124 designation and undertook their own roles under similar designations (A, B, C, etc...). The British Westland Sea King was the SH-3 built under license in the United Kingdom. Augusta of Italy also locally-produced the series under license as did Mitsubishi of Japan. Global operators ranged from Argentina and Brazil to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela - such was the popularity and effectiveness of the design.




Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (Cont'd)

Ship-based Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter

Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (Cont'd)

Ship-based Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Helicopter



As built, the helicopter relied on a crew of four including two pilots and a pair of ASW systems operators. There was further space for three additional personnel. Empty weight was 11,865lb against an MTOW of 22,050lb. Power was from 2 x General Electric T58-GE-10 series turboshaft engines developing 1,400 horsepower each and driving a five-bladed main rotor and five-bladed tail rotor (set to portside). The tricycle undercarriage was wheeled and retractable at the two main legs.

Performance-wide, the SH-3 held a maximum speed of 166 miles per hour, a range out to 620 miles and a service ceiling of 14,700 feet. Rate-of-climb was up to 2,220 feet per minute.

Armament was typically one or two Mark 44 or Mark 46 anti-submarine homing torpedoes but the platform was also able to deliver the B-57 nuclear depth charge, conventional naval depth charges and be equipped with door-mounted machine guns for local defense.

In service, SH-3 helicopters were called upon to accomplish one of the more important roles in fleet defense - protection from enemy submarines. As such, the aircraft was typically the first platform aloft during anti-submarine operations, an indication of the importance of the type to any global navy service. Aided by the AQS-81B dipping sonar, MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detector), sonobuoys, search-tracking radar and a fleet-wide link-up, the Sea King could provide the entire fleet with results of its readings as well as attack threats directly. Chaff pods were equipped for defense against enemy Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs).

The Sea King series developed into a versatile performer that also allowed for MEDEVAC and basic transport sorties. In the former, over twenty wounded could be carried aloft or these personnel replaced by nine medical litters. Additionally, some twenty-eight combat-ready troops could be ferried about when equipped for the passenger transport role. An interesting facet of the Sea King's design was its ability to land directly on the surface of the water. Though it was inherently limited in the total time it could stay afloat, the helicopter was designed to support this feature in the event a water landing was required (rescuing a downed airman for example). However, as useful as this feature may have seemed, it remained seldom used throughout the career of the SH-3.

The Sea King went on to appear in other notable guises during its prime service years, most notably in the form of "Marine One" - the VIP transport helicopter for the President of the United States (operated by the United States Marine Corps service). SH-3's were also noted in their use during the recovery of the Apollo 14 space crew upon their landing in the ocean. The HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" was developed from the S-61R and serve the USAF very well in the SARs role during the Vietnam Conflict. The HH-3F was known as the "Pelican" to the USCG and used in SAR.

In USN service, the SH-3 was superseded by the Sikorsky SH-60 "Sea Hawk", a variant of the venerable U.S. Army UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopter. Formal USN retirement for the SH-3 was 2006.

Some global operators of the Sea King remain as of this writing (2017) though the helicopters best days are clearly behind it.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (166mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1100
1100

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Supported Arsenal
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an air launched nuclear weapon
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.