Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
H-3 Sea King
|SH-3 Sea King|
|Crew||4 (2 pilots, 2 ASW systems operators)|
|Length||54 ft 9 in (fuselage)||16.7 m|
|Height||16 ft 10 in||5.13 m|
|Rotor diameter||62 ft||19 m|
|Empty||11,865 lb||5,382 kg|
|Maximum take-off||18,626 lb||8,449 kg|
|Engines||2 General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshaft|
|Power||1,400 shp (each)|
|Maximum speed||166 mph||267 km/h|
|Ferry range||621 mi||1,000 km|
|Service ceiling||14,700 ft||4,481 m|
|Rate of climb||1,310-2,220 ft/min||400-670 m/min|
|Torpedoes||2 Mk 46 torpedoes (on SH-3H)|
Designed by Sikorsky, the Sea King first flew in 1959, and was operational with the United States Navy in June 1961. It was intended from the start to be used for shipboard operations. The five-bladed rotors can be folded for easy stowage. It was used primarily for anti-submarine warfare, but also served in anti-ship, search and rescue, transport, communications, executive transport and Airborne Early Warning roles. In the US Navy it was replaced in the ASW and S&R roles by the SH-60 Sea Hawk during the 1990s, but continues in service for other roles, for ASW in the reserves, and around the world. All H-3 aircraft still in U.S. Navy service are used in the logistics support, range support, Search and Rescue, test, and VIP transport roles.
The Westland Sea King variant was manufactured under license by Westland Helicopters, Ltd. in the United Kingdom, who developed a specially modified version for the Royal Navy. It is powered by a pair of British Rolls-Royce Bristol Gnome turbines, and has British avionics and ASW equipment. This variant first flew in 1969, and entered service the next year. It was also used by the Royal Air Force and has been sold round the world. Aircraft were also manufactured under license in Japan.
Armaments and equipment of Sea Kings vary widely with their role. Typical armaments can be four torpedoes, four depth charges or two anti-ship missiles (Sea Eagle or Exocet). In the Search and Rescue role the cabin can accommodate 22 survivors or nine stretchers and two medical officers. In the troop transport role 28 soldiers can be accommodated.
The Canadian Navy purchased 41 Sea Kings in 1963, and designated them CH-124. The helicopters at that time were state of the art and served well, being well liked by crews. The Canadian forces developed a technique for landing the huge helicopters on small ship decks, using a 'hauldown' winch, that earned them the nickname of 'Crazy Canucks'.
As the Sea Kings have aged, however, they have become increasingly unreliable and hard to maintain. Twelve have crashed, killing ten people. Each Sea King now requires over 30 manhours of maintenance for every hour flying, a figure described by the Canadian Naval Officers Association as "grossly disproportionate" . They are unavailable for operations 40% of the time. The Sea Kings are now widely perceived as unreliable, outdated and expensive to maintain, both inside and outside the service. In late 2003 the entire fleet was grounded (except for essential operations) for a few weeks after two aircraft lost power within a few days of each other.
Efforts to replace the helicopters have been hampered by political considerations. In 1992 the Progressive Conservative government announced the purchase of EH-101 helicopters to replace them. However on a change of government in 1993 the incoming Liberals immediately cancelled the order (paying cancellation fees of $500 million Canadian). When it subsequently became clear that new helicopters were still desperately needed, the Liberal government began a procurement process that critics have accused of being deliberately tailored to prevent the EH-101 from being chosen as a candidate. It was only after the retirement of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien at the end of 2003 that the competition was finally opened. In July of 2004 it was announced that the Sea Kings will be replaced by a new Sikorsky helicopter, the Sikorsky H-92. The first deliveries are expected in 2008. There has been some controversy with the choice of the H-92. After the EH-101 was cancelled, Canada was still desperate for a replacement for the CH-113 Labrador as a search and rescue helicopter. In the end Canada purchased 15 civilian EH-101s that lacked the warfighting capability of a full blown EH-101. This caused considerable embarrassment for the Liberal government because the military had purchased an aircraft they said was too extravagant. By selecting the H-92 for its warships Canada has lost the opportunity to have a single helicopter for S&R and shipborne operations. The advantages would have included only having to train aircrew on one platform, a single set of parts etc.
- Goodbye papa, please pray for me
- My helicopter's crashing in the sea.
The chorus runs
- We had joy, we had fun, we had Sea Kings in the sun
- But the engines are on fire and the Sea Kings must retire.
- SH-3D -- anti-submarine warfare
- SH-3H -- anti-submarine warfare
- UH-3H -- cargo
- SH-3H -- cargo
- VH-3A -- executive transport missions
- SH-3H/D -- Crew of four (two pilots, two sensor operators) and three passengers
- UH-3H/SH-3G -- Up to 15 passengers
- 2 x MK-46/44 anti-submarine torpedoes
- Various sonobouys and pyrotechnic devices
- B-57 Nuclear depth charge
- SH-3D/H helicopters are capable of airspeeds up to 120 KIAS for 3.5-5.5 hours
- SH-3H/UH-3H: 2 x General Electric T-58-GE-402 turboshaft engines -- 1,500 shaft horsepower (1100 kW) each.
- SH-3D: 2 x General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshaft engines -- 1,400 shaft horsepower (1000 kW) each.
- SH-3G: 2 x General Electric T58-GE-8F turboshaft engines -- 1,250 shaft horsepower (900 kW) each.
- Westland: two Rolls Royce Gnome (Mks. 1 & 2 H1400-1, Mk. 4 onwards H1400-2) free power turbines - 1200 kW (1,600 shaft horsepower each).
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