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89+69 Westland Sea King Mk.41 c/n WA773/105 - MARINE MFG5 - Flugplatz Emden in Germany - 04 April 2017 Flugplatz Emden (EDWE)

The Westland WS-61 Sea King Mk.41 is a twin-engine medium commando assoualt and utility helicopter with a sealed hull for amphibious operations that can accommodate a basic crew of two and up to 28 fully equiped troops. The Mk.41 was the first export sale of the Westland Sea King. The Mk 41s built for West Germany were fitted for Search and Rescue (SAR) with an enlarged cabin and equipped with much the same navigation and radar equipment as found in the Mk.1s in service with the Royal Navy, but all the sonar gear was removed. An additional fuel tank was fitted to provide for a total amount of 3000 liter for long range operations. The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a Sikorsky S-61 built under licence by Westland Helicopters. The Sikorsy S-61 itself is based on the military Sikorsky SH-3A/S-61B Sea King series originally developed in the late 1950s for all-weather operations. The Sikorsky S-61B prototype flew on 11 March 1959 and the type entered service with the U.S. Navy as the SH-3A Sea King in 1962. The Sikorsky S-61N and its non-amphibious configurated variant Sikorsky S-61L are based on and essentially a commercial equivalent of the military S-61B incorporating a number of changes, including a longer fuselage. The Sikorsky S-61L was flown for the first time on 6 December 1960 and received its FAA Type Approval on 2 November 1961. The S-61L entered production the same year. The Sikorsky S-61N with sealed hull and stabilising SH-3's floats flew first on 7 August 1962. The S-61N version is optimized for overwater operations, particularly oil rig support. The initial production S-61s were fitted with two 1250shp General Electric CT58-110-1 turboshafts. Both the S-61L and S-61N were subsequently updated to Mk II standard with more powerful CT58-140 engines giving better hot and high performance and other improvements and detail refinements. Production of the commercial Sikorsky S-61s ended in 1979.

In May 1969, the Federal German government ordered twenty-two Westland Sea Kings Mk.41 to replace the Sikorsky H-34G and SH-34J helicopters in service with the Bundesmarine (German Navy). In March 1972, the first Westland Sea King Mk.41 flew first and all originally built Westland Sea King Mk.41s were delivered between April 1973 and September 1974 to Marinefliegergeschwader 5 at Kiel-Holtenau. On 16 January 1974, Westland Sea King Mk.41 c/n WA765/92 was written off prior delivery as 89+61 and was replaced by Westland Sea King Mk.41 c/n WA830/124, that was delivered in 1975. Twenty-three Westland Sea Kings Mk.41 were built and next to the 22 ordered, Westland Sea King Mk.41 c/n WA765/92 was delivered as an instructional airframe. In 1973, Westland Sea King Mk.41 c/n WA773/105 was tested as G-17-12 and delivered to the Bundesmarine Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (MFG 5) in 1974. Between 1986 and 1988, the helicopter was modernized with a Ferranti Seaspray radar in a nose radome adding the capability to carry Sea Skua anti-ship missiles. In 2012, Marine MFG 5 moved from Kiel-Holtenau to Naval Air Station Nordholz near Cuxhaven, including their Westland Sea King Mk.41s. On 4 April 2017, MARINE MFG5' Westland Sea King Mk.41 89+69 was seen at Flugplatz Emden in Germany.

page last updated: 04-04-2017
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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