Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Sikorsky CH-124 SEA KING

The Sea King, first introduced in 1961, was initially acquired by the air element of the Royal Canadian Navy as an anti-submarine warfare helicopter for Canadian ships. Space aboard naval vessels is always at a premium, and the Sea King, with its fold-up rotor and tail, fitted perfectly on the smallest deck.

To further enhance this capability a Canadian developed and manufactured Helicopter Haul-down Rapid Securing Device (HHRSD) was installed on board purpose-designed destroyers. Better known as the "Bear-Trap" system, it stabilizes the helicopter in the hover over the deck by means a cable and helps center the helo over a small opening in the landing pad. Once landed and secured, the system is then used to tow the aircraft into a hangar. The system enabled Sea Kings to land on destroyers rolling plus or minus 31 degrees, pitching nine degrees and heaving up to 20 feet per second. With both day and night flight capabilities the Sea King has been carried aboard many Maritime Command destroyers, frigates and replenishment ships.

Over the years, submarine hunting has become less of a priority and the Sea King has been adapted to other roles. Domestically, Sea Kings have increasingly become responsible for search and rescue operations, disaster relief, fisheries patrols, environmental surveillance and drug interdiction. It has also been instrumental in international operations of peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. Sea King helicopter air detachments, known as HELAIRDETS, are provided to Canadian Ships on east and west coasts as an integral part of the ship's surface and sub-surface surveillance and weapons systems. HELAIRDETS are embarked whenever their respective ship is deployed. They frequently participate in international operations with allied forces, combined operations with either Naval or Army elements of the CF and national operations with other Canadian governmental agencies. Six of the original Sea Kings were extensively modified, incorporating an acoustic system that used sonobuoys instead of a dipping sonar, a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), and a new tactical navigation system. This equipment enabled crews to localize and track underwater contacts without being detected. A standard Sea King crew comprised two pilots, a tactical coordinator (TACCO) and an airborne electronic sensor operator (AES Op) or sensor operator (SENSO) depending on the missions or type of aircraft. For some operational missions, an extra TACCO or AES Op was added to assist with operations in the back-end of the helicopter. After four plus decades of service, the age of Canada's only ship-borne helicopter make it increasingly difficult to perform its many roles and consequently on-going upgrades have included new uprated engines and main gearboxes.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg: CH-124
US/NATO Reg.: SH-3 / S-61
Manufacturer: United Aircraft of Canada (Sikorsky Helicopters)
Crew / Passengers: Crew / Passengers: 2 pilots, 1 navigator, 1 airborne electronic sensor operator
Power Plant(s): Two 1,500 hp General Electric T-58-GE-8F turboshaft engines
Performance: Max Speed: 166 mph (267 km/h) Cruising Speed: 104 mph (167 km/h) Service Ceiling: 14,700 ft (4,480m) Range: 616 mi (991 km)
Weights: Empty: 11,865 lb ( 5,382 kg) Maximum T/O: 20,542 lb (9,318 kg)
Dimensions: Rotor span: 62 ft 0 in (18.90 m) Length: 72 ft 8 in (22.15 m) Height: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) Main Rotor Disc Area: 3,019 sq ft (280.5 sq m)
Armament: Mk 46 Mod V homing torpedoes up to 840 lb (381 kg) , plus provision for self-defense machine gun
Canadian Forces Sea King in RCN and CF Markings (CF Photo)



Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King

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