The Westland Sea King……….
Westland Sea King HAS Mk5, 814 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,
Fujimi's Sea King can be difficult to obtain, but is at least on a par with the more
recent Revell kit. Like all 1/72 Sea King kits, however, it doesn't get the canopy
quite right -
The Westland WS-
.........and here's the real thing:
Westland Sea King ASaC Mk7, 849 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,
Revell with minimal changes. The kit provides markings for airframe XV650, the first
AEW Sea King conversion. Tragically, this and the second conversion, airframe XV704,
were involved in a mid-
During the Falklands War of 1982, it became painfully clear that the lack of organic RN Air Early Warning assets had placed the Fleet at considerable risk from air attack.
UK Industry responded to the Navy's urgent requirement with astonishing and commendable speed, by converting Westland Sea King HAS.2 airframes to carry a derivative of the Plessey Searchwater radar carried by the RAF's Nimrod aircraft. Less than 2 months after the project was initiated, Sea King AEW2s deployed to the war zone with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, as relief for the INVINCIBLE and HERMES air groups.
The AEW Sea King was a huge success, with far fewer limitations than its "lash-
The ASaC.7 saw its first operational deployment in anger to the Gulf in 2003, where 849 Sqn's A Flight, based in HMS ARK ROYAL, provided vital radar coverage for the seaborne invasion of the Al Faw peninsula by the Royal Marines and US Marine Corps. The system proved far more capable than expected; as well as tracking, controlling and directing the air effort, it was also able to detect the movement of ground forces in much the same way as the USAF's Joint STARS system. As such it was in great demand, with 849's crews flying non stop operations in support of the ground offensive.
On 22 Mar 03, tragedy struck. Two ASaCS Sea Kings collided as they were handing over
duties in the Northern Gulf, with the loss of six RN Crew and one US serviceman.
The subsequent Board of Enquiry concluded that the 2 aircraft had collided head on,
partly due to the acknowledged difficulty of spotting an ASaC aircraft from ahead;
ironically in the hostile operational environment of the Northern Gulf, forward anti-
Royal Navy Aircrew lost in the accident:
Lt Philip Green, 30, from Caythorpe, Lincolnshire;
Lt King, 35, from Helston, Cornwall;
Lt Marc Lawrence, 26, from Westgate-
Lt Philip West, 32, from Budock Water, Cornwall;
Lt James Williams, 28, from Falmouth, Cornwall;
Lt Andrew Wilson, 36, from Exeter, Devon.
A real ASaCS.7 at RNAS Yeovilton:
Westland Sea King HC.4, 846 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,
The Fujimi kit once again, with another excellent C-
Starting in 1980, 846 Sqn was the first part of the Royal Navy Commando Helicopter Force to swap its "Junglie" Wessex Vs for the Sea King HC.4. Based on the Westland Commando export variant developed for Egypt, the HC.4 features fixed undercarriage and a heavy lifting bracket that could carrya load nearly 3 times that of the Wessex, or up to 27 fully equipped Royal Marines. The Royal Navy's three HC.4 squadrons have since played a key role in every major conflict involving the UK since they entered service. They are currently attached to the UK's Joint Helicopter Command, with 2 squadrons deployed to Afghanistan.
The high visibility markings and Squadron badges of the HC.4 delivery colour scheme did not last long; within a year aircraft markings had been dulled down for service in the Falklands conflict.