Westland
Seaking Mk.41
Head-on view of a Seaking Mk.41

(taken from: MFG5)

The heavy amphibious Seaking was originaly designed as Model S-61 by Sikorsky for the US Navy. In 1959 the first prototype of the XHSS-2, as was the official US Navy designation was flown and entered troop service as early as 1961.
The british helicopter manufacturer Westland was chosen to built the Seaking in licence for the Royal Navy, and thus the first Seaking was delivered to the Royal Navy in 1967.

XHSS-2 Prototype displaying the Seakings amphibious abilities

(taken from: "H-3 Seaking", Squadron/Signal)

In the early 1970s German Navy officials described the need for a replacement of the ageing SH-34 helicopters in use by then. The new helicopter should be able to conduct Search and Rescue missions under all wheather conditions and a longer range, than the actual helicopter employed bei the Seenotrettungsstaffel of MFG 5 at Kiel.
Westland incorporated the changes needed to meet the German requirements and the first Mk.41 underwent trials between febraury 1972 and march 1974. These tests were so satisfying, that an additional examination by the troops was seen as not needed.

Seaking Mk.41 during a rescue mission in coastal waters

(taken from: unknown Internet source)

On 20th march 1974 the first of 22 Seakings was delivered to MFG 5 and went into service on 1st april. Operational use of the type began a year later. Since then, Seakings were deployed to SAR stations on the islands of Borkum, Helgoland and Sylt.

More than 10 years after the invention as a heavy rescue helicopter, reviews began in order to verify the Seakings abilities to be used in the offensive role. The helicopter should be able to attack light surface forces and serve as surveillance plattform for friendly naval ships.
Modernization included the incorporation of a sophisticated Radar, Radiojammers, Radarwarningreceivers and up to four Sea Skua anti-shipping missiles along with their technical equipment.
Trials of the improved Seakings lasted from 1985 till beginning of 1987. All 22 Seakings were brought to the new standard by MBB at Speyer until 1992.

Armed to the teeth, but yet a rescue helicopter

(taken from: unknown Internet source)

Still the Seakings maintask remained the SAR duty, and it's abilities in this field were unharmed by the complex changes that were incorporated.

The giant Mk.41 landing onboard a navy ship

(taken from: unknown Internet source)

Technical data:

 
Measures
Rotordiameter      : 18,90m
Length             : 22,20n
Height             :  5,10m
Weights
Weight empty       : 5200kg
max. Takeoff Weight: 9980kg
Performance
max. Speed         : 265km/h
Range              : 950km
Serviceceiling     : 11000ft
Engine
Rolls-Royce H-1400
Thrust             : 2250kW
SAR Seaking in old paintsheme

(taken from: MFG5)

 

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