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28 February 2013

Design Classic number 131: The Westland Sea King WS-61 Helicopter

Okay so it might not look like a design classic, but the Sea King Helicopter has been flying for over 50 years and over that time has been adapted from being an anti-submarine weapon during the cold war, to a troop carrier and an RAF search and rescue helicopter.

Based on the US designed, Sikorsky-built S-61, the Sea King WS-61 was built by Westland in the UK and debuted in 1969. Fitted with Rolls Royce Gnome engines, the Sea King had a maximum take off weight of nearly ten tonnes, could carry 28 fully-equipped troops and could fly within a range of over 1500km.

The Sea King has served in ten wars, including the Falklands, when its versatility meant its duties included anti-submarine use, troop deployment and re-supply, reconnaissance and even acting as a decoy to protect the Royal Navy ships from Exocet missiles.

The sea king has flown over 15,000 search and rescue missions, most famously by Prince William. I'd say it deserves 'Design Classic' status. And I love big choppers.

Design at SoVibrant

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