So long Canuck Sea Kings

The Sikorsky S-61, best known as the iconic SH-3 Sea King, first flew on 11 March 1959. Besides its use as the U.S. Navy’s standard SAR and ASW helicopter until it was finally replaced by the SH60/MH-60 (although the Marines of HMX-1 still use it for Marine One duties), at least 15 countries flew the big Sea King. The Royal Navy finally put the bird to pasture in 2015, leaving Canada as one of the last front-line operators.

The Canadians picked up 41 early SH-3s in 1963 as kits assembled by United Aircraft of Canada as their primary ship-borne maritime helicopter and have kept them running for 55 years. The fleet has flown in excess of 550,000 combined hours which at cruising speed of an SH-3 is roughly equivalent to flying 7,200 times around the Earth, or the equivalent of the distance from Earth to Mars.

The Canadian Armed Forces gave a final salute to the type, which they term the CH-124, in a parade held last week at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, B.C., flown by 443 Squadron, the last operational Sea King unit the country.

“The Royal Canadian Navy has been well served by the Sea King – our longest range weapon and sensor – for decades,” said VADM M. F. Ron Lloyd, Commander of the RCN. “It was an honour to fly with the crew of Black Horse, the helicopter deployed with HMCS St. John’s, during the Sea King’s last operational deployment supporting NATO assurance measures this summer. Canada’s Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force continue to forge ahead with an exciting new chapter, marked by the first operational deployment of Avalanche, the Cyclone helicopter currently deployed on NATO operations with HMCS Ville de Quebec.”

The last overseas deployment for the Sea King came during the first half of 2018 aboard HMCS St. John’s as part of Operation Reassurance.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

2 responses to “So long Canuck Sea Kings”

  1. Secundius says :

    Come again! As I recall VH-97’s are replacing VH-3’s of the HMX-1 “The Nighthawks, Marine One”…

  2. laststandonzombieisland says :

    Correct…but not yet. The first six new VH-92s are still going through their paces (although one in full livery did land at the WH in September Re: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/25004/exclusive-first-images-of-new-vh-92-marine-one-helo-in-full-colors-landing-on-white-house-lawn ). Marines are still slated to use White Top Kings through 2020.

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