Sea King

large anti-submarine helicopter


Sea King

8,680 kg
22 x 18 (wingspan) x 5 metres
Two 1,500 Shaft Horsepower General Electric T-58-100 turboshafts
2 pilots
1 navigator
1 airborne electronic sensor operator (AESOP)
Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR)
Passive/Active Dipping Sonar
Mk 46 Mod V homing torpedoes
machine gun
Number in Inventory:
Procurement Dates:

Information from Canadian Air Force web site.


The Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King replaced the H04-S in the 1960s for shipborne use. First flown off HMCS BONAVENTURE, Canada's last aircraft carrier, the Sea Kings were also flown from the decks of ST. LAURENT and ANNAPOLIS class destroyers when the latter became available and the former were converted to helicopter carrying destroyers. The Canadian Navy pioneered the use of such a large helicopter from the deck of small destroyers, and all destroyers were fitted with the new Beartrap helicopter haul-down device (the USN eventually adopted this equipment as the RAST). Sea Kings have been the workhorses of the fleet for over 40 years now, and have delivered excellent service for a large portion of that time.

The Sea Kings have received several upgrades over the years, including new engines, radar, missile avoidance countermeasures, and a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera. However, the sonar system is antiquated, and the Sea Kings are now somewhat of a weak link for the warships that carry them (in addition to their increasing unreliability). 

Some sources suggest a recommended 20 lifetime for these aircraft; aside from being complex machines which eventually wear out, helicopters operating from the decks of small warships also suffer from salt water corrosion and added stresses to the airframe. However, the intended procurement of the EH-101 to replace the Sea King in the early 1990s fell through. The Sea Kings are still flying today and will continue to do so for the near future, until they are replaced. The government has selected the new Sikorsky H-92 to replace the Sea King, but these helicopters must be converted for use off warships and will not be ready until 2008 at the earliest. Until then, the personnel who fly in the Sea Kings must continue to operate increasingly cantankerous helicopters that require a considerable number of maintenance hours for each hour in the air.


 (click on thumbnail for bigger image) 

Sea Kings
1. Sea King with dipping sonar lowered. Sandy McClearn photo.
2. Starboard side. Sandy McClearn photo.
3. Sandy McClearn photo.
4. Sea King with SAR Tech dangling form the open door. Sandy McClearn photo.
5. Flying by the moon. Sandy McClearn photo.
6. Over Halifax Harbour. Sandy McClearn photo.
7. Sandy McClearn photo.
8. Sandy McClearn photo.
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