Mk50 was the first fully uprated version of the Sea King HAS.1 to fly (30 Jun 1974), incorporating many features of the RN HAS.2. 10 ordered by Australian Navy, with deliveries from Autumn 1974. RAN Sea King serials are N16- plus the Westland airframe build number (as opposed to the c/n).
Sea King Mk.50 replaced the Westland Wessex HAS.31 as the RAN's ASW Helicopter. During the first five years of operation, a number of aircraft were lost due primarily to a loss of Main Gear box oil. Two more Sea Kings (the MK.50A) were acquired from Westlands in 1980 and had increased internal cabin space. Following the 1982 retirement of the carrier HMAS Melborne, by Jan 2004 Australian Sea Kings could still operate from the replenishment vessel HMAS Success (OR 304), the landing ship heavy HMAS Tobruk (L 50) and the amphibious transport ships HMAS Kanimbla (L 51) and HMAS Manoora (L 52).
RAN Sea King Mk50 typical fit included Racal ARI 5955/2 lightweight radar, Racal Navigation System RNS252, Racal Doppler 91, ADF Bendix/King KDF 806A and Tacan AN/ARN 118. All serving Mk50 airframes have been upgraded to Mk50A standard through a mid-life extension (LOTE) project, signed on 1 Jul 1994. The Sea King fleet was used in the anti-submarine warfare and submarine training role. In 1995, the AQS-13B sonar was removed and since then, the Sea Kings main role has changed to maritime utility support.
The last 5 operational Sea Kings withdrawn from service in December 2011
The remaining retired Sea Kings departed HMAS Albatoss (Nowra) on 9 Apr 2014, to return to the UK via Port Kembla. Shark 07 (shown above) was moved to the RAN FAA Museum in Jun 2011. The Sea King has been replaced by the MRH-90 in RAN service.
01-Apr-14 - Shoalhaven residents had a last glimpse of 817 Squadron’s fleet of Sea King helicopters as the aircraft made their final journey from HMAS Albatross, on what was a suitably sombre, grey and rainy day.
29-Jan-13 - Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Navy’s remaining Sea King helicopters will be sold to Aerospace Logistics (ASL).
05-Apr-12 - Chief Petty Officer Simon Hustwit’s years of experience manoeuvring a 22.15 metre helicopter were obvious when he reverse-parked Sea King Shark 07 at the Fleet Air Arm Museum yesterday.
15-Dec-11 - Residents of Sydney, Canberra and the Shoalhaven had their last chance to see the Royal Australian Navy’s Sea King helicopters in the air today as they said farewell to the nation with a formation flypast.
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