4 variations of Sea King have seen service with the Indian Navy - Mk.42, 42A, 42B and the assault Mk.42C. After investigations began in 1968, initial approval for 6 given in Apr 1969 and the Mk.42 (the anti-submarine version of the RN HAS.1) ordered in 1970. Pilot training commenced on 27 Sep 1970 and first two examples of a batch of 12 were handed over on 3 Nov 1970 at Yeovil and the remainder were delivered by 1971, going on to form INAS 330. Initial flying training was carried out in the UK.
The first orders were followed by 3 more in Jul 1972 and a further 3 in May 1973, delivered by end of 1974. A third batch of 3 Mk.42A was ordered with haul-down-onto-flight-deck option (RAST - recovery assist traverse) fitted was ordered in Jul 1977 and delivered from Nov 1979.
Performance and efficiency were disappointing during the Dec 1971 war with Pakistan and an intensive training and work programme between 1972 and 1974 improved both servicablility and equipment performance.
An investigation for 20 more at Mk.42B standard (as both updates and replacements) was proposed in 1982, where it beat the Super Puma in competition. The Mk 42B with the Gnome H1400-T engine and equipped with Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile, to be roughly equivalent to Pakistan's Exocet armed version. In the event, 18 were ordered (12 Mk.42B and 6 Mk.42C for the Marines) in 1983 with deliveries from May 1985 and the Mk.42Cs from Sep 1986. A further 8x 42B were ordered later.
Another period of service anxiety began following the May 1998 Nuclear Tests, when the supply of spares was reduced as part of sanctions. Operations scaled down and SAR role undertaken by the Chetak until sanctions were relaxed in early 2001. The Sea King has been primarily ship deployed (carrier, Delhi Class destroyers and Godaviri class frigates). The operational experience gained has informed the specification and design of the HAL Dhurv.
|Years||Units||bold : Current base of the Unit|
|1974/||INAS 336|| INS Garuda |
|1971||Fleet Air Arm (Royal Navy) |
|1971/||INAS 330|| INS Shikra |