Westland Wasp
in
united kingdom Fleet Air Arm







Del'd: 98 - 1963 to 1986





Helicopters


The Royal Navy Wasp was the product of what became the Manned Anti-Submarine Torpedo Carrying Helicopter (MATCH) programme. The Admiralty had realised that arming the current generation of anti submarine helicopters just decreased what was an already limited endurance. The MATCH solution would be flexible enough to prosecute an attack with a newly developed homing torpedo, once the target had been detected by another helicopter or ship.
The Wasp HAS.1 was operated mainly by 829 Squadron, (the small ships flight) parent and 703 Squadron, (the Wasp training squadron). The Wasp was used by some Commando Helicopter units as a liaison airframe between the Naval Helicopter squadrons and the Royal Marine Commando teams the squadrons would be carrying into an assault. At least 25 Wasps damaged (some badly) during its service career, mainly from small flight decks. Some sold on to other Navies.
Early Wasp production suffered from a shortage of Nimbus engines and it was not unusual for an airframe to be flown into Fleetlands, only to have its engine removed and sent back to Fairey by road, for installation into another, awaiting delivery.
30 airframes cancelled and not built. Allocated UK serials XS802-XS812 and XS834-XS852 (ntu).



The photographed airframe has its wheels configured for shore-based operation. ( rear wheels toed inwards at 45 degrees) this enabled running landings from autorotation and provided braking. Otherwise there were no brakes, only wheel locks. This aircraft is not fitted with maritime operating equipment, such as flotation gear, hellerman reflectors (large GRP spheres containing rumpled silver paper to improve radar signature) and AS12 wire guided missile sight. The engine is a RR Nimbus developed from the French Palouste. It developed 685 SHP (Contingency 710) through a free turbine. The call sign 456 identifies the aircraft as a ships flight allocated to a frigate. All flight call signs of 829 Squadron started with 4. A call sign starting with 5 indicates training aircraft of the 829 Squadron HQ Flight.
Would suggest that in general the call sign starting 5 was from 703 Sqdn and call sign starting 6 belonged to 829 Sqdn


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