Royal Australian Navy to Sell Sea King Helicopters
Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Navy’s remaining Sea King helicopters will be sold to Aerospace Logistics (ASL).
“Aerospace Logistics have over 30 years experience as an international specialist in the supply, refurbishment, exchange, maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft parts,” Mr Clare said.
ASL will use the Sea King inventory to sustain and support capability of international military and search and rescue fleets.
The ASL bid provided the greatest return to the Commonwealth.
“The Sea Kings were known as the workhorse of the Navy, large enough to pick up loads heavier than a Land Rover,” Mr Clare said.
“They have played a significant role in naval aviation over the last 36 years.”
The Sea Kings were withdrawn from service in December 2011 and are being replaced by MRH-90 helicopters under Project Air 9000 Phase 6.
“In September 2011 I also announced that Sea King Shark 07 would be preserved at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Nowra,” Mr Clare said.
Shark 07 was chosen because it has the most operational history of all the Sea King helicopters, having served in the Middle East and East Timor.
“Displaying this aircraft for public viewing ensures as many Australians as possible have access to this piece of Australia’s aviation history.”
The Sea Kings have flown in excess of 60,000 hours in a range of operations both at home and abroad and come to the assistance of many Australians.
In 1994, the Sea Kings were involved in one of the largest fire fighting efforts in Australia’s history. The aircraft used water buckets to fight fires raging near Grafton, Gosford, Bulahdelah and Sydney’s western suburbs.
The Sea Kings have also been used for rescue operations at sea.
In 1998, two of the helicopters were involved in rescuing yacht crews in disastrous weather conditions during the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
One of the Sea Kings’ last operations was to south-west Queensland to provide response and recovery efforts during the Queensland floods.
The contract is subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) approval.
Naval Today Staff, January 29, 2013; Image: US Navy