Country of origin
Dimensions and weight
Main rotor diameter
Weight (maximum take off)
Engines and performance
2 x General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshafts
2 x 1 400 shp
1 000 km
2 x Mk.46/44 (SH-3H)
The S-61 was
developed by Sikorsky in the late 1950s primarily for the carrier-based
anti-submarine warfare (ASW)
role. It made its first flight in 1959. It was the world's first
amphibious helicopter. The Sikorsky S-61 has been adopted in 1961 by
the US armed forces as
the H-3. Various versions of this helicopter were widely used by the
US Navy. Since its introduction improved ASW, search and rescue
(SAR) and transport models appeared. Sikorsky licensed production of
this helicopter to Agusta
(Italy), Mitsubishi (Japan) and Westland (UK). Also there were civil
versions of this chopper. In the 1990s the US Navy
replaced their Sea Kings by more modern, but non-amphibious
SH-60 Seahawks. The US Navy finally retired the H-3 fleet in
2006.However Sea King
helicopters remain in
widespread service around the world in a variety of roles. One
version remains in service with US Marine Corps. Largest operators
are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Italy, Peru and Spain. They
serve primarily in the SAR role in Denmark and Japan, and in the
transport/utility role in Australia and Venezuela.
SH-3A Sea King ASW helicopter has a crew of 4, including 2 pilots
and 2 operators. It can also carry 3 additional passengers.
helicopter has a watertight boat-like hull. It has pontoons with
floating bags, that give the Sea King a capability to land on water.
has two General Electric T58-GE-10 turbosfhaft engines, developing 1
400 shp each. It was one of the first ASW helicopters fitted with
The Sea King
has a dipping sonar and sonobuoys for submarine detection. This ASW
helicopter has a capability to carry a nuclear depth charge. Some of
this later versions, such as SH-3H carried two Mk 46/44
helicopter has a moveable tail section. For storage below carrier
decks the tail and the main rotor blades are folded.
baseline anti-submarine warfare helicopter, used by the US Navy.
Originally it was designated the HSS-2. A total of 245 of these
choppers were produced.
search and rescue helicopter used by the US Navy. A total of 12
helicopters were converted from SH-3A.
utility transport version for the US Air Force. Only 3 helicopters
were converted from SH-3As into this standard. Later these USAF
helicopters were upgraded to CH-3B standard.
minesweeper helicopter of the US Navy. A total of 9 were converted
presidential and VIP transport, used by the US Marine Corps to carry
the President of the United States. Company designation S-61V. A
total of 8 of these helicopters were newly built, plus additional 2
were rebuilt from damaged SH-3As. By the late 1970s all VH-3A
helicopters were returned to the US Navy. In 1979 it was replaced by
the VH-3D, that is still in service.
utility transport version of the US Air Force. Only 3 of these
helicopters were in service. These were upgraded from the previous
CH-3As, that in turn were converted form baseline SH-3As.
and rescue variant of the US Air Force. It made its first flight in
1963. These helicopters were used to recover downed pilots.
SH-3D is an
improved anti-submarine warfare version. It has S-61B Sikorsky
company designation. It has been adopted by the US Navy as SH-3D. A
total of 73 helicopters were built from new. Another 2 were
converted from SH-3As.
VH-3D is as
a presidential and VIP transport. It is used by the US Marine Corps to carry
the President of the United States. It has been adopted in 1979 and
replaced in this role the previous VH-3A. By 2009 there were 11
VH-3D helicopters in service. Once the President is aboard, the
helicopter has a call sign Marine One. When carries the Vice
President, this helicopter has a call sign Marine Two.
and rescue version of the US Air Force. It is a successor to the
CH-3C. It appeared in 1965 and had more powerful engines. A total of
50 helicopters were built.
referred as Jolly Green Giant. It was an improved version of the
CH-3E for the US Air Force. This helicopter had a much revised
fuselage with conventional watertight hull instead of boat hull.
Also it had a rear loading ramp. Furthermore it had armor
protection, self-sealing fuel tanks and in-flight refueling probe.
It was used for utility and search and rescue. A total of 8
helicopters were built from new and all 50 previous CH-3E were
converted to this standard. The HH-3E paved a way for the larger
CH-53 Sea Stallion.
King or Pelican. It is a version of the HH-3E used by US Coast Guard
for all-weather search and rescue. It had a search radar with
utility transport of the US Navy. A total of 105 were converted from
SH-3As and SH-3Ds.
multi-role helicopter. It is a further upgrade of the SH-3G, but had
improved airframe, anti-submarine warfare equipment and some other
improvements. For hunting submarines it used surveillance radar and
towed magnetic anomaly detector. New engines gave this relatively
large helicopter impressive performance. It could carry substantial
loads underslung. It was a culmination of the H-3 series development.
Some sources report that a total of 163 helicopters were upgraded to
this standard. The SH-3H was phased out of front-line US Navy service
airborne early warning version of the Spanish Navy.
utility transport helicopter of the US Navy. It was converted from
SH-3H by removing anti-submarine warfare systems.
King. It is a Canadian version, that was locally produced in Canada.
Originally it was built as an ASW helicopter. A total of 41 of these
helicopters were built. However some upgraded choppers received an
added utility transport capability. It was in service from 1963 to
King is a specially modified variant for the Royal Navy. These
helicopters were license-produced by Westland in the United Kingdom.
It had British avionics and anti-submarine equipment. The Westland
Sea King first flew in 1969 and was adopted by the Royal Navy in
1970. It was also used by Royal Air Force for search and rescue
Westland built around 340 Sea Kings for the ASW, AEW and assault
transport roles. This helicopter has been exported to a number of countries.
AS-61, version of the Sikorsky S-61, produced under license in
Italy. The AS-61Rs can carry machine-guns for a combat SAR role.
S-61, version of the Sikorsky S-61, produced under license in Japan
for Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.