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H-3 Sea King

The H-3 Sea King (also known as Sikorsky S-61) is a twin-engined helicopter used by Brazil, Egypt, Spain, Malaysia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States for anti-submarine warfare, cargo[?], and search and rescue missions. In the United States Navy this aircraft has been replaced by the SH-60F Sea Hawk[?] for ASW and S&R, although variants are still used for cargo purposes. Six SH-3H Sea Kings are used by the United States Navy Reserve[?] for anti-submarine warfare.

A "Sea King" is also used as the official helicopter of the President of the United States.

The Canadian Navy[?] purchased 41 Sea Kings in 1961. Since then twelve have crashed, killing eight people. Each Sea King requires over 30 hours of maintenance for every hour flying. Efforts to replace the helicopters have stalled under accusations of political favoritism, and the Canadian Sea Kings are unlikely to be replaced until mid-2006.

Canadian Sea King pilots have composed a "theme song" for their service, sung to the tune of the 1970s pop hit "Seasons in the Sun" beginning

Goodbye papa, please pray for me
My helicopter's crashing in the sea.
The chorus runs
We had joy, we had fun, we had Sea Kings in the sun
But the engines are on fire and the Sea Kings must retire.

Photo courtesty of the Naval Helicopter Association

Table of contents

H-3 Variants

H-3 Stats


  • SH-3H/D -- Crew of four (two pilots, two sensor operators) and three passengers
  • UH-3H/SH-3G -- Up to 15 passengers


  • 2 x MK-46/44 anti-submarine torpedoes
  • Various sonobouys and pyrotechnic devices


  • SH-3D/H helicopters are capable of airspeeds up to 120 KIAS for 3.5-5.5 hours


  • SH-3H/UH-3H: 2 x General Electric T-58-GE-402 turboshaft engines -- 1,500 shaft horsepower.
  • SH-3D: 2 x General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshaft engines -- 1,400 shaft horsepower.
  • SH-3G: 2 x General Electric T58-GE-8F turboshaft engines -- 1,250 shaft horsepower.

Photo courtesy of the Naval Helicopter Association

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