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Westland Wessex helicopter

Date: c 1963
Overall: 4937.8 x 4084.3 x 15453.4 mm, 3855 kg
Overall (Rotor diameter): 17000 mm
Overall (Folded): 11700 mm
Medium: Metal, magnesium alloy
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transferred from Department of Defence
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Helicopter
Object No: 00015660
Place Manufactured:Yeovil

User Terms

    This Mark 31B helicopter was one of 27 anti-submarine helicopters ordered from England by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The RAN's Fleet Air Arm used these helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, air-sea rescue, training and utility support. Prior to 1989, they operated out of HMAS ALBATROSS (Navy's air station at Nowra, NSW) and from on board naval vessels before being phased out of service.

    SignificanceThis type of helicopter was the first to be used for anti-submarine warfare by the Royal Australian Navy.
    HistoryThe first of the 27 Westland Wessex helicopters ordered from England in 1962 were delivered in 1963. They were numbered consecutively WA200 - WA226 by the manufacturer and operated in the RAN's 725 and 817 squadrons. The Museum holds number 216.

    Originally built as Mark 31A, conversion to Mark 31B took place between 1968 and 1970. The improvements included incorporation of the US AN/AQS-13 sonar system for underwater detection of submarines, installation of the high powered 1600 shp (1195 kw) Napier Gazelle Mark 165 (model NGA22) turboshaft engine, improved tacan navigation and ultra high frequency (UHF) communication systems, and a Hudat station keeping radar. The main external distinguishing feature of the upgrade was the addition of a fairing aft of the main rotor mast. Also installed was the MEL5955 radar system (Magnesium Elektron Ltd, England).

    For the next 13 years, the Wessexes were used in utility, search and rescue operations until phased out of service in 1989. They were beneficial during the aftermath of Darwin's Cyclone Tracy in 1974. The Wessex was replaced by the Westland Sea King Mark 50 anti-submarine helicopter.

    Crew: two pilots, one observer, one aircrewman. Range: 290 nautical miles. Operational speed: 195 km/h. Rotor diameter: 19.49 metres. Length: 20.10 metres overall; 11.73 metres folded. Service ceiling: 3,050 metres.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Westland Wessex helicopter

    Assigned title: Westland Wessex Hubschrauber

    Assigned title: Westland Wessex helikopter

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