H-3 Sea King

The potential utility of the helicopter for anti-submarine warfare was obvious from the start, and by the mid-1950s the USN was operating the HSS-1 Seabat version of the S-58 in this role – these operated in hunter-killer teams, with one aircraft carrying a dipping sonar, while the other functioning as the “killer” with homing torpedoes. However, the Seabat would only be in service a short while before the Navy started looking for a larger, turbine-powered helo that could simultaneously carry both weapons and sensors.

First flown in March 1959, the HSS-2 Sea King had an amphibious boat hull, and was powered by two GE T58 turboshafts. The Sea King began equipping USN squadrons in the fall of 1961, and the type began the SH-3A during the designation consolidation of the following year.
RH-3A: Early airborne mine countermeasures test aircraft, converted from nine SH-3As.

HH-3A: A dozen SH-3As converted to CSAR configuration for use over North Vietnam, with machine gun armament and self-sealing fuel tanks.

SH-3D: Improved model with -10 engines, enlarged tailplane, only two torpedoes. Last employed by HC-16.

SH-3G: Utility conversions without ASW mission equipment

Sea King Bibliography:

    * Sikorsky ad showing an HSS-2 mockup   Aviation Week  November 24, 1958  p.98
    * Robert I. Stanfield   “Sikorsky Designs HSS-2 as ASW System”   Aviation Week  March 30, 1959  p.30-31  includes two photos of BuNo 147137
    * Photo: S-61 gunship testbed with nose-mounted turret   Aviation Week & Space Technology  December 20, 1965  p.61
    * Photo: SH-3A of HS-3 above the Apollo 9 command module   Aviation Week & Space Technology  March 24, 1969  front cover
    * Photo (small): SH-3D BuNo 156484/HS-7, USS Wasp   Air Pictorial  November 1970  p.412
    * “Superior Sub Hunter and other variations on a helicopter theme by Sikorsky”   Air Enthusiast November 1972  includes SH-3H cutaway
    * "Aging Helicopter Facing Soviet Threat"   Aviation Week & Space Technology  September 29, 1975  p.70-71, 73
    * Photo: YSH-3J LAMPS testbed   Aviation Week & Space Technology  January 31, 1977  p.147
    * Larry R. Teteak   “Sikorsky Sea King”  Scale Modeler October 1981  building the 1/72 Fujimi SH-3H kit as aircraft BuNo 154107 of HS-2 from USS Enterprise.
    * Bill Cumming  “Hunting Sea Dragons”   Air International April 1989  Covers the history of the Canadian CH-124s – includes a large photo of aircraft 12405
    * Salvador Mafé Huertas  “Sacred Cows Serve On”   Combat Aircraft Monthly  February 2014  p.88-89  Spanish Navy Fifth Squadron’s SH-3 operations
    * Photo: side-view of Iranian Navy ASH-3D 8-2303  in blue/gray camo   Combat Aircraft Monthly  March 2014  p.76

Jim Winchester   American Military Aircraft: A History of Innovation   p.411: color profile of an HS-7 SH-3H

Sikorsky HH-3E walk around

Aviation Reviews, Photos and References