The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (company designation S-61) is an American twin-engined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter designed and built by Sikorsky Aircraft. It was a landmark design, being the first ASW helicopter to take advantage of turboshaft engines, as well as being the first amphibious helicopter in the world. Introduced in 1961, it served with the United States Navy, and remains in service in many countries around the world. The Sea King has been built under license in Italy and Japan, and in the United Kingdom as the Westland Sea King. The major civil versions are the S-61L and S-61N.
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||11 March 1959|
|Retired||Retired by United States Navy in 2006|
|Primary users||United States Navy (historical)
Argentine Naval Aviation
|Unit cost||$6.4 million
Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King
Westland Sea King
Several Sea Kings, operated by the United States Marine Corps's HMX-1 unit, are used as the official helicopters of the President of the United States; in this capacity, the call sign 'Marine One' is used by the helicopter currently occupied by the President. As of 2012, a replacement helicopter fleet for the Sea King is pending under ongoing the VXX program.
In 1992, the US Justice Department sued Sikorsky over allegations of overcharged component pricing and deliberately misleading US Navy negotiators. In 1997, the Justice Department accused Sikorsky of willful overchanging on a contract to upgrade the Navy's Sea Kings.
During the 1990s, the Sea King was replaced in the ASW and SAR roles by the U.S. Navy with the newer Sikorsky SH-60 Sea Hawk. However, the SH-3 continued to operate in reserve units in roles including logistical support, search and rescue, and transport. On 27 January 2006, the SH-3 was ceremonially retired at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, by Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 (HC-2). They have been replaced by increasingly advanced variants of the SH-60 Sea Hawk.
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