The Sea King Mk.41 is a modified variant of the British built Westland Sea King helicopter, which itself is a licence-built variant of the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King. 22 Sea King Mk.41s were originally commissioned into the MFG 5 of the West German Bundesmarine in 1975 to fulfil a search-and-rescue role for their ships, but its versatile design means that it grew to fulfil a variety of roles including air transport of material and personnel, emergency and disaster relief operations, tactical air transportation at the sea/land interface, participation in evacuation operations, maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, and contribute to surface warfare. While the Mk.41 is due to be replaced by the NH Helicopter 90 NTH Sea Lion, it still remains in frontline service to this day.
The Sea King Mk.41 was based on the HAS.Mk.1 but initial German requirements and subsequent modernisation efforts has meant that the Mk.41 has diverged substantially from its progenitor. From the factory, one of the rear bulkheads was shifted back in order to make more room in the cabin, with a bubble window being added to the rear of the fuselage. Due to its initial intended role as a SAR helicopter, the Sonar was not included although the radar was retained. The mid 1980s would bring about the Kampfwertsteigerung (KWS) program which sought to significantly expand the capabilities of the Mk.41. It would see the Sea Skua AShM being added with a total of four able to be carried, along with two Ferranti Sea Spray Mk 3 radars in order to guide them, four M-130 chaff/flare dispensers, and an AN/ALR-66 radar warning receiver. The Mk.41 also had a door gunner’s position which could be fitted with an FN M3M 12.7 HMG. Other upgrades have seen the Mk.41 fitted with an Pall APME Centrisep on the front engine inlets in place of the original deflector.
While Helicopters have yet to be implemented in naval gameplay, we probably aren’t too far away from seeing them introduced. As one of Germany’s earliest naval helicopters, the Sea King Mk.41 would make an ideal addition to potentially fill that role.
Length: 22.1 m
Width: 4.9 m
Height: 5.1 m
Take-off weight: 9,300 kg
Power: 2,500 kW (3,400 hp) from 2 x shaft engine
Speed: 252 km/h
Service ceiling: 3,800 m
Armament: Four Sea Skua AShM, one 12.7 mm machine gun
Self-protection: Four M-130 chaff/flare dispensers, AN/ALR-66 radar warning receiver
Sensors: Two Sea Spray 3000 radar, FLIR