Westland Whirlwind H.A.R. Mk. 9: A Second Attempt

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Introduction and History
The Westland Whirlwind is a medium utility helicopter developed from the Sikorsky S-55 (Civilian version of the H-19). In 1950, Westland wanted to get their hands on a helicopter that could supplant their Dragonfly (a license-built version of the Sikorsky S-51). In 1951, Westland received their first S-55 from Sikorsky as a demonstrator for the type. While working on the aircraft for domestic production, it was noted that some of the British components were heavier than their American counterparts. Therefore the UK used their American-built S-55s as a template to reverse engineer the lighter components, while redesigning the main rotor gearbox entirely. In 1954, Westland first batch of domestic aircraft had finally been delivered to the Royal Navy. The RAF and Royal Navy would continue to use piston-engined variants up until 1961, when the RAF would receive Whirlwinds with Bristol Siddeley/Rolls-Royce Gnome turboshafts. These aircraft were designated H.A.R. Mk. 10. The Royal Navy wouldn’t receive a similar aircraft until 1966, when they would obtain their H.A.R. Mk. 9 aircraft. Production of the Whirlwind would last until 1966, with the last piston-engined version being retired in 1976, and the last Whirlwind in service to be retired in the 1980s.

The Whirlwind saw extensive use during the Borneo Confrontation by RAF and Royal Navy alike, where it served alongside the much larger Westland Wessex. The Whirlwind’s design allowed it to be a great light rescue and supply helicopter. On top of this, the Whirlwind also served as an attack helicopter with provisions for two Nord SS.11 missiles, though during the conflict it was not uncommon to see aircraft with four missiles.

The British don’t like putting information in things

Specifications (H.A.R. Mk. 9)

Crew: 2 (Pilot and Co-Pilot/Gunner)
Length: 44’ 2"
Width (Blades Folded): 11’ 6"
Tread (Main Gear): 11’
Tread (Nose Gear): 4’ 8"
Height: 15’ 7.5"
Rotor Diameter: 53’
Fuel capacity: At least 170 gallons in 2 fuel tank groups

Empty: 5483 lbs.
Normal Gross Weight: 7800 lbs.
Overload Gross Weight: 8000 lbs.

Do Not Exceed Speed: 95 knots
Ceiling: 10,000 ft.
Engine: Gnome Mk. 103 (1050 shp, 730 shp after losses)
Engine Compressor RPM: 14,200 (idle) 25,750 to 27,100 maximum
Main Rotor RPM: 205 to 235 (245 Overspeed)
Maximum climb rate: 1200 ft./min @ SL

The Sikorsky S-55 was no stranger to armaments. The American H-19 saw use in the Korean War, where door guns were used to cover the aircraft on hot approaches. After the Korean War, one H-19 saw test use with two experimental 15-tube FFAR pods before later being fitted with another experimental armament taken from another helicopter from the same unit. Even the Whirlwind had at least one experimental armament before the use of missiles. A single H.A.R. Mk. 2 with the RAF Joint Experimental Helicopter Unit was fitted with four air-to-ground missiles, albeit of an unknown type. According to the pilot’s manual, standard armament to be fitted were two Nord SS.11 missiles, one on either side of the airframe. However, there is more photographic evidence of a total of four missiles being fitted to aircraft rather than just two.

Armament Images (3)

Other Images (5)

The Westland Whirlwind was a big step forward for the company. Finally able to produce and export a utility helicopter was a big win for them, and a great asset for the RAF and Royal Navy. In game, the Whirlwind would serve as another missile platform for helicopter players to use.


Westland Aircraft since 1915 - Derek N. James (1991)
Borneo Boys: RAF Helicopter Pilots In Action - Indonesian Confrontation 1962-66 - Roger Annett (2012)
AP101C-309-15 - H.A.R. Mk. 9 Whirlwind Pilot’s Notes - May 1966
AN 01-230HFB-1 - H-19A Flight Handbook - 19520115
Some Images



Flying potato with missiles, i like it!

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