Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King Bu. No. 156501
The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (company designation S-61) is an American twin-engined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter. A landmark design in 1961, it was the Navy’s first amphibious helicopter and one of the first ASW rotorcraft to use turbo shaft engines. It carried up to four torpedoes and sophisticated sonar detection equipment, combining the roles of hunter and killer, which had previously been carried out by two separate helicopters. The Sea King performed other missions such as search-and-rescue, transport, anti-shipping and airborne early warning operations. Aircraft carriers would deploy Sea Kings as a plane guard, ready to rescue air crew who crashed during takeoff or landing. They transferred personnel and mail between vessels, and recovered manned space capsules.
Several Sea Kings, operated by the United States Marine Corps’s HMX-1 unit, such as the authorized replica at Aviation Heritage Park, are used as the official helicopters of the President of the United States, for which the call sign “Marine One” would be used.
This particular aircraft was assigned to aircraft carrier-based ASW operations beginning in the 1980s, until it was released from active service in 1996 and assigned to NAS Jacksonville as an instructional airframe. In 2019, It was loaned to Aviation Heritage Park and authorized to become a VH-3D Marine One static display.
This aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida.