Friday, November 26, 2010

PHOTOS: The UH-3H Sea Kings Of INAS 350

The first time I flew in a Sea King was on 6 May 2006 when I flew from the deck of Indian frigate INS Brahmaputra onto aircraft carrier INS Viraat in an Mk.42C variant of chopper. This week, I got to fly in the American version, the Sikorsky UH-3H, pictured above, operated off the INS Jalashwa's deck by the INAS 350 squadron. These are the copters that got the government a lambasting in a recent audit report [PDF], which said the platforms were bought even though they were on extended time. Beauties, nevertheless -- here's to safe flight by the men who have to fly them.

Photos by Shiv Aroor / On Board INS Jalashwa (L41)


Anonymous said...

Any Update on Indian Navy global hunt to buy 16 helicopters to replacement to the existing British Sea King helicopters

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

It is not the Sikorsky SH-3s helicopters, but rather their procurement process which got the GoI a lamblasting in the CAG report. The following need to be taken heed of:
1) On page 55, the CAG report alleges that the SH-3s "were on the
verge of completing their air frame life and are on extended life". But the report conveniently forgets to mention the TTSL of the SH-3. Had that figure been mentioned, then it would have been evident that all that the SH-3s required was just another airframe lifing. There are close to 600 S-61s operational worldwide--mostly with companies engaged in civilian SAR missions and logistics support of offshore oil rigs.
2) Subsequent to their purchase under the FMS channel, these six machines should have all been subjected to a depot-level MRO schedule under a commercial contract awarded to Sikorsky during which the helicopters' avionics suite could have been upgraded (including the installation of nose-mounted weather radars and NVG-compatible cockpit instrumentation).
3) The MoD should have inked a separate FMS contract with the US Navy for procuring a spares package valid for a three-year period, with an option for renewing this arrangement for the next nine years. In return, all that the MoD was reqd to do was to deposit a constant amount of US$15 million with the US DoD so that in the event of an AOG scenario, the emergency spares reqmts could be obtained within 72 hours.
In conclusion, the CAG report, scathing as it may be, still fails to present the big picture about how exactly things should have proceeded had the procurement groundrules laid down by OEMs worldwide been followed.

Indian Sikorsky said...

Sikorsky helicopters for india !

Jay said...

How these Seakings are different from Westland Seaking Mk.42C? Photos shows they lack nose mounted Bendix Radar.