Ukraine gets WS-61 anti-submarine warfare helos from the UK

LONDON ($1=0.84 GBP) — A new shipment of Western weapons awaits Ukraine, following a statement by British Defense Secretary Mr. Ben Wallace. The information was also confirmed by the British publication The Times. It is about three Westland WS-61 Sea King anti-submarine warfare helicopters from the inventory of the Royal British Navy.

Ukraine gets WS-61 anti-submarine warfare helos from the UK
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Delivery is key, both for Ukraine and the UK. It is the first British-manned weapon system to be sent to assist the Ukrainian armed forces. According to The Times, one of the three helicopters has already been sent to Ukraine and is being prepared for operational combat capability. Soon this helicopter will be fully operational.

The delivery of these three helicopters is part of a new package of military aid from London to Kyiv. In this pack, apart from the three helicopters, the other weapon that makes an impression is the 10,000 artillery rounds.

Although the helicopters are part of the Royal Navy’s inventory, they were decommissioned nearly four years ago. Sources of the British media report that Ukraine was aware of this delivery, but kept it secret. The same sources say that Ukrainian pilots have already successfully passed and received a certificate to operate this type of helicopter. The training took place in recent months and lasted at least six weeks. According to The Times, ten Ukrainian aircrews were trained to fly the Westland WS-61 Sea King.

These helicopters are perfectly suited to perform several functions. In addition to reconnaissance and their participation in combat operations, helicopters are perfectly suited for search and rescue. The helicopter is manufactured under the license of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter. It has participated in some key conflicts, such as the Falklands War, the Persian Gulf War, the Balkan Conflict, and the Iraq War. This helicopter has been discontinued, but it still sells for around $6 million.

Ukraine gets WS-61 anti-submarine warfare helos from the UK
Photo credit: Wikipedia

About 350 units of this helicopter were produced. In addition to the UK, Germany and India are also operators of the Westland WS-61 Sea King. The helicopter crew consists of two or four people. Powered by two Rolls-Royce H.1400-2 Gnome turboshaft engines, 1,660 shp [1,240 kW] each.

Its cruise speed is 112 kn [129 mph, 207 km/h] [max cruise at sea level] and its range is 664 nmi [764 mi, 1,230 km]. The helicopter’s armament consists of four torpedoes, which can be Mark 44, Mark 46, or Sting Ray torpedoes, or 4× Depth charges, which are anti-submarine warfare [ASW] weapons.

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Britain continues to engage in solidarity with its Ukrainian allies by sending weapons since the beginning of the war, which began with the invasion of Russian territories on February 24. Earlier in recent weeks, London sent Kyiv upgraded Brimstone 2 precision-guided missiles.

Since the start of the war, Britain has sent 7,000 NLAW anti-tank missile systems, more than 100 armored vehicles, Stormer self-propelled anti-aircraft guns equipped with Starstreak missiles, several dozen M109 howitzers and L119 towed guns, M270 rocket launchers, more than 1600 armored vehicles, artillery shells, idle ammunition and 4.5 tons of plastic explosives.

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