Australia — Preserving our Sea King Helicopters

Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel Jason Clare was at the Fleet Air Arm Muse­um in Nowra to announce that Sea King Shark 07 would be pre­served at the Muse­um giv­en the sig­nif­i­cant role the Sea King has played in Naval Avi­a­tion over the last 36 years.

“The Sea King has served our nation well over the last 36 years and it is fit­ting that an exam­ple of this Navy work horse is pre­served here in Nowra,” Mr Clare said.

“Nowra was cho­sen to receive the Sea King heli­copter because it has been the home base for the Navy’s Sea King oper­a­tions with 817 Squadron since 1974.

“Sea King Shark 07 was cho­sen because it has the most oper­a­tional his­to­ry of all the Sea King heli­copters, hav­ing served in the Mid­dle East and East Timor.

“The Sea Kings are known as the work­horse of the Navy, large enough to pick up loads heav­ier than a Land Rover. They have flown in excess of 60,000 hours in a range of oper­a­tions both at home and abroad.” 

The per­ma­nent dis­play of a Sea King in the Muse­um will also hon­our the nine Defence per­son­nel who per­ished when Sea King Shark 02 crashed on the Indone­sian island of Nias on 2 April 2005. They were in Indone­sia to pro­vide human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to the Indone­sian peo­ple in the after­math of the 2005 earthquake.

The com­mu­ni­ty in Nowra was hit hard by the Nias dis­as­ter as four of the nine Defence per­son­nel were mem­bers of the 817 Squadron based at Nowra.

“Sea King Shark 07 will be a per­ma­nent memo­r­i­al to the sev­en young men and two young women we lost that day.

“Not only does Aus­tralia owe them a great debt, so to do the Indone­sian people. 

The air­craft has also come to the assis­tance of many Australians. 

In 1994 the Sea Kings were involved in one of the largest fire fight­ing efforts in Australia’s his­to­ry. The air­craft used water buck­ets to fight fires rag­ing near Grafton, Gos­ford, Bulahde­lah, and Sydney’s west­ern suburbs. 

The Sea Kings have also been used for res­cue oper­a­tions at sea.

In 1998, two of the heli­copters were involved in res­cu­ing yacht crews in dis­as­trous weath­er con­di­tions dur­ing the 1998 Syd­ney to Hobart Yacht Race.

One of the Sea Kings’ last oper­a­tions was to South West Queens­land to pro­vide response and recov­ery efforts dur­ing the Queens­land floods.

As recent­ly as 17 May they were involved in the dra­mat­ic res­cue of a climber on Lord Howe Island.

A Sea King heli­copter will also be offered for dis­play at the Aus­tralian War Memo­r­i­al in recog­ni­tion of the Sea King’s role in com­bat oper­a­tions in Tim­or and the Mid­dle East.

Sea King heli­copters will be with­drawn from ser­vice in Decem­ber 2011.

The remain­ing air­craft and asso­ci­at­ed sup­port equip­ment will be offered for sale by ten­der. Announce­ments regard­ing the ten­der and sale will be made in the com­ing months. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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