Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare has announced that a RAN Sea King will be preserved at Nowra’s Fleet Air Arm Museum after the type is retired later this year.
The Sea King, callsign Shark 07, will be put on permanent display at the museum, where it will also honour the nine ADF personnel who died when Sea King Shark 02 crashed during a humanitarian support mission on the Indonesian island of Nias during April 2005.
“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,” Clare said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Meanwhile, a second Sea King will also be offered for display at the Australian War Memorial in recognition of the helicopter’s role in combat operations in Timor and the Middle East.
The Sea King fleet has flown a combined total of 60,000 operational hours, and has been involved in a number of local humanitarian operations during its long service, from the 1994 NSW bushfires to Queensland’s devastating flash floods earlier this year. Most recently, two Sea Kings conducted the successful rescue of a mountain climber on Lord Howe Island on May 17.
The RAN’s last Sea Kings will be withdrawn from service in December, with the remaining aircraft and associated support equipment to be offered for sale by tender.