Sea Kings sold for parting out

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 29, 2013
The remaining Sea King helicopters have been sold for parts. (Paul Sadler)

Five of the Navy’s retired Sea King helicopters, withdrawn from service in December 2011, have been sold to Aerospace Logistics (ASL), which plans to part them out to sustain operations of the type elsewhere in the world.

Announcing the sale, Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare said the ASL bid offered the highest return to the Commonwealth.

Clare noted the Sea Kings had flown more than 60,000 hours while in service with the Navy and that they had come to the assistance of many Australians, including during the Queensland floods two years ago.

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Meanwhile Sea King Shark 07 has been retained for display with the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra.

Disposal of the Sea Kings was announced in September 2011.

14 Comments

  • John N

    says:

    This announcement today highlights, to me at least, the Government retired the Sea Kings a couple of years too early. Here we are January 2013 and still no MRH90’s in service to replace them!

    Yes Governments have to program in the times for the wind down and retirement of various systems, but I still think it was short sighted considering all the well known delays and problems with the MRH90’s.

    As I understood it, the Sea Kings were not suffering from their maintenance issues of years gone by and were operating just fine.

    In a way the Government is “lucky” that virtually all the ships that could operate the Sea Kings are in fact retired or non operational.

    The two decommissioned LPA’s are tied up at the old Glebe Island container terminal being stripped before they are scrapped.

    The broken down HMAS Choules is tied up at Garden Island awaiting the replacement of the burnt out transformers, last I heard she won’t be back in service till April.

    Then of course there are the two other old rust buckets, eg, HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Success, both hardly able to do the tasks they are supposed to do.

    So yes, the Government is bloody luck that the flooding in QLD and northern NSW hasn’t turned horribly bad, the Navy basically has no ships or helicopters to do any sort of major disaster relief operations, let alone a military operation.

    The “parted out” bits of our Sea King fleet is probably going to see service well before and after the “new” MRH90’s are actually in service!

    Ridiculous, short sighted and absolutely ridiculous!!!

    Cheers,

    John

  • Anon

    says:

    John, it’s more than just the airframes. The SKs were retired so manpower capacity could be released to go over to the MRH. This decision has to be made a couple years before the retirement date, and then a transition of a couple of years is required. Unfortunately, in the meantime the ongoing delays to MRH have grown.

  • John N

    says:

    Anon,

    Yes I do understand that, thats why I also said, yes Governments have to program in the wind down and retirement times, I know we don’t have and endless supply of manpower to go around, no argument from me.

    Yes its common practice and there are plenty of examples, eg 1 Sqn handing over its F111 airframes to 6 Sqn to prepare for the new 1 Sqn Super Hornets, so yes, I do fully understand how the system works.

    But is not as if the Sea Kings were at the edge of retirement and “suddenly” the Government discovered that the MRH would be delayed even further, surely there could have been options explored to ensure that a medium lift helicopter “gap” didn’t develop.

    It’s not as though the ADF has an oversupply of medium lift utility helicopters, I’m sure the Army is stretched having to operate the Blackhawks longer than planned too.

    Lets just hope that the MRH90’s can reach IOC sooner rather than later, also be good if there are some Navy platforms to operate off too!!!

    Cheers,

    John

  • Anon

    says:

    There’s also no real medium lift helo requirement in navy since the LPHs were retired…won’t be until the LHDs arrive.

    The SKs were long past their prime, and it was costing a lot to keep them going. Still, it’s a shame they’ll be parted out…

  • Andy

    says:

    What a waste of resources …. could they not have been converted to operate in in a transport role for ADF and secodary SAR let alone firefighting, and more

    Sea Kings are very capable machines with many more years of life let in them; better to use them rather than loose them

    And why part them out when they could find homes in musems if really comes to the crunch

    This is a nonsense heads need to role, over this insanity from the ADF

  • Anon

    says:

    No people to use them!

    Parting out makes money, museums cost money!

  • Air Observer

    says:

    It would have been wise to replace them with the MH60S and the Blackhawk with the Blackhawk. It would have been a smoother transition and the savings would have been eyewatering in terms of neckdown. The Sierra would have been a great tactical asset for the Navy.

  • John N

    says:

    Air Observer,

    Yes 20/20 hindsight is a marvelous thing, the old “if only I knew then, what I know now”.

    We may have seen new UH60M’s for the Army and MH60S for the Navy in service by now, plus the soon to be delivered MH60R’s.

    But I still think and hope, that the MRH90’s, once all the issue are sorted out, will be a good asset for the ADF, just have to wait and see.

    I don’t think that Army and Navy really want to go back to square one and start all over again again, eg, a repeat of the Seasprite saga.

  • Air Observer

    says:

    @ John N
    Indeed! Just thinking aloud. The MRH90 will find its feet and no doubts lift many bars once it does.

  • Hogan

    says:

    I think they should replace them with the SH-60’s, step away from american produced vehicles?

  • Hogan

    says:

    Correction the “NH-90” Helicopter***

  • Raymond

    says:

    No – stick to US-produced gear. It generally works and works well, and it means we’re interoperable with our No. 1 ally.

    Especially when it comes to choppers; seems nothing much goes right when we touch Euro helos at the moment.

  • Sierra-76

    says:

    John N – All I can say is WOW. It’s amazing that one person can project so much doom and gloom into the Sale of an aged platform!
    You managed to move onto rust bucket ships and the plus capability assessments and still have time to compare the disastrous Sea Sprite with a leading ege platform like the MRH-90.
    I suggest when taking this line of attack to first consider where as a tax payer you wish the money to be taken from as I for one don’t wish taxes to increase or further funding cuts to essential services. Yes I want an active and well equipped Defence Force but I am willing for it to be done at a methodical and responsible pace that doesn’t send the country broke!
    You may also like to take into consideration that many Defence projects are also done on a shoe string and not in the past fashion were funds were just thrown at problems. This correctly holds the contractors responsible but also causes delays as changes are assessed and budgets reviewed. Peoples employment is at stake so don’t just make bold statements like you have for a couple of particular projects. I was always taught that there are 2 sides to every story and trial by media has the distasteful way of glamorising only certain facts…..
    Think before your sprout Sir.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Sierra-76 – you’re wrong… there’s at least 3 sides to every story. The 3rd one is the truth, somewhere in the middle. But I see the points you are making.

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