Three former RAN Sea King helicopter airframes have left storage at HMAS Albatross near Nowra for the last time.
The machines, covered in spraylat environmental wrapping were carried through Nowra on the back of flat-bed trucks on their way to port Kembla for loading onto a ship for transport to the UK. There they will be dismantled and their components used to support other Sea Kings that remain in service.
“When I began my 35-year Navy career, I cut my teeth on Sea Kings when I first qualified as a young maintainer back in 1976; and I have been involved at various levels in their logistics support and maintenance over subsequent years,” Daryl Varcoe, Logistics Manager with Navy Aviation Systems Program Office told Navy Daily. “Like many at Albatross of my age, farewelling them is a time of mixed emotions. To many, they are an old and loyal friend who have served them well and looked after them throughout their Navy careers.”
Added Commander Mathew Bradley, Acting Commanding Officer of HMAS Albatross; “From a historical perspective, the 817 Squadron Sea Kings should be correctly remembered as the ‘go to’ aircraft within the Fleet Air Arm inventory for many tasks. Right up to the final year of service in 2011, Sea Kings were providing critical lifesaving support during the Queensland Flood emergency. This level of service reflected many years of domestic operations in times of flood and fire, but it was also conducted against a backdrop of overseas humanitarian and combat operations.”
The Sea Kings were retired in 2011 after 34 years of service in the RAN and have been replaced in the transport and replenishment role by the MRH 90s of 808SQN. One of the Sea Kings, dubbed Shark 07 is on static display at the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum at Albatross.