Westland Whirlwind helicopter

A controversial claim to fame was recorded in the flight log of Lieutenant M C Rusling on 6th November 1956. He flew a number of sorties in a Westland Whirlwind of 845 squadron to Port Said carrying marines of 45 commando for an assault on installations there. That would make this operation the first true helicopter borne assault in history pre-dating US Army operations in Vietnam and Korea by a number of years.

In the 1960's the Westland Whirlwind HAR10 and HC10 helicopters formed the backbone of the RAF search and Rescue and tactical transport helicopter force. The Westland Whirlwind offered improved performance and reliability over the piston engined helicopters it replaced. It had a new turboshaft engine which was lighter and gave more performance.

Surviving Westland Whirlwind helicopter cockpit steps and exhausts

The first British Whirlwind flew at Yeovil on 15 Aug 1953 for the Royal Navy. It could either be equipped with a dipping Sonar for submarine detection or carry a Mk 30 or 44 torpedo or depth charges, but could not carry both simultaneously, so sonar equipped "Hunters" were used to direct torpedo armed "Killers". The design was so successful that these jet engined Westland Whirlwinds were in service for 21 years. Westland Whirlwind helicopters were used by the RAF in the Far east, the Mediterranean and Europe.

The Westland Whirlwind helicopter was a British license-built version of the U.S. Sikorsky S-55/H-19 Chickasaw helicopter. In 1961 some of the old Whirlwind HAR2 and HAR2 piston engined helicopters were re-engined with the new turboshaft engine but sixty eight new air sea rescue HAR-10 and troop transport HC-10s were produced .No.225 Squadron RAF transport command were the first unit to deploy Westland Whirlwind HAR10s. In the Search and Rescue role Whirlwinds adopted the bright yellow paint scheme now so familiar on SAR helicoptors.

Surviving Westland Whirlwind helicopter markings

As well as rescue and anti-submarine missions the Westland Whirlwind helicopter was used for troop transportation and medical evacuation. It could carry up to 10 troops or 8 stretcher cases. The Westland Whirlwind HAR4 helicopter was a tropicalized version used by the RAF in Malaysia The HAR 5 Westland Whirlwind First flew on 28th August 1955. It was the first Whirlwind with a British engine. The HAS 7 was designed for anti-submarine role. First flew on 17. October 1956 and delivered from June 1957 and gradually replaced the Gannet in the anti-submarine role. 120 were built.

Surviving Westland Whirlwind raf air sea rescue helicopter tail section markings

Sikorsky produced over 1000 machines, and over 500 were built under license. Westland exported over 100 machines - to the following countries : Austria, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Ghana, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Yugoslavia.