Westland Wasp HAS Mk.1

Westland Wasp HAS Mk.1 XT443

Registration: XT443
Country of origin: UK
Built: Hayes, England, 1966
Manufacturer: Westland Helicopters
Constructor's Number: F.9613
Engine: One 968shp Blackburn Nimbus turboshaft

Type: Light anti-submarine helicopter

Note: The Wasp had a unique quad undercarriage for landing on a heaving deck. This one served on naval frigates and was damaged during the 1975 Icelandic 'Cod War'.

Details: This naval helicopter was one of two designs, the other being the Army Scout, developed in the late 1950s from the experimental Saunders-Roe P.531, an enlarged Skeeter with a turbine engine.

The Wasp pioneered small-ship helicopter operations. It featured a unique quad undercarriage, able to absorb heavy landings on a heaving deck, with castoring wheels to stop it rolling overboard. Two balloon-type flotation bags were housed in containers above the cabin in case of a ditching at sea, and a short rotor diameter and folding tailboom permitted operation and hangarage within the limited space available on the aft deck of frigates of the period. Intended as an extension of the anti-submarine frigate weapon system, the helicopter used the parent ship to provide guidance to an attack area, carrying two torpedoes or depth charges to launch against located submarines. It could also attack surface ships, using missiles guided via the roof-mounted sight.

The Wasp entered Royal Navy service in 1963, serving on Leander class frigates and other ships. The type was also operated by the Brazilian, Netherlands, New Zealand, South African, Malaysian and Indonesian navies.

This example XT443 was the 60th Wasp built for the Royal Navy at the former Fairey factory in Hayes, Middlesex. It first flew, at Yeovil, in March 1966 and served, with No.829 Naval Air Squadron, aboard several Royal Navy frigates including HMS Galatea (1974-80) and HMS Aurora (1981-87). It survived a crash landing at Portchester, Hampshire, in March 1971 while on a test flight from Fleetland and two crashes in the 1975 Icelandic 'Cod War'.

After introduction of the Westland Lynx, XT443 was retired to Wroughton in May 1987, and then returned to Westland at Sherborn in 1990. It was acquired by The Helicopter Museum in January 1995, and restored at the museum between 1998 and late 2001 when it was put on permanent display.

Max Speed: 193 km/h (120 mph)
Empty Weight: 1566 kg (3452 lb)
Range: 488 km (303 miles)
Capacity/Load: 5 persons/934 kg (2059 lb)
Power: 1x 968 shp Bristol-Siddeley Nimbus turboshaft
Weapons: 2x Mk.44 torpedoes or 2x A512 air-surface missiles