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H-3 Sea King

The H-3 is a twin engine, all-weather helicopter. The SH-3H model is used by the Navy Reserves to detect, classify, track and destroy enemy submarines. It also provides logistical support and a search and rescue capability. The UH-3H model is utility configured for logistical support and search and rescue missions. The VH-3A model supports the Executive Transport Mission. The first version of this workhorse helicopter was flown more than 35 years ago. The Sea King has been replaced by the SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopters as the anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The transition was completed in the mid 1990s. The remaining Sea King helicopters have been configured for logistical support and search and rescue missions.



Sikorsky Aircraft, Division of United Technologies


  • General purpose, single rotary wing, twin turbine powered helicopter with emergency amphibious capabilities
  • Available in Anti-Submarine Warfare (SH-3H/D) and Utility (UH-3H/SH-3G) configurations

Power Plant:

  • SH-3H/UH-3H: Two General Electric T-58-GE-402 turboshaft engines. Each engine can produce approximately 1,500 shaft horsepower. Standard since 1991.
  • SH-3D: Two General Electric T58-GE-10 turboshaft engines. Each engine can produce approximately 1,400 shaft horsepower.
  • SH-3G: Two General Electric T58-GE-8F turboshaft engines. Each engine can produce approximately 1,250 shaft horsepower.


  • SH-3H/D: Crew of four (two pilots, two sensor operators) and up to three passengers
  • UH-3H/SH-3G: Can be configured for up to 15 passengers in addition to the aircrew


  • SH-3D/H helicopters are capable of airspeeds up to 120 KIAS.
  • Endurance varies between 3.5 and 5.5 hours depending on the mission.
  • Maximum allowable weight (SH-3H/UH-3H): 21,000 pounds
  • Maximum allowable weight (SH-3D): 20,500 pounds
  • Maximum allowable weight (SH-3G): 19,100 pounds
  • Provisions for carrying up to 6,000 pounds of external loads can be added.


Not applicable


  • Two MK-46/44 anti-submarine torpedoes
  • Various sonobouys and pyrotechnic devices

Mission and Capabilities:

  • Class IB aircraft designed for both shore- and ship-based operations
  • U.S. Navy missions have included anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and miscellaneous utility roles, including limited external cargo capability.
  • In the ASW role, major sensors include: AQS-13 and AQS-18 dipping sonar systems, various sonobuoys, and the ASQ-81 Magnetic Anomaly Detector. In addition, airborne search and weather radar have been mounted on the radar.
  • Fully configured instruments for all weather operations
  • Capable of automatic approach to a stabilized sustained hover
  • The Teledyne AQS-123 TACNAV, a Doppler-based tactical navigation system, is installed in the SH-3H and UH-3H.
  • Provisions for installation of a Global Position System (GPS) are being added to some models.

Program Summary:

  • The SH-3H completed its last active duty deployment in 1995 and has been replaced in the USN carrier force by the SH-60.
  • Eighty SH-3H helicopters will be converted to the UH-3H model, which are expected to remain in service with the U.S. Navy in a utility role through 2010.
  • The U.S. Naval Reserves use six SH-3H helicopters in the ASW mission.
  • The SH-3H and UH-3H have undergone a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), which included improvements to the airframe, electrical wiring, main transmission, and main rotor systems.
  • SH-3D/G models and a few out-of-service SH-3H aircraft have not received the SLEP improvements.
  • Significant aircrew safety enhancements have been affected by the addition of the Helicopter Emergency Egress Lighting System (HEELS) and Crash-Resistant Crew Seats.
  • Installation of the Inflight Blade Integrity System (IBIS) for the in-service aircraft is planned during CY1996-97.
  • Standard Depot Level Maintenance (SDLM) capability was transitioned in 1995 from organic to civilian contract depot support at PEMCO World Air Services, Dothan, AL.
  • The H-3 is currently operated by numerous foreign governments, including: Spain, Egypt, Brazil, and Malaysia. These countries have active Security Assistance cases with the U.S. Navy for maintenance, logistics, and engineering support.


External Dimensions

Main rotor diameter         
Main rotor blade chord         
Tail rotor diameter         
Tail rotor blade chord         
Distance between rotor centers         
Wing span         
Wing aspect ratio         
Length: overall, rotors turning         
Width overall         
Height: to top of rotor head         
Overall Height         
Ground clearance, main rotor, turning         
Elevator span         
Width over skids         


Main rotor blades (each)         
Tail rotor blades (each)         
Main rotor disc         
Tail rotor disc         
Vertical fin         
Horizontal tail surfaces         

Weights and Loadings

Weight empty         
Mission fuel load (usable)         
Maximum useful load (fuel and disposable ordinance)         
Maximum Take off and landing weight         
Maximum disc loading         
Maximum power loading         

Performance :

Never -exceed speed (Vne)         
Maximum level speed at S/L         
Rate of climb at S/L, OEI         
Service ceiling         
Service ceiling, OEI         
Hovering ceiling
Range at S/L with standard fuel, no reserves         

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Thursday, December 24, 1998 7:28:52 PM