Westland Wessex HC.2, XV721/H ‘Hotel’, RAF No.72 Squadron
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Westland Wessex HC.2, XV721/H ‘Hotel’, RAF No.72 Squadron, ‘Westland Wessex HC.2 35 Years of Active Service’, 1964 – 1999, RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland
As world conflicts have evolved since the end of the Second World War, it could be argued that the helicopter has become the most flexible and invaluable asset available to any air arm. Able to perform a multitude of military tasks no other type of aircraft is capable of undertaking, the helicopter is now at the forefront of any conflict, humanitarian, or rescue situation, wherever they occur in the world. One of the machines that transformed the operational capabilities of the modern military helicopter in the UK was the Westland Wessex – based on the US designed Sikorski S-58 ‘Chactaw’, Westland engineers replaced the original piston engine with a turboshaft powerplant, which amongst other benefits, allowed the aircraft to carry much greater payloads. Entering service with the Royal Navy in the early 1960s, the Wessex proved to be a huge improvement on the earlier Westland Whirlwind and began to serve the fleet in such varied roles as anti-submarine warfare, supply and general utility tasking, along with the vital search and rescue support.
The strength of the Wessex design allowed this impressive helicopter to have a long service career with both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Entering service with the Navy in 1961, the last of the RAF machines were not retired until 2003, which is an impressive record for these extremely hard working helicopters. RAF machines were designated HC.2 and were required to be powered by twin turboshaft engines, which is the reason why older Royal Navy machines did not end up in the colours of the Royal Air Force.
This particular RAF Wessex HC.2 (XV721/H) entered service with No.72 Squadron in 1968 and appears to have spent its entire service career with the same unit. A regular static exhibit at Airshows around the UK between 1999 and 2001, the aircraft features a specially marked door to commemorate No.72 Squadron’s long association with the Wessex HC.2 – ‘35 years of active service’. The Wessex helicopters of No.72 Squadron also hold two further impressive records from their distinguished service career. Serving with the security forces in Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner, the Wessex holds the record for the longest operational deployment of any RAF Squadron, from 1969 until 2002. Also, at one time, No.72 Squadron was the largest in the RAF, with no fewer than 25 Wessex, 4 Puma and 2 Chinook helicopters on strength. On its retirement from RAF Service, Westland Wessex HC.2 XV721 was sold to the National Navy of Uruguay.
The Westland Wessex and Westland Sea King is a product of AgustaWestland Limited and all rights in it, including its name, are hereby reserved.
The Aviation Archive
A range of high quality detailed die-cast model aircraft. Each model comes complete with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity detailing the significant history of each aircraft. View the full range
A detailed die-cast scale model for adult collector. Not Suitable for children under 14 years.
Colour and contents of products may vary from those illustrated
Technical Specification & Detail
- Detailed Crew Figure(s)
- Fixed Undercarriage
- Rotatable Propellers
- Sliding Door
- Stationary Drooping Blades
|Limited Edition Size||1,000|
True Helicopter Happiness Even Today!
For the 1/72 scale helicopter and modern military collector alike there is still nothing quite like the Westland Wessex. Originally a license-built S-51 in the UK this type of helicopter saw a variety of uses with the RAF and Royal Navy before being decommissioned from active service during 1999. Several examples now reside in museums and Corgi faithfully captures the reasons why in the detailing of this model. It represents one of the final Wessex helicopters to be retired when 72 Squadron RAF operated it so it carries the final service livery which was worn by the type. As mentioned: A definite must have full of character and nostalgia IMHO.
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