During late 2017 the Pakistan Navy (PN) took on three former United Kingdom (UK) military Sea Kings from the UK Ministry of Defence.
The trio comprised a yellow Royal Air Force (RAF) Search and Rescue Mk3A and two Royal Navy HC4s in early 2018. They were returned to flying service, having been retired a couple of years before by Vector Aerospace at Gosport, UK, under a contract from PN.
The company refurbished and air tested them inside eight months, before they were shipped to Karachi in December 2017.
Another pair, a Mk3A and HC4 are used as non-flying spare aircraft by the PN and joined the three airworthy examples. Sadly one of the former ‘Junglie’ HC4s (No 18) was lost on 31 August during a close proximity manoeuvre with a navy frigate, the aircraft collided and ditched, regrettably with the loss of crew life.
The ex-UK Sea Kings supplement the six veteran Westland SeaKing Mk45s, acquired in the early 1970s and operated by the PN’s 111 Squadron. They can be armed with the AM39 Exocet anti-shipping missile and MK46 Torpedoes.
Their systems have recently been upgraded with the Leonardo Seaspray 5300E multi-mode surveillance radar and other advanced avionics. The Seaspray 5000E series of systems employs a Seaspray Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna that Leonardo claims ‘delivers a leading edge capability covering air- to-surface and air-to-air environments. This extremely capable system ensure this loyal servant continues to provide an important capability.