Westland Wasp XT435 entered service with the Royal Navy in 1965 and operated with 829 Naval Air Squadron and part of her RN service was on the frigate HMS Achilles. She also served with the Royal New Zealand Navy before passing into private ownership. Her yellow striped tail cone was given as an accolade for her last flight with the Royal Navy making her much more ‘wasp’ like.
The Wasp HAS Mk1 was introduced to service in 1964. It served in its primary role with 829 Naval Air Squadron (NAS), but also in training units to supply crews for the front line with 706 NAS between 1965 and 1967 and in 703 NAS between 1972 and 1981. In all 98 wasps were built of which 96 were production models. Ship flights numbered 15 on Leander class Frigates, four on Tribal class frigates and three on Rothesay class frigates.
Its original role was to act as a weapon carrier to launch torpedoes and depth charges on submarine contacts out of range of the parent ships weapon range. Soon it also took on a second primary role of air to surface attack using AS12 wire guided missiles. The flexibility of the aircraft was such that it was able to conduct a plethora of secondary roles from visual search to collecting the all-important ship’s mail.
CREW – 2
Speed – 120mph or 104 knots
Range – 303 miles
Ceiling – 12,200 ft