WASP HAS Mk 1 XT420 (G-CBUI)
Wasp XT420 in service (registered as G-CBUI when she transitioned to civilian ownership) is painted as ‘606’ of 829 Naval Air Squadron HQ Flight. She was built in 1964 and at various times served with 706 Naval Air Squadron (training) and the following ships flights of 829 Naval Air Squadron: HMS Nubian, HMS Hecate, HMS Aurora, HMS Ajax.
XT420 also served with HMS Hecla (Falklands) with red crosses painted on, in the casualty evacuation role. She was disposed of by the Royal Navy in April 1994.
The Wasp HAS Mk1 was introduced to service in 1964 and was a first generation jet engine helicopter built for the Royal Navy, based on an original Saunders Roe concept of a light utility helicopter for the British Army – the Scout AH1.
The Army Scout was configured as a light five seat helicopter with skid undercarriage, whereas the Wasp has a quadricycle undercarriage, with fully castoring, long-stroke oleos, lockable wheels that can be toed outwards or inwards depending on operational need.
The Wasp also has folding elements (tail and main rotors) to enable shipboard stowage; a deck securing system; negative pitch to ‘stick’ the Wasp to a heaving deck when landing in rough seas, metal tail rotor; single horizontal stabiliser opposite the tail rotor; anti-submarine warfare avionics; anti-submarine warfare armament; auto-stabilisation; autopilot; radar altimeter for SAR operations; a winch, and flotation devices.
The Wasp HAS.1 was introduced to service in the small ships role in 1964, after an intensive period of trials by 700(W) IFTU between June 1963 and March 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. Although effective as a submarine killer, it was best deployed paired with a Wessex HAS Mk3 submarine hunter. It was taken out of front-line service in the late 1970’s with the introduction of the Westland Lynx.
Single airframes also served for light liaison duties in the Commando Assault squadrons, 845 NAS and 848 NAS until 1973.
It was brought back into full operational service when war with Argentina broke out in in 1982 following the invasion of the Falkland Islands. Seven reserve frigates and their helicopters were recommissioned for active service in the South Atlantic.
On 25 April 1982 the Argentinean Submarine Santa Fe was spotted by a Wessex HAS Mk3 helicopter from HMS Antrim. The Wessex then attacked it with depth charges. HMS Plymouth launched a Westland Wasp HAS Mk1 helicopter, and HMS Brilliant launched a Westland Lynx HAS Mk2. The Lynx attacked the submarine with a Mk 46 torpedo, and also strafed it with its pintle-mounted GPMG; the Wessex also fired on the Santa Fe with its GPMG. The Wasp from HMS Plymouth as well as two other Wasps launched from HMS Endurance fired AS.12 anti-ship missiles at the submarine, scoring hits. Santa Fe was damaged badly enough to prevent her from submerging. The crew abandoned the submarine at the jetty at King Edward Point on South Georgia.
CREW – 1 pilot, 1 aircrewman (and up to 4 passengers)
Maximum speed – 120 mph (193 km/h)
Cruise speed – 110 kn (178 km/h)
Range – 263 nmi (303 mi, 487 km)
Service ceiling – 12,200 ft (3,700 m)
Rate of climb – 1,440 ft/min (7.3 m/s)
Length – 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m) overall, 30 ft 4 in (9.24 m) fuselage only
Height – 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
Main rotor diameter – 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
Empty weight – 3,452 lb (1,566 kg)
Max takeoff weight – 5,500 lb (2,495 kg)
1 × Rolls-Royce Nimbus 103 turboshaft engine, 710 shp (530 kW) de-rated from 1,050 shp (783 kW)
2 x Mk 44 or 1 x Mk 46 torpedo or 2 x Mk 44 depth charges or WE.177 600lb Nuclear Depth Bomb.
4 x SS.11 or 2 x AS.12 missiles.
L7 GPMG, 4.5 Flares, Smoke/flame floats