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RAF Sea King info request

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RAF Sea King info request

Old 29th Mar 2017, 09:16
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RAF Sea King info request

I am completing an oil painting of an RAF Sea King in Snowdonia. The reference photograph of the airframe that I am using was taken at a distance comparable with the position within the painting. A lack of clear detail means that I am having to cross refer with many other close up photographs to acquire knowledge of the fine detail. My question is: (If it does not involve an essay) What are the visible external differences between a Mk3 and a Mk3a Sea King noting both additions and subtractions (if any) from the airframe. Were all 'in service' Sea Kings Mk3a at the time of their retirement? Specifically the Valley based examples. Did SKTU airframes wear Sqn badges? Answers received with gratitude.

Last edited by Tiger_mate; 29th Mar 2017 at 09:53.
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 09:26
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 09:27
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The biggest obvious difference on the outside is that the HF Antennae on a Mk.3 goes from the fin to the top of the Port side Sponson, inside which is where the HF transmitter/ATU is located. On the Mk.3A the HF Antennae starts at the fin but is then turned through 90 Deg downwards towards the Hull about halfway between the Port Bubble window and the Port Sponson.
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 13:12
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Tiger mate - ORAC's link has all you need but only Chivenor and Wattisham had Mk 3As, all the rest were Mk 3s.

There were only 6 Mk3As, ZH540 - ZH545, made.
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 13:17
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The SK OCU, once it moved to St Mawgan as 203(R) sqn had its own badge (a seahorse ISTR) but because aircraft were rotated through from the front-line and the Falklands, it wasn't unusual to see 22, 202 or 78 Sqn badges on the OCU aircraft.
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 18:25
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Neither the Mk3 or 3A HF aerials are attached to the fin, there is a mast on the port side just forward of the tail fold, the aerial then goes to a mast high up on the fuselage and just below the radome and from there, on the Mk3 it goes to a mast on the top of the sponson, on the Mk3A vertically down to the mast. Your drawing appears to be a Mk3 in which case the mast on the sponson would just be visible.
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 20:28
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Your drawing appears to be a Mk3 in which case the mast on the sponson would just be visible.
The reference photograph does have a mast visible on the port sponson. Thank you for clarifying that; and if the fleet mostly consisted of Mk3, I shall leave it that way. I appreciate the responses guys, thank you. The other thread did not answer all of my questions; and if I am honest, I never expected anyone to have previously asked the question. One final question if I may:- I have seen some aircraft with a (fibreglass?) protrusion below aft of the cabin door. Looks about a foot square and a few inches deep. My reference photo appears not to have this - is this a legacy item from previous models?
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Old 29th Mar 2017, 21:55
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Do you mean the silver/grey and white object as in the photo above? If so I seem to recall that was the Decca Nav antenna. Could be wrong though, haven't touched an RAF SeaKing for 23 years now.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 10:46
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The Decca (Avionker is correct) was removed late 90s/early 2000s, which is about the same time as the EAPS (Sandfilter) replaced the old barn door above the cockpit. The other external detail to consider including is the large tail letter (one per airframe, omitting the letter 'O' ) which appeared in about 2005 although it took several years to apply these across the fleet (based on the rotation of airframes through depth) and at least one airframe never carried the letter.

In terms of 203 (R) Sqn aircraft (NB SKTU officially was pre-1996 and then again 2014-5), unit badges were carried some of the time on both sides of the aircraft (and, in one case, on the sonobuoy cover on the bottom of the hull). Typically, of the five airframes at Valley, three would carry 203 badges and two had 22 Sqn badges, as that was the nominal strength of the units, but in reality the aircraft were pooled. There was also a period when C Flt 22 Sqn became a bit too precious about flying aircraft with 203 badges, meaning that all 203 badges were removed for a while. This ended after a change of management and some guerilla badging in the hangar, helped by the fine folks of the Graphics section. Final detail: in 2014, the special 203 Centenary artwork was carried by two airframes for several months.
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Old 30th Mar 2017, 17:08
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Did not know the RAF had any, all the ones I saw were RN. I had to design the weapon carrying attachments for the RN ones. Remember that the chopper was a Destroyer or Frigates main long range armament, most had a single 4.5 gun and torpedoes, but limited range on both, anything farther away needed the chopper.
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