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Westland Scout research

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Westland Scout research

Old 6th Sep 2013, 13:26
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Warwickshire
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Westland Scout research


I popped the same request on military aircrews but it occurred to me not everyone may view each forum element....

I am hoping to build a flying model of a Westland Scout, probably at 1/4 scale, not an overnight project and it is going to take some time.

At this point I am researching mechanical feasibility, well that is to say my ability to be able to build it! There is every reason it will succeed as a 1/5 scale kit is available!!

However, I lived in NI from 75 to 80 and I'd like to model a version that flew in Northern Ireland as it is quite possible I saw it operationally flying as I was that snotty nosed kid hanging around the pad at HQNI (if you were the pilot or aircrew at the time!). Thus a bit of a reminiscing for me.

In doing the model I'd like to also cover the version that flew in the Falklands armed with the missiles.

This would give me some options such as fitting a Nitesun device and then the version with the missiles, even if a differing paint scheme is required.

However, it may well be that an aircraft from NI never went to the Falklands which would mean I need to build 2 unless someone knows of a version that flew with the missiles, which I certainly never saw and anticipate was not the case!

If anyone can let me know, I'd be grateful as well as a potted history.

The model will feature a shaft driven turbine engine, but sadly I doubt can reproduce those awesome sounds of the Scout, the buzz at full rotor speed and the gale and howling sounds when at hover or slow flight/take off.... but you never know.

If you Google Len Mount Westland Scout, you can see the 1/5th model..

Thanks in anticipation,

Gazzer1uk is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2013, 17:28
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Army Scout

The Westland Scout was developed from the Saunders-Roe P531 which first flew on 20th July 1958 and was powered by a Blackburn Turmo 603 engine. My late godfather was a test pilot on this aircraft, with both the A&AEE Boscombe Down and with Ferranti Aircraft Systems.

The production Scout was fitted with a Bristol Siddeley Nimbus (later Rolls-Royce Nimbus) 101 engine although test flights had utilised both the Bristol Siddeley and a De Havilland Gnome H1000. The Scout’s layout involved two front seats and a three-seat rear bench although this could be replaced with a four-seat bench when fitted with modified rear doors. In the casevac role it carried two stretchers internally and two externally in panniers. Skid landing gear was standard.

The type entered service with the Army Air Corps in 1963 and was a replacement for the Saunders-Roe Skeeter. The Scout was primarily used as a multi-role tactical aircraft with duties such as observation, liaison, training and search and rescue.

When armoured as a light attack helicopter it carried either two skid-mounted forward-firing machine guns (L8A1 GPMG) packs or a single pintle-mounted machine gun in the rear cabin. The pintle mount was available in both port and starboard mountings. The gun-packs, which were both aimed at a pre-set convergence angle, carried 200 rounds of ammunition and were mounted on a tubular spar that was fixed between the front and rear undercarriage legs. Tests were also carried out with a Browning M2, also mounted in the rear cabin.

Gun Sight

In the anti-tank role the Scout could carry four wire-guided missiles (the Nord SS11). These missiles had a range of around 6,000 metres but, to employ this weapon, some form of optical magnification had to be used so that the operator could identify the target as well as the missile flare. For this purpose the Army used the Avimo-Ferranti AF120. This unit had a x2.5 and x10 magnification and employed Ferranti’s considerable expertise in gyro-stabilisation to allow the weapons officer to deliver track and direct missile guidance. The lower part of the AF120 could be retracted into its housing while not is use and which gave this device a periscope-like ‘feel’ to it. The sighting head used a gyro-stabilised mirror and was enclosed in a double-skin casing outside the canopy and the entire system mounted on a tubular sub-frame which employed anti-vibration mountings. My godfather was involved in the weapons testing flights for the AF120 and which took place at the Castlemartin range in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the Scout pioneered the use of the Heli-Tele aerial surveillance system, having a gyro-stabilised Marconi unit fitted in the rear cabin. The Heli-Tele unit weighed some 700 lb (320 kg), although later developments reduced this weight significantly. In this role the rear cabin doors and seats were removed and four troops sat in the rear cabin with their feet resting on the skids. Operating with two aircraft in unison, this allowed an eight man patrol to be quickly inserted into an area and set-up snap Vehicle Check Points (VCPs) when necessary.

Up until 1973, the standard tail rotor colour scheme for the Scout were bands of red and white. On 14 September 1973 a soldier died during training at Gosford Castle, Armagh, after coming into contact with the tail rotor blades whilst the aircraft was on the ground. Following this accident the tail rotor blade colour scheme was changed to the distinctive black and white bands.

Because of the specialist nature of operations in Northern Ireland, a particularly important piece of role equipment was introduced in the form of the 'Nightsun' 3.5 million candle power searchlight. Operations at night were greatly enhanced with the introduction of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs), although these missions could still be hazardous. This was evident on the night of 2nd December 1978 when the pilot of XW614, 659 Sqn, became disorientated during a sortie and crashed into Lough Ross, killing the two crew. XW614 was the last of five Scouts written off during operations in the Province.


At the start of “Operation Corporate” six Scouts from 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron were operating alongside three machines from No. 656 Squadron AAC, and when 5 Infantry Brigade landed they were joined by another three Scouts from 656 Squadron.

During the Falklands conflict the Scout was engaged in CASEVAC, re-supply and Special Forces insertion roles. One aircraft, XT629, was one of two Scouts of B Flight 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron, that was attacked by two FMA IA 58 Pucarás (the only Argentine air-to-air victory in the war) of Grupo 3 near Camilla Creek House, North of Goose Green. XT629 was hit by cannon fire and crashed, killing the pilot and severing the leg of the crewman, who was thrown clear of the wreckage on impact. The second Scout evaded the Pucarás and later returned to the site to CASEVAC the survivor.

Another Scout, XR628, of 656 Sqn AAC, suffered a main rotor gearbox failure whilst in a low hover over MacPhee Pond, 8th June 1982. XR628 had taken cover as two pairs of A-4 Skyhawks from Grupo 5 approached, these aircraft later attacked the RFA LSLs Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram at Bluff Cove. Once the threat had passed and the pilot began to climb away, the main gearbox failed at the main input drive and the aircraft made a forced landing at the lakeside in around four feet of water. The two crew were picked up another 656 Sqn Scout piloted by Capt. J G Greenhalgh later that day. The aircraft was eventually recovered and airlifted to Fitzroy by Sea King on 11th June, but was subsequently written off on its return to the UK. Following research at the National Archive, Kew, it has been determined that XR628 was the same aircraft that was shot down, 26th May 1964, carrying 3 Para CO Lt. Col. Farrar-Hockley.

Scouts armed with SS11 anti-tank missiles were used to great effect during the Falklands campaign. On 14th June 1982 an Argentine 105 mm Pack Howitzer battery dug in to the West of Stanley Racecourse was firing at the Scots Guards as they approached Mount Tumbledown. As the guns were out of range of the Milan ATGWs of nearby 2 Para, their 2IC, Major Chris Keeble, contacted Capt. J G Greenhalgh of 656 Sqn AAC on the radio and requested a HELARM using SS11 missiles to attack on them. As he was engaged in ammunition re-supply, his Scout was not fitted with missile booms. This was in order to reduce weight and increase the aircraft lift capability. Capt. Greenhalgh then returned to Estancia House, where his aircraft was refuelled, fitted out, and armed with four missiles in 20 minutes with the rotors still turning. An ‘O’ group was then held with the crews of two Scouts of 3 CBAS and Capt. Greenhalgh took off on a reconnaissance mission, while the other aircraft were fitted out and readied. Within 20 minutes he had located the target and carried out a detailed recce of the area. He fired two missiles at the enemy positions and then returned to a pre-arranged RV to meet up and guide in the other two Scouts. The three aircraft, positioned 100 metres apart, then fired a total of ten missiles (nine missiles hit, one failed) from the ridge overlooking the Argentine positions 3000m away and succeeded in hitting the howitzers, nearby bunkers, an ammunition dump and the command post. The Argentine troops returned mortar fire, a round landing directly in front of Capt. Greenhalgh’s Scout.

Army Air Corps Westland Scout AH1 XP905 (armed with four Nord SS11's) as seen at Middle Wallop on 11th July 1986 (Photo: Robin Walker)

Army Scout at Bessbrook Mill, County Armagh

The Avimo-Ferranti AF120 gun sight for the Scout

Internal 'periscope' arrangement for the AF120

Casualties being transferred to a Westland Scout during the Falklands War in 1982

Army Scout AH1 XP900

* * *

Regarding Gazzer1uk's specific question whether the same Scouts which flew in Northern Ireland also flew in the Falklands .. what I can say is that 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron, to the best of my knowledge, operated in both places although whether they used the same Scouts I am not certain. Perhaps someone will have a little more operational information.
Savoia is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2013, 18:29
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Many thanks!

Hi Savoia,

Thank you so much for the trouble taken here, it is not only fascinating but insightful too and describes a varied deployment that was not all as successful as could be, yet in other areas a true workhorse of the sky meeting the demands of the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the potted history. Incidentally it went into service one year before I was born!

I believe there are still several flying and hope to catch up with at least one in the UK at some near future date.

Again, many thanks for your help and interest,


Gazzer1uk is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2013, 19:44
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The Scout was, by all accounts, somewhat underpowered (as were many helicopters from that era) and sometimes awkward when it came to maintenance. But, for 25 years she put in a good innings with both the Army and Navy and in the process earned a nickname (within the Army at least) as the 'Flying Land-Rover'.

Its also worth remembering that the Scout is one of the few entirely British built and designed helicopters to have served in the British Army.

For some time after their retirement, there were no flying examples of either Wasps or Scouts in the UK but, that has now changed, although I do not know how many airworthy examples remain.

There is more 'Wasp & Scout' information on the Nostalgia Thread (mainly images but a couple of stories too) and which can be found on the following pages: 5 28 61 62 63 64 75 78 86 88 105 103 108

FYI: The French Nord missile used on the Scout, the SS11, was first used on the Alouette II, and later the Alouette III, and for development testing with the US Army on the UH-1B.
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Old 6th Sep 2013, 20:16
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Off topic I know.

Very good report on the incident in the Falklands involving XR628.
The reason for it ditching was infact due to a tail rotor coupling failure not a main gearbox input drive.

Having braved the freezing water, 2 of us entered the water to remove the four blades and get the aircraft ready for lifting, which did not happen for another 6 hours.

It was only after XT649 suffered engine FOD damage that we were able to get 628 lifted out of the water and moved to Fitzroy where the damage 649 was having its engine removed. Overnight we switched the engines over and completed ground runs by 08:15 the following morning.

The picture below shows me in the freezing water having removed the blades, which are probably still on the bank of the Pond. The damaged tail drive shaft cover can be seen clearly just forward of the Rotary Transformer.

To think that this happened 31 years ago.

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Old 6th Sep 2013, 20:45
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Good to see Helimarshaller freezing his b#lls off down under!

An original crate mounted Heli Tele is in the Helicopter Museum.It only just fitted in the rear door of the Scout and took up half the cabin space so Im not sure where the four troops referred to earlier by Savoia sat?
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Old 6th Sep 2013, 21:19
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Originally Posted by heli1 View Post
An original crate mounted Heli Tele is in the Helicopter Museum.It only just fitted in the rear door of the Scout and took up half the cabin space so Im not sure where the four troops referred to earlier by Savoia sat?

The advances in modern camera technology: to think this was the duck's guts in its day!
John Eacott is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2013, 23:01
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There is a book published on the history of Army Aviation in Ulster that I have on my bookshelf. It doesn't have a complete list of all Scout airframes used in the North but the Scouts mentioned in the book include;


There is probably a list of all Falkland Scouts around somewhere so maybe some of these helicopters served in the North and the South! Good luck with the model.

500 Fan
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Old 6th Sep 2013, 23:16
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How about a version with the flotation gear, the winches or even the casualty pods we had fitted/available in HK & Brunei. Working role kit would be an impressive challenge!

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Old 7th Sep 2013, 03:18
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I have some Marconi images of the Heli-Tele TI aircraft...... the black and white ones are the 'final' version with the left seat reversed but the earlier colour ones had the seat facing forward with a rather complex control arm.




and the older one....

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Old 7th Sep 2013, 07:18
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mate, check pm
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Old 7th Sep 2013, 08:30
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Helimarshaller: Very much on topic and thank you for the correct details as well as the photographic record! Never seen someone looking quite to pleased to be out of the damp!

Heli1: Was referring to the Eagle Patrols which would sometimes utilise a three-aircraft flight, one being the Heli-Tele ship with observer and the other two carrying four soldierss apiece.

PAN: Great shots of the Heli-Tele!

Soldiers dismount from a Westland Scout during an Eagle Patrol along the Irish border on 16th March 1977

Eagle Patrol extraction by a Westland Scout after operating a vehicle check-point (VCP) in the border region of County Fermanagh on 26th October 1976

No mucking about with lengthy recces and the like, Eagle Patrols would evidently set-up impromptu VCP's as they felt necessary to support security, the entire operation being air-supported. Patrol aircraft would land wherever required.

How about a version with the flotation gear, the winches or even the casualty pods we had fitted/available in HK.

XT614 fitted with floats over Hong Kong

XT639 on exercise (not Hong Kong) but displaying the external stretcher panniers

Army Air Corps Westland Scout AH1 XP901 of 660 Squadron in Hong Kong in December 1981 (Photo: Sid Nanson)

Could someone be so kind as to explain what the 'roll-bar' device is which appears on many of the Hong Kong Scouts, just aft of the for'ard doors and looping over the canopy?

500Fan: Well done on the NI aircraft registrations.

Gazzer1uk: As 500Fan states, if you can identify some of the Falklands aircraft then you will be able to verify whether some of the same aircraft flew in both environments. AFAIK and, as mentioned above, 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron (you know, those Marine types) were the first to be over the Falklands skies in the Scout (with six aircraft). They were joined by three aircraft from 656 Squadron Army Air Corps who added an additional three aircraft when the 5th Infantry Brigade turned-up. So, there should have been at least twelve Scouts in the Falklands.
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Old 7th Sep 2013, 08:37
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Originally Posted by Savoia View Post
Could someone be so kind as to explain what the 'roll-bar' device is which appears on many of the Hong Kong Scouts, just aft of the for'ard doors and looping over the canopy?

The fwd mounting frame for the floats: same on the Wasp.

and with the 600lb bomb

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Old 7th Sep 2013, 08:48
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Ah, yes .. makes sense. Thank you Sir!

Just so happens that the last Wasp I saw 'in the flesh' so to speak, was an RNZN aircraft. She departed an RNZN frigate which had come into Rabaul harbour (Papaua New Guinea) to hold peace talks between the PNG government and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army.
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Old 7th Sep 2013, 16:30
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Really grateful for the help and pictures, please keep it coming. Interesting if it may be possible to make the model multi role and fit it accordingly...... Though a couple of models may be easier, just a matter of building it and then persuading the wife to let me play! A friend of mine is a CAD designer and has some of his own CNC cutting tools and has shown interest in the project which could be incredibly valuable.

I sincerely appreciate the help, pictures, knowledge and thoughts, thanks agin,

Gazzer1uk is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2013, 19:45
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Those used in the Falklands where;
The Claw is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2013, 20:54
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There's an ex-ETPS scout in a hangar in NZ, and it's evidently flown from time to time...
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Old 7th Sep 2013, 23:51
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and with the 600lb bomb
Surely you mean the 600lb 'store'. At least, that's what it says in my checklist, along with "I can neither confirm nor deny...."
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 02:17
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Anyone know the reason for the different tailplane location on Scout/Wasp?
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 03:15
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Originally Posted by rotarywise View Post
Surely you mean the 600lb 'store'. At least, that's what it says in my checklist, along with "I can neither confirm nor deny...."
The Sea King HAS1 FRC was for "Bomb, Aircraft HE 600lb MC", we all call it the 600lb bomb.

Last line of the checklist:

On landing

8.21 P Hand both SEF keys and combination tool(s) to weapon custodian
It still strikes me as surreal to chuck away a bucket of instant sunshine and after landing, return the keys
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