SH-2 Seasprite

Originally designated HU2K-1 and named Seasprite, this exceptional helicopter was at first powered by a single turbine engine mounted close under the rotor hub and was able to carry a wide range of loads, including nine passengers, in its unobstructed central cabin, with two crewmen in the nose. About 190 were delivered and all were later converted to have twin 1,350 hp General Electric T58-8f engines in nacelles on each side. The prototype Seasprite (XHU2K-1) made its maiden flight on the 2nd July 1959 with service deliveries commencing in December 1962 with final delivery of new machines being made in 1972 (conversions completed in 1975).

Service Seasprites were equipped to undertake a variety of naval roles. Some, designated HH2C were fitted with armor and various armaments including chin Minigun turret and waist mounted machine-guns. Others (HH-2D) were unarmed.. At least one machine was used to trial missile firing tests in the missile-defense role. From 1970 all US Navy Seasprites were converted to serve in the LAMBS (light airborne multi-purpose system) role for anti-submarine and missile defense.

The SH-2D (later upgraded to SH-2F specifications) version had more than two tons of special equipment including powerful chin radar, sonobouys, MAD gear, ECM, new navigation and communications systems and could be armed with Mk.44 and/or Mk.46 torpedoes.

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