Westland Wessex


Single engine military anti-submarine detection/transport helicopter

History of N7-224

This is one of 27 Wessex helicopters built for the Royal Australian Navy. It first flew in August 1963 and served on HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Stalwart. In its long career it was used on a variety of missions both at sea and at Nowra, NSW, and still carries its Pennant No. 834. It became an instructional airframe in 1987 before going on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Nowra. The Museum acquired the aircraft in October 1998.

N7-224 Wessex SAAM 26-9-12 N K Daw (62)            DWP_7583_DxO

History of Type

The Wessex was built in England by Westland Aircraft Ltd under licence from Sikorsky Helicopters of the USA. 384 Wessex were built, including 43 HAS3 types modified from the original HAS1. The first production aircraft flew on 20 June 1958 and entered front-line service from July 1961.

Australia’s Wessex were also used on HMAS Sydney when it was a troop carrier with 725 SQN on anti-submarine patrols on trips to Vietnam. In 1969 817 SQN received modified Wessex 31Bs fitted with AQS Sonar systems for underwater detection and refitted with the more powerful Napier Gazelle engine. RAN Wessex were fully withdrawn in 1976 upon replacement by Westland Sea Kings.


N7-224 on board HMAS Melbourne in 1974.


Technical Specifications

Engine: 1,600 SHP (1193 kw) Napier Gazelle Mk165 free power turbine

Maximum take-off weight: 6,169 kg

Rotor diameter: 17.07 m

Length: 15.3 m

Height: 4.35 m

Cruising speed: 120 kts (222 kph)

Range: 517 km (280 nm)

Capacity: 2 pilots and 10 persons