Spain's venerable Sea King fleet bows out of service

The venerable Sea King has finally retired from Spanish Navy duties. Marnix Sap examines the impact of the iconic helicopter that served for 56 years

On June 27 this year, the Flotilla de Aeronaves (FLOAN; Spanish Navy Aviation) and its Quinta Escuadrilla (Fifth Squadron) bid farewell to the venerable Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King after 56 years of service. The two very last Morsas (Walrus), as the navy nicknames them, made their final flypast in front of a gathering of dignitaries and personnel to shut down their engines at Rota Naval Station, Cádiz. On July 1, the type was taken out of service permanently.

It has not only stood the test of time, but the Sea King’s key capabilities remain bespoke to the Spanish Navy while it bridged the gap to the latest acquisition, the Sikorsky SH-60F Foxtrot – itself filling the gap until the Spanish navalised version of the NH-90 finally arrives.

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