Westland Wessex HC.2 – H ‘Heart’, 72 Sqn RAF Aldergrove (35 Years Service)
1 in stock
1 in stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA37610: Corgi Aviation Archive Westland Wessex HC.2, XV721/H ‘Heart’, RAF No.72 Squadron, ‘Westland Wessex HC.2 35 Years of Active Service’, 1964 – 1999, RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland.
Length 11 inches Rotor Span 9.25 inches
This particular RAF Wessex HC.2 (XV721/H) entered service with No.72 Squadron in 1968 and appears to have spent its entire service career with the same unit. A regular static exhibit at Airshows around the UK between 1999 and 2001, the aircraft features a specially marked door to commemorate No.72 Squadron’s long association with the Wessex HC.2 – ‘35 years of active service’. The Wessex helicopters of No.72 Squadron also hold two further impressive records from their distinguished service career. Serving with the security forces in Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner, the Wessex holds the record for the longest operational deployment of any RAF Squadron, from 1969 until 2002. Also, at one time, No.72 Squadron was the largest in the RAF, with no fewer than 25 Wessex, 4 Puma and 2 Chinook helicopters on strength. On its retirement from RAF Service, Westland Wessex HC.2 XV721 was sold to the National Navy of Uruguay.
The Westland Wessex was a British-built turbine-powered development of the Sikorsky H-34, it was developed and produced under license by Westland Aircraft (later Westland Helicopters). One of the main changes from Sikorsky’s H-34 was the replacement of the piston-engine powerplant with a turboshaft engine; the Wessex was the first large mass-produced helicopter designed around use of a gas turbine engine. Early models were powered by a single Napier Gazelle engine, later builds used a pair of de Havilland Gnome engines.
The Wessex was initially produced for the Royal Navy (RN) and later for the Royal Air Force (RAF); a limited number of civilian aircraft were also produced, as well as some export sales. The Wessex operated as an anti-submarine warfare and utility helicopter; it is perhaps best recognised for its use as a search and rescue (SAR) helicopter. The type entered operational service in 1961, and had a service life in excess of 40 years before being retired in Britain.