Three of the seven former UK military Sea King helicopters recently acquired by the Pakistan Navy (PN) are expected to be flying again in early September. The platforms, which were officially handed over on 24 May, are currently being refurbished by the UK-based Vector Aerospace Corporation.
The three platforms include a Royal Air Force Westland (now Leonardo Helicopters) Sea King HAR3A and two Royal Marine HC4 ‘Junglies’.
Vector Aerospace Corporation’s Steve Tamblyn, who is the Sea King project manager, told IHS Jane’s 360: “The first helicopter will make its first flight in mid-August, followed by the second one five days later, and the third one five days after that. The five-day process will allow the Sea Kings to go through the necessary ground tests to ensure everything is okay for the flight testing.”
“The helicopters will be flown by our own test pilots before a PN Sea King pilot comes here to carry out a check flight before being accepted,” added Tamblyn.
The PN acquired the seven Sea Kings under an intergovernmental contract signed in 2016 that envisages four of the aircraft being used for spares. Two HC4s have already been completely stripped of parts that have been meticulously labelled and placed in storage racks for the PN.
“It took us three weeks to completely gut the aircraft so they can be used to support the three airworthy platforms. We will then either crush the airframes or find a new home for them,” said Tamblyn.