Sea Kings ship out on final journey

THE navy’s Sea King helicopters have made an impressive farewell to the Shoalhaven.

Making a spectacular sight, the five aircraft and a spare airframe were transported in convoy on the back of semi-trailers to Port Kembla on Monday and Tuesday morning.

Wrapped in white protective heat-shrink plastic by local company Integra Packaging, the aircraft dwarfed cars on the road.

The helicopters turned plenty of heads as they left HMAS Albatross and travelled over Nowra Hill and down BTU Road to the Princes Highway, before heading north.

The Sea Kings, which were withdrawn from service in December 2011, have been purchased by British company Aerospace Logistics (ASL) and are being shipped to the UK where they will be broken up for spares.

Three of the aircraft were transported Monday morning, with the final two and the spare airframe making the journey on Tuesday.

ASL is transporting the aircraft to the UK by ship.

The navy purchased a dozen Sea Kings in the 1970s and later obtained additional airframes to replace originals lost in crashes, with the aircraft withdrawn from service after 36 years and more than 60,000 flying hours.

Sea King Shark 07, the helicopter with the most operational history, having served in the Middle East and East Timor, has been placed on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Nowra.

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