Pakistan Navy has inducted the 10 WS-61 Sea King medium-lift transport and utility helicopters gifted by Qatar into the Pakistan Naval Air Arm’s No. 111 Squadron. The Governments of Pakistan and Qatar have completed a military sale of the entire combat fleet of Westland WS-61 Sea King helicopters of the Qatar Emiri Air Force to the Pakistan Navy. The deal comprises a total of 10 helicopters. Deliveries of the fleet started in July 2021, and include 5 Mk. 3A Anti Submarine/Anti Surface Warfare variants (able to carry two Exocet anti-ship missiles) and 5 Mk. 2 Commando (troop carrier/utility) helicopters.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan Navy was already using a combat fleet of Westland WS-61 Sea King Helicopters and now with the addition of this fleet, the total strength of Sea King Helicopters of the Pakistan Navy goes to 20. Moreover, the addition of these helicopters will also help to boost Pakistan Navy peace efforts in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean Region, and the International Maritime Community. The Pakistan Naval Air Arm 111 ASW Squadron, which consists of the Sea King, is primarily programmed for missile launch capability targeting dived submarines and releasing depth charges.
The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British license-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. The aircraft differs considerably from the American version, with Rolls-Royce Gnome engines (derived from the US General Electric T58), British-made anti-submarine warfare systems, and a fully computerized flight control system. The Sea King was primarily designed for performing anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions. A Sea King variant known as the Commando was devised by Westland to serve as a troop transport. Westland has produced a total of 330 Sea Kings.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force also operates Westland’s Commando variant, as a standard utility transport for ground forces, a single one was also equipped specially to perform VIP transport duties. A few Qatari Sea Kings serve in an anti-shipping capacity and have been outfitted to carry, and deploy if required, two Exocet anti-ship missiles. Pakistan’s Navy took delivery of six Mk.45 Sea Kings, a variant based on the Royal Navy’s Sea King HAS.1 from 1975. One of Pakistan’s Sea Kings was lost in an accident in February 1986 and was replaced by an ex-Royal Navy HAS.5, redesignated Mk.45C, in January 1989.