The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced plans to return two of the British Royal Navy's Sea King Mk5 aircraft to service.
The two helicopters will be re-deployed to conduct search and rescue operations for the Royal Navy. The Sea King Mk5 helicopters were previously used by 771 Naval Air Squadron in several rescue missions in Cornwall, UK.
Both aircraft are to be leased to HeliOperations UK to enable German Navy aircrew to undergo search and rescue training programmes.
The aircraft were originally retired from service with the British Royal Navy in April last year.
The retired Sea King Mk5 helicopters will be retained as British military aircraft, but will be operated from HeliOperation’s training base in Portland, Dorset, until September 2018.
Both helicopters are currently undergoing mandatory maintenance and servicing works at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose, and will be reintroduced into service following ground runs.
The first aircraft is slated to begin flight testing soon.
The operations scheduled to be conducted by the two Sea King helicopters over the next 14 months will not form any part of the UK Search and Rescue organisation, which remains the responsibility of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Image: The British Royal Navy’s Sea King Mk5 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.