Royal Navy Air Sea Rescue Badge

I am slowly building up a little collection of 1970s and 1980s pin badges relating to the Royal Navy. My latest find is this one for the Air Sea Rescue role:imageThe helicopter in the centre is a stylised version of a Wessex:wessex2The Wessex had replaced the Whirlwind in the Air Sea Rescue role in 1964 for the Royal Navy (the RAF continued using Whirlwinds until the mid 1970s). The Wessex had many advantages over its predecessor. In many ways it was a like a large Whirlwind in that it had a large main cabin suitable for casualty handling with a cockpit separated from and above it. However, it was a much more robust aircraft with a heavy-duty, tail wheel, tricycle undercarriage. It had two powerful Gnome engines with a very good single engine capability. It was significantly faster, it had a much greater lift capacity and an enhanced radius of action. Its only perceived disadvantage was that being heavier it needed to be hovered higher over the sea and was not quite as manoeuvrable as the Whirlwind. Conversely it had a good Auto-Stabilisation Equipment system which made it a stable winching platform and improved its ability for transit in cloud. Its ability to operate in poor visibility and at night was improved by fitting a radar altimeter; however, without a full Auto Pilot system, it was still not designed to be operated over the sea at night. The helicopters were painted yellow for visibility and were used in the Air Sea Rescue role for many decades, being supplemented and then replaced by the more powerful Sea King.


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