PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- The H-3 Sea King helicopter community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the aircraft's historic first flight March 11.
The Sea King is a twin-engine, all-weather, amphibious helicopter used for numerous roles that include anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, search and rescue, transport, communications, airborne early warning and executive transport.
"The Sea King was the Jack of all trades and master of all," said Capt. James Wallace, Support and Commercial Derivative Aircraft (PMA-207) program manager. "It's saved thousands of lives, protected fleets of ships, recovered astronauts and has flown the President of the United States from 1961 to today."
The Sea King was built in four countries, the United States, England, Italy and Japan and is operated by more than 20 countries around the world. More than 1,500 military and commercial versions have been built worldwide.
Currently, there are three Sea Kings still in the Navy inventory, all based here for search and rescue missions.
"Once the Sea King is finally retired from U.S. Navy service, it will still continue to serve for years to come," said Wallace. "We've received many queries from countries wanting to buy our retired Sea Kings for their own fleets."
PMA-207 continues to support many active H-3 Sea King foreign military sales customers around the world.
For more news from Naval Air Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navair/.