Westland Seaking Mk.48
Twin engine rescue helicopter
To replace the successful Sikorsky HSS1/S58 in the Air-Sea Rescue role, the Belgian government ordered five Westland Seaking Mk.48 helicopters in April 1975. In a first stage, all aircraft were used for training Belgian aircrews at RNAS Culdrose before being delivered to Koksijde in November 1976. All aircraft have since undergone several updates including replacement of the radar by a vastly more capable version and the installation of a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera. The most remarkable intervention of the Seakings took place after the disaster with the "Herald of Free Enterprise" off the coast at Zeebrugge on March 6th, 1987. Three Seakings of N° 40 Squadron were able to rescue 30 passengers from a certain death. After more than 30 years of service the Seaking has been replaced by the NH Industries NH90 helicopter NFH.