The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King with its many progeny and variants ranks as one of aviation history’s most successful and numerous naval helicopters. Originally designated HSS-2, the aircraft was the first antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter to effectively combine search/location and attack capabilities in a single airframe.
The Sea King was developed as a successor the firm’s widely flown S-58 series, with more than 2,300 produced in the United States and England for military and civilian use. In U.S. service this helicopter flew as the H-34 Choctaw, HSS-1 Seabat, and HUS Seahorse.1 Although the Sea King was radically different in design, power plant, and capabilities from the S-58, it was initially designated HSS-2, i.e., the first ASW helicopter (HS) built by Sikorsky (S), the second model. In the 1962 redesignation action, the HSS-1 became the SH-34 and the Sea King the SH-3, the third helicopter in a new designation series.