A veteran Sea King helicopter has been installed as a ‘gate guardian’ at RNAS Yeovilton, according to a press release.

The Sea King ZF118, callsign ‘Victor Oscar VO’, served the Commando Helicopter Force for nearly 30 years.

Positioned in front of Yeovilton’s headquarters building, the helicopter stands with its rotors spread, ready for display.

This installation commemorates the aircraft’s role in the Royal Navy from 1969 until the last variant retired in 2018.

The commando variant of the Sea King, introduced in 1979, participated in operations and conflicts involving the Royal Marines until 2016, including the Falklands, two Gulf wars, the Balkan conflicts, and Afghanistan. It was succeeded by the Merlin Mk4.

The initiative to create a permanent tribute was led by Commander Richard Bartram, Commanding Officer of 846 Naval Air Squadron, along with Warrant Officer 1 Al Wilson and Warrant Officer 2 Tim Othen. They located a decommissioned Sea King being used for Royal Navy medical training and, with the support of Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil and volunteers, spent two years refurbishing the aircraft.

Brigadier Del Stafford, former Commanding Officer of the Commando Helicopter Force and current senior officer, formally dedicated the refurbished helicopter. During the unveiling ceremony, he removed a White Ensign from a memorial plaque.

The chosen aircraft, delivered to Yeovilton by Lieutenant Steve Cheyne in 1986, saw service in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. Its final flight occurred in April 2015, piloted by Lieutenant David Houghton, after nearly 10,500 hours of operational flight time.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_820131)
9 days ago

10,500 hours flight time. I bet it’s done and seen somethings.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_820137)
8 days ago

Slightly related, wasn’t the UK donating up to three Sea Kings to Ukraine? Not sure what type. Any update on these?

Aaron L
Aaron L (@guest_820159)
8 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

They’re already out there, they were sent last year.

Cousin Avi
Cousin Avi (@guest_820160)
8 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Theyve been using the Sea Kings in Ukraine for a while now. I’m guessing that this airframe wasn’t in a serviceable enough state to donate