Westland Whirlwind (rotary wing)The Westland Whirlwind helicopter was a British-built version of the US Sikorsky S-55. It primarily served with the Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm) in anti-submarine and search-and rescue roles.
The first prototype British Whirlwind HAR 1 flew in August 1953, with the 600hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340-40, and it entered service shortly afterwards. They served in non-combat roles, including search and rescue and communications functions. The HAR 3 had a larger 700hp Wright Cyclone R-1300-3 engine. It was not until 1955 that the HAR 5 flew for the first time with a British power plant, the Alvis Leonides Major.
The HAS7 become the first British helicopter designed for anti-submarine work in the front-line when it enetered service in 1956. It was equipped with radar and dipping ASDIC for submarine detection and designed to be equipped with a torpedo, but could not carry both simultaneously. In this version the engine was a 750hp Alvis Leonides Major 755/1. This helicopter had a hovering ceiling at 9,400ft and a range of 334 miles at 86mph. Its top speed of 109.5mph could be achieved at sea level. In length the helicopter was 41ft 8.5in, height 15ft 4.5in and with a rotor diameter of 53ft.
Later in their lives, some HAR9s were converted to use the Rolls-Royce Gnome turbine engine.
From its start with the Navy, the Whirlwind came to be used by the British Army and RAF. More than 400 Whirlwinds were built, of which nearly 100 were exported to the following countries: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Ghana, Jordan, Iran, Kuwait, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Yugoslavia.