Posted on December 18, 2018
An RAF Chinook airlifted the retired Sea King and flew it as an underslung load to the Sea Mounting Centre at Marchwood in Hampshire today, after which it will be shipped to Bardufoss, Norway. The Mk 4 Sea King had its engines stripped out and specialists loaded it with ballast before transporting it 30 miles from RAF Odiham to Marchwood Military Port. Master Aircrew, Carl Fielder whose part of the mobile air operations team said: “Quite simply they just got sandbags, things like that, put them in the place of where the engines would normally be. Then it’s a case of trial and error and a balancing act to make sure they can mimic the weight and balance of the aircraft would usually have – so it gets the correct flying characteristics.”
The aircraft is a gift to celebrate the 50th anniversary next year of Exercise Clockwork. For half a century personnel from the British Armed Forces have travelled to Norway to take part in a cold weather survival course in the middle of the Arctic winter. She will then become a gate guardian at Bardufoss, which is located in northern Norway, over 1,500 kilometres from the capital, Oslo. Temperatures during the winter can plunge to -25 degrees centigrade.
Lieutenant Pej Nikoufekr, said whilst it was “a shame to see them go” it was time to “move forward”. “We must move forward and the Merlins have now taken that role up – which is an extremely capable aircraft. But it is a shame to see them go, we’ve worked with them for a long time.”
The aircraft will continue the last slug of her journey in February when she will be transported by ferry to her final destination in Norway.