1960 Kaman HU2K-1 ASW helicopter program for the Royal Canadian Navy?

Pioneer

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G'day all

I'm looking for further information on the 1960 Kaman HU2K-1 ASW helicopter program for the Royal Canadian Navy.

"The Treasury Board of the Canadian government gave its approval for the initial procurement of 12 rotorcraft from Kaman at a price of $14.5 million. However, the Canadian purchase was disrupted by multiple factors, including Kaman's decision to abruptly raise the estimated price of the initial batch to $23 million; as the same time, there were concerns amongst officials that the manufacturer's projections of both the weight and performance criteria has been overly optimistic. In response, the Canadian Naval Board decided to hold off on issuing its approval to proceed with the HU2K purchase until after the US Navy had conducted sea trials with the type. During these sea trials, it was revealed that the HU2K was indeed overweight and underpowered; in light of this inferior performance, the HU2K was deemed to be incapable of meeting the Canadian requirements. Accordingly, during late 1961, the competing Sikorsky Sea King was selected to fulfil the intended role instead."

(Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaman_SH-2_Seasprite)

This design/program is relative new to my knowledge, and I'm curious as to what ASW systems was supposed to have been incorporated into the Canadian HU2K?
One can not but wonder how successful/popular this relatively light and compact 'Canadian Kaman HU2K' might have been with other NATO navies - including potentially the USN, had the program gone ahead. Don't get me wrong, I'm the first to praise the iconic Sikorsky Sea King, but let's be honest, the Sea King was a large and heavy design, and needed a substantial helipad and hanger facilities aboard a ship........

I wonder if anyone is aware whether there was a mockup or prototype?
Anyone got any drawings/artist impressions?

[Please note, this 'Canadian HU2K ASW program' wasn't the later Kaman SH-2D Seasprite LAMPS design!]

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Pioneer

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Thanks for your reply TsrJoe.
Although the first USN ASW derivative of the Kaman HU2K - the 'SH-2D', didnt entered service umtil 1972, so what's that around twelve years later.
Granted Kaman would undoubtedly benefitted greatly from the experience and knowledge of the Canadian Navy program.....


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Pioneer
 

TomS

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The version the RCN was considering would have been single-engined, so it's not shocking that it was underpowered when loaded down with ASW gear. Even for the original utility and SAR role, the twin-engine UH-2C was much better, and that second engine was also the key change that made the ASW version possible.
 

hesham

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My dear Pioneer,

it needs a good search,I will look at JAWAs.
 

Pioneer

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The version the RCN was considering would have been single-engined, so it's not shocking that it was underpowered when loaded down with ASW gear. Even for the original utility and SAR role, the twin-engine UH-2C was much better, and that second engine was also the key change that made the ASW version possible.

I hear what you are saying, and I agree wholeheartedly TomS!
But still would be interesting to know what ASW gear the RCN stipulated, regardless.

Regards
Pioneer
 

Hood

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I suspect the Canadians would have wanted a dipping sonar if they had been planning to use the HU2K for the anti-submarine role. The HU2K was at that stage a utility rather than ASW type, but certainly if there were doubts about performance in its standard role, then its no wonder the Canadians would have been wary of loading it up with a sonar system.
Possibly the AQS-10 or the British Type 194B would be the likely choices for 1960.
 

TomS

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I've done some poking around and it appears that the sticking point was trying to get an aircraft that could carry both sensors (probably a dipping sonar) and armament. There is a Canadian Defense history of Sea King that was done for the Type's 50th Anniversary has a couple of articles that touch on Seasprite and other alternatives that were considered. It's got several articles that touch on the Seasprite interlude:


“We Came To Mow Your Lawn”: How and Why Canada Acquired the Sikorsky Sea King Helicopter John L. Orr

Initial 1958 proposal was for the HSS-1N, an improved S-58 with night dipping sonar capability. But then there was a push for standardization and the S-58 was dropped. The RCAF's Vertol 107 was too big, so they again looked at new types, which is where HU2K came in, with the Sikorsky S-63-2 and later the S-65 also considered. (I might start a new thread to explore the Sikorsky S-63-2 and S-65, which don't seem to be discussed elsewhere on the site.)
 

Pioneer

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I've done some poking around and it appears that the sticking point was trying to get an aircraft that could carry both sensors (probably a dipping sonar) and armament. There is a Canadian Defense history of Sea King that was done for the Type's 50th Anniversary has a couple of articles that touch on Seasprite and other alternatives that were considered. It's got several articles that touch on the Seasprite interlude:


“We Came To Mow Your Lawn”: How and Why Canada Acquired the Sikorsky Sea King Helicopter John L. Orr

Initial 1958 proposal was for the HSS-1N, an improved S-58 with night dipping sonar capability. But then there was a push for standardization and the S-58 was dropped. The RCAF's Vertol 107 was too big, so they again looked at new types, which is where HU2K came in, with the Sikorsky S-63-2 and later the S-65 also considered. (I might start a new thread to explore the Sikorsky S-63-2 and S-65, which don't seem to be discussed elsewhere on the site.)
Thank you TomS, what an interesting and informative work, not just in relation to the information pertaining to the Kaman HU2K, but also to the fact about Canada's role in developing, testing and deploying of 'Escort-based' (frigate/destroyer) ASW helicopter combination, which I have to admit, I was completely ignorant about.

Again, very much appreciated.

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Hood

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That official history is indeed very interesting, especially comparing it to the British developments in the same period.

Two interesting things jumped out at me, from a British perspective; no mention of the Bristol Type 192, the Piasecki H-21 obviously being their favoured tandem-rotor choice even before the Bristol 191 for the RN was cancelled; and the other is that they considered the Bristol 203 alongside the Saro P.531 et al. I always thought the Bristol 203 was a transport type and I found no evidence of it being considered for RN use around that time.
Another interesting thing was no mention of the shipboard RCN trials around 1955-56 using a Hiller helicopter. I'm starting to think the info I had on that was duff gen and that it was a confusion for the Bell HTL-4.

The article makes the point that Kaman was not intending an ASW Seasprite at that point, but I don't think we can draw many conclusions from that. Like the RN, the RCN evaluated a lengthy list of non-ASW helicopters. There seems to have been a consensus that what mattered was choosing the right helicopter and then adapting it for the role accordingly. The manufacturers probably made some kind of conversion proposal. At least in the Sea King they knew they were getting a purpose-built proven platform.
 

fortrena

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The only Canadian helicopter production program of the 1960s worthy of mention involved the assembly of most of the Sikorsky CHSS-2 / CH-124 Sea Kings of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) from 1963 onward. United Aircraft of Canada Limited (UACL), a subsidiary of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft division of United Aircraft Corporation, carried out this work in its workshops in Longueuil, Quebec, then, from 1966, in a factory designed for this purpose, in Saint- Hubert, Quebec.

This program had its origins in a directive from the Chiefs of Staff Committee, issued in December 1958, which asked the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the RCN to order, as much as possible, two types of medium / heavy helicopters. As the helicopter chosen by the Canadian Army and RCAF, the Vertol Model 107, could not be based on its escort destroyers, the RCN decided to go it alone. It ordered an upcoming anti-submarine version of the American Kaman HU2K Seasprite single-engine utility helicopter then in development for the United States Navy (USN). A first contract was to include 12 of the 40 helicopters that the RCN wished to order.

Even before the end of 1960, however, the high cost and excessive weight of the anti-submarine version of the Seasprite led to a re-evaluation of the project. The RCN wasted no time in concluding that the Sikorsky HSS-2 Sea King, an anti-submarine helicopter then being developed for the USN, was much better suited to its needs. It was, however, a large twin-engine helicopter. Regardless, the RCN decided to order the Sea King around December 1961, which led it to modify the plans for the hangar to be installed on several of its escort destroyers.

One or more people within the Department of Defence Production suggested that the Sea King be assembled, or even produced in Canada. This modern and powerful helicopter could indeed appeal to civilian users. The Department of National Defence announced a first order for 8 Sea King, including 4 assembled in Canada, in November 1962. Other contracts were added as the months went by. However, no civilian user signed contracts with UACL during the 1960s.

It is worth noting that the company made serious efforts to sell Sea Kings to the Marinefliegerkommando of the Bundesmarine, the air command of the West German navy. Westland Aircraft Limited, a British company which manufactured this type of helicopter under license, won the contract in 1969.
 
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