Sikorsky HO3-S Helicopter
The photograph depicts this US Navy HO3-S helicopter on loan to HMAS Sydney during the Korean War. They were the US Navy version of the civilian Sikorsky S-51 (the USN never used the ‘Dragonfly’ name). It was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jnr 9-cylinder 450HP power plant.
The ‘Dragonfly’ was the Royal Navy version, which was also a derivative of the Sikorski S-51 made under licence by the Westland Aircraft company in the UK. It was officially known as the Westland-Sikorsky WS-51 Dragonfly and it was powered by one 550HP Alvis Leonides 50 engine.
When HMAS Sydney was in Japan during the Korean War, RN Dragonfly helicopters from RN ships visited HMAS Sydney on several occasions. They were not, however, assigned to the ship like the USN Sikorsky HO3S’s which were on loan with their crews on several occasions, and used for rescue work.
The loaned Sikorsky HO3-S helicopters were the RAN’s introduction to rotary wing aviation.
Manufacturer: Sikorsky Helicopters, USA
Type: Air-sea rescue and communications helicopter
Delivered (on loan): 1951
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jnr
Speed: 95 mph
Range: 300 miles