Germany to send military helicopters to Ukraine. "First delivery of this type"
The German Defense Ministry asserts that the Sea King is a proven and reliable model, intended to assist the Ukrainians in various operations, such as reconnaissance over the Black Sea and soldier transport. German officials have noted that this is the country's first delivery of this type to Ukraine.
The proposed shipment comprises precisely six units of the Sea King Mk41 model along with essential spare parts required for continuous maintenance. This aspect is of fundamental importance, considering the persistent challenges Ukraine has faced sourcing parts for its fleet, including the Leopard 2s.
Julian Röpcke, a journalist for "Bild", takes a critical view of Germany's contribution. For example, in the comments made on platform X, Röpcke says: "for a country at war with few pilots and a hostile environment, this is simply life threatening for Ukr. soldiers".
Germany Provides Sea King Mk41 Helicopters to Ukraine
The Mk41 variant is a search and rescue model of the Sea King, specifically designed for the German navy. Distinguished from the base model by an extended cabin, these helicopters were ordered by the German navy in the last century and manufactured by Westland Helicopters in the UK. They were delivered to Germany by 1974, making them 50-year-old machines today.
The Military Portal reports that the German Sea Kings underwent upgrades between 1986-1988, enabling these machines to carry Sea Skua anti-ship missiles (weighing around 331 lbs and equipped with nearly 66 lbs warheads capable of reaching distances of up to 16 miles).
The power behind the Mk41 comes from two Rolls-Royce Gnome H1400-2 gas turbines, each generating 1600 hp. The British-based Sea King helicopter can carry over 13668 lbs, reach speeds of up to 129 mph, and operate at altitudes slightly above 2 miles. Its range extends to roughly 764 miles total.
Although Germany's shipment marks the first such assistance since the beginning of the war, Kyiv already operates similar machines. In 2022, the UK announced its decision to deliver three Sea King Mk41s to Ukraine.