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Westland Wasp

Westland Wasp

Westland Wasp HAS.1 XT431 


The Wasp was a small anti-submarine helicopter developed by Westland Helicopters from the original Saro P.531 design of the late 1950’s. Powered by a Bristol Siddeley Nimbus turbine engine, the Wasp had a range of 300 miles at a cruising speed of 110 mph. Entering service in 1963, Wasps were built at the Hayes Factory of Westland Helicopters. They were carried by the Royal Navy Leander and Rothesay class frigates which, on detecting a submarine, would dispatch their Wasp to drop torpedoes. Wasps were also land based at RNAS Portland and frequently flew along the coast over Bournemouth with their distinctive high pitched engine sound. Wasps saw action in the Falklands Campaign of 1982, disabling the submarine Santa Fe. Taken out of service in the spring of 1988, the Wasp was replaced in Royal Navy service by the Westland Lynx. Ninety-six Wasps were built for the Royal Navy, with others operated by Brazil, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand and South Africa. 


Our aircraft 

The museum’s Westland Wasp XT431 was built in the spring of 1965 and delivered to the Royal Navy in July. Initially stored, it was issued to 829 Sqd at Portland in October 1966 where it was used to train crews prior to being posted to a frigate. XT431 was then based on HMS Scylla from February 1972, transferring to HMS Jupiter in June 1976. It returned to RNAS Portland in December 1979 where it was used by 703 Sqd – the Wasp Flying Training Squadron. From March 1980 until September 1981 it was based on HMS Rothesay, again in a training role. With the arrival of the newer Lynx, XT431 was declared surplus to requirements in October 1981 and sold the following spring to the British Rotorcraft Museum at Weston-super-Mare.  It later passed to Crawley Technical College in November 2003 as a training airframe, and then moved to the Gatwick Aviation Museum in September 2008. The Museum sold a number of their aircraft in 2013 with XT431 arriving at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum in December 2013.

Technical Data 

Rotor Diameter: 9.83m
Length: 12.30m
Height: 2.72m 
Max takeoff weight: 2,500kg
Service Ceiling: 12,200ft 
Max Speed:  120mph
Range: 303miles
Powerplant: x 1 Rolls-Royce Nimbus 103 Turboshaft