Westland Scout AH-1 – Archive01

The Westland Scout was developed from the Saunders-Roe P531. The British Army was immediately interested in it as a light battlefield helicopter. The pre-production and development variant flew in 1960 and proved so successful that only one month later the British Army placed its initial order for the Scout AH Mk1, which differed from earlier models only by having powered controls.

The Scout has a cruise speed of 100 knots, a top speed of 114 knots / 131 mph, a range of 315 nautical miles and an endurance of 2 hours 30 mins. The type entered service with the British Army in 1963 as a replacement for the Skeeter, offering greater reliability, substantially improved payload and general operating superiority. Since 1963 these have been standard multi-role tactical aircraft with skid landing gear, a six-seat cabin and the Nimbus 101 or 102 turboshaft engine. External loads included two litters in side-mounted pods and in the anti-tank role the aircraft carried 4 x SS-11 wire-guided missiles.

The Scout proved its operational versatility, working in close-support, liaison, light freight, medivac, communication, reconnaissance, search and rescue and training roles. It served with distinction in Borneo, during the Indonesia- Malaysia Confrontation, the Aden emergency, Oman, Rhodesia, Northern Ireland and the South Atlantic. It was also used by the Royal Navy (Wasp variant), Royal Australian Navy (Wasp variant), Royal Jordanian Army, South African Air Force, Bahrain State Police and the Uganda Police Air Wing.

XT626 served from 1963 until the late 1980s, seeing out service with the Territorial Army at Netheravon. She has continued to fly in the Historic Flight since then.

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