Westland Scout AH-1

  • Manufacturer: Westland
  • Model: Scout AH1
  • Year built: 1966
  • Aircraft Type: Rotary wing single engine
  • Number of Seats: Pilot plus 3
  • Number of Engines: 1
  • Engine Type: Turbo-Shaft
  • Engine Manufacturer and Model: Rolls-Royce Nimbus
  • Civil registration: G-CIBW
  • Military registration: XT626

The Scout aircraft

The Westland Scout was developed from the Saunders-Roe P531 and the British Army was immediately interested in a light battlefield helicopter. The pre-production and development variant flew in 1960 and proved so successful that only one month later, the Army placed its initial order for the Scout AH1. This version differed from earlier models 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 Army Air Corps in 1963 as a replacement for the Skeeter. The Scout offered greater reliability, substantially improved payload and 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, an underslung capability and in the anti-tank role the aircraft carried 4 x SS-11 wire-guided missiles.

The Scout AH1 in Army Service

The Scout proved operational versatility 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, the South Atlantic and in the British Army Over the Rhine. It was used by the Royal Navy (Wasp variant), Royal Australian Navy (Wasp variant), Royal Jordanian Army, South African Air Force, Bahrain State Police and the Kenyan and Uganda Police Air Wings.

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