Westland Scout AH-1

Westland Scout AH-1
Survey Utility Helicopter
Westland Aircraft Ltd, Yeovil, Somerset, UK
Number Ordered
First Delivered
20 March 1963
30 feet 7 inches
8 feet 11 inches
Weights 3084
Dimensions Wing span: 32 feet 3 inches (rotor)
  • 132 mph (max sea level)
  • 122 mph (cruising)
322 miles
Engines One 685 shp Bristol Siddeley Nimbus 102 turboshaft
  • Initial rate of climb: 1700 ft/min
  • Ceiling: 15,400 feet

The Westland AH.1 Scout was a light utility helicopter developed by Westland Helicopters for the British Army Air Corps and introduced into service in 1960.  It saw extensive service in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Falklands War with 150 being produced.  The helicopter had a robust design, powered by a Rolls Royce Nimbus engine, and two front seats with a three seat bench behind it which could be replaced with a four-seat bench when fitted with modified rear doors.  For casualty evacuation the Scout could carry two stretchers internally or two on externally mounted pods. The co-pilot's seat could also be reversed to allow visibility of the casualties.  Various machine guns and missile systems could be fitted.

Two Scout helicopters were acquired by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in March 1963 and operated by 723 Naval Air Squadron.  The helicopters were embarked in the hydrographic survey ship HMAS Moresby with one on board while the other was in maintenance at Nowra.  The use of the Scouts in Moresby provided the RAN Hydrographic Service the ability to conduct better surveys in remote areas, particularly for moving personnel and equipment ashore, but with a commensurate need for a higher-levels of maintenance as a result of operating in areas with high concentrations of dust, abrasive coral sand and salt spray which had a detrimental effect on the rotor blades, airframe and engine components.

Scout 842 (892) ditched in Wewak Harbour (Papua New Guinea), while launching from Moresby in April 1967, and despite being recovered the aircraft was written off.  The remaining Scout stayed in service until early 1973  when it was replaced by the Bell 206B Kiowa.  Scout 841 (891) is now on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Nowra.





Left & Right:  A Westland Scout, operating from the survey vessel HMAS Moresby, resupplying survey teams ashore in a remote part of Western Australia in the mid-1970's.