Monday 24 February 2014

Helicopter Magazine 29: Westland Scout

A nice treat came in Issue 29 of Helicopter Magazine, the Westland Scout. Every boy worth his salt in the 1970s had built one of more of these from Airfix, together with squadrons of Folland Gnats and de Havilland Chipmunks.

The model is very nice but exceedingly fragile. You need to exert a lot of care removing it from the packaging and again when trying to get the bloody rotor blades on. Lest you break the frail skids, aerials, blades of rotor shaft itself.

I eventually resorted to paring out the connections where the blades meet shaft and gluing the damn things in place. Still, a lot less hassle than the Airfix kit, and it comes pre-painted with very nice RAF roundels.

The Westland Scout was a very versatile little beast. Both the British Army Air Corps and Royal Marines deployed the Scout in various "light" roles including reconnaissance, aerial surveillance, light transport, special forces insertion, CASEVAC and ground attack. 

It could carry 4 passengers if they all breathed-in and When armed in the light attack configuration it carried either two skid-mounted forward-firing machine guns (L8A1 GPMG) packs or a single pintle-mounted machine gun in the rear cabin. The pintle mount was available in both port and starboard mountings. The gun-packs carried 200 rounds of ammunition each and were both aimed at a pre-set convergence angle. They were mounted on a tubular spar that was fixed between the front and rear undercarriage legs. A Browning M2 machine gun was also tested on a pintle mount in the rear cabin.

The Scout would see action in the Falklands in it's anti-tank helicopter role, carrying 4x SS11 anti-tank missiles. Three Scouts stationed 100m apart fired 10 SS11 missiles at an Argentinian gun battery dug-in west of Stanley Racecourse. Twelve aircraft operated in the Falkland Islands in 1982, six each with 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron and 656 Squadron Army Air Corps.

In Ulster, Scouts would take part in 2 or 3 aircraft Eagle Flights. Two Scouts would each carry 4 men and set down impromptu VCPs (Vehicle Check Points). The third aircraft when available carried an Observer with the Hele-Tele aerial surveillance system.

Another great addition to the Winter of '79 air arm.



  1. I have an Airfix one of these in a state of half completion for an age now.

    I think you took the wiser course.

  2. Nice one; I had the pleasure of (briefly) riding on one of these - feet on skids etc - in Kenya on exercise in '87; scary, but good :)

  3. The bit about "breathing in" was spot on. In Hong Kong with the back doors off, 3 of us didn't have any spare room - and you have a ropy 1970s airline lap strap holding you in. Putting your feet on the skids is compulsary :O)

    Kind regards, Chris