Master Corporal John Hall, flight deck director (left), directs Corporal Adam Struthers, Avionic Systems Technician, to remove a Mk 46 torpedo from a CH 124 Sea King Helicopter for storage onboard HCMS Winnipeg in the Indian Ocean. (Photo by Warrant Officer Carole Morissette, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

The Mark 46 torpedo can be launched in either air or surface modes.  In air mode, it is released at 150 feet altitude and 100 kts.  A drogue parachute is fitted under the orange cover.  When the torpedo impacts the water, an inertial nut moves forward releasing the parachute pack.  The torpedo then dives down to the selected search depth.  In surface mode, the torpedo is released from the hovering position  (search sonar down) at 40 feet altitude.  A piece of para cord is attached to the tail which causes the nose to pitch down to the right angle to release the para-pack.  The torpedo will then swim out on a search bearing which is a combination of a pre-set angle off the aircraft nose and a pedal turn by the pilot.  The same torpedo is used by Canadian Navy ships and submarines.

At least up to the mid 1980's, the Navigator could release ASW stores but only the Pilots could release the torpedoes.

A diver from HMCS MONTRÉAL is  jumping off the Sea King helicopter while the ship is in the Arabian Sea on exercises in November 2002.  (Photo by Cpl. Paz Quillé. DND photo #HS-025035D12)
2009: A CH 124 Sea King conducts a delicate airborne refueling operation near Iqaluit off the coast of Baffin Island during Operation NANOOK 09. (Photo by: Corporal Dany Veillette, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre, Ottawa).
Cpl. Dan Fanning, an aviation technician aboard HMCS St John's, cleans and checks a pylon on a CH-124 before take off on the first mission of the day. (Photo Credit: MCpl Eduardo Mora Pineda).

On Monday 4 July 2011, HRH Prince William performed a daring made-in-Canada manoeuvre in Prince Edward Island by simulating a series of emergencies as he landed a Sea King helicopter on the surface of a lake. William, who is a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot based in Wales, performed the "waterbird" exercise several times for a crowd that included his wife, Catherine. 

During the demonstration, which simulates an engine failure over water during a hover, the dual-engine CH124 Sea King aircraft descended from about 12 metres above the surface of Dalvay Lake. William was sitting in the pilot's seat of the aircraft. The helicopter then performed a controlled landing on the water, as would be necessary if the helicopter's engines failed and land was out of reach. 

Once the aircraft splashed down it was in a slightly nose-up position . Then the Sea King, which has a hull-like belly, taxied on the surface of the water for several minutes before returning to the skies. The operation was repeated a number of times in the light drizzle.

When used for Waterbird exercises, the chopper is covered in pieces of yellow tape, which seal up vents and perforations where water could potentially penetrate the hull, putting the aircraft and its electronics at risk. Yelllow tape is used due to its great visibility at removal time. 

The waterbird exercise was developed in Canada by Sea King pilots since the chopper is often used for low-level, over-water purposes such as slinging, hoisting or search-and-rescue operations. Canadian Air Force Sea King pilots receive one hour of waterbird training each year. (DND Combat Camera photo # HS2011-0287-067)

Commemorative Flight Helmet for HRH, The Duke of Cambridge. On 4 July 2011, 12 Wing Shearwater had the honour of flying His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), in a CH124 rigged up as a Waterbird. What is less known  is that HRH was presented with a one-of-a-kind commemorative flight helmet as a gift from 12 Wing. The finished helmet is the result of a collaboration between 12 Wing graphic designer Steve Coyle and local artist Travis Roma. As well, the helmet is displayed on a beautiful custom stand that was designed and manufactured by 12 Wing AMS's Cpl Desbiens. To say that HRH was touched and impressed by the gift would be an understatement as some members of HRH's personal staff even opined that this was the nicest gift that HRH had received to date. (Photo credit unknown at this time) 
40th anniversary jacket patch. (Photo by Ian MacCorquodale)

On July 16, 2013, Canada's fleet of Sea King helicopters iwas grounded indefinitely after one of them tipped forward and smashed its five rotor blades on the tarmac at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, Halifax. The chopper landed after a five-hour training mission, taxied to a hangar, stopped and tipped forward while the rotors were still spinning, causing each of the 10-metre blades to break into pieces of flying debris that dented walls and broke glass on surrounding buildings. Nobody was hurt in the accident. The fleet was returned back to flying status on July 19/13. (Photo by Jeff Rankin-Lowe)
August 1, 2013 saw the 50th anniversary of the Sea King entering service with the Royal Canadian Navy. As part of the anniversary, the RCAF has painted CH-124B s/n 12434, one of the troop transport conversions, in a "special" colour scheme.  (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Credits and References:

1) Ian Snow <va3qt-4(at)>
2) 423 Squadron
5) Ian MacCorquodale <maccdale(at)>
6) Waterbird landing photo:
7) Waterbird caption courtesy News
8) Colonel S.M. (Sam) Michaud,  Wing Commander, 12 Wing Headquarters Shearwater.

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Aug 7/13