Helicopters (1958-    )

During the WWII, both Germany and the allied powers developed operative helicopters, but they were built in small numbers. It was during the Korean War the use of the helicopter made its definitive breakthrough. They were used for liaison and transport duties, but they are most known for their rescuing work. Thousands of wounded soldiers were flown out of the combat zone to base hospitals. Many combat pilots shot down behind enemy lines were rescued by helicopters. I am certain that the small H-13/Bell 47 is known to millions of people from the TV-series MASH - an abbreviation that means ”Mobile Army Surgical Hospital”. 

The helicopter-like autogiro was invented in 1929 and was built by several companies during the thirties. In Sweden, Rolf von Bahr (1912-1988) owned and flew totally seven Cierva/Avro autogiros. In 1935, von Bahr with a civil registered autogiro made some successful tests with artillery spotting at the major artillery range at Skillingaryd. During the years of war 1939-45, von Bahr also made numerous reconnaissance flights for the Swedish Navy. But then the helicopters improved quickly and the autogiro disappeared from the scene.  

In the end of 1942, the small Bell 30 took to the air. From this design, the Bell 47, followed by the 204/205 ”Huey” (Swedish HKP 3), and the 206 JetRanger/LongRanger (Swedish HKP 6) were developed. More than 30.000 helicopters of the different variants have been built. 

The Bell 47 is very important in the history of Swedish aviation. Lennart Osterman, founder of Ostermans Aero, bought a Bell 47B in 1947. He was appointed as Bell Helicopter’s representative the same year. Osterman  also built up a service and maintenance organisation and offered flying training. His company started a flying ambulance service in the Stockholm archipelago in 1948 and followed this up with a mail service in the same region during the winters. 

In 1951, the Swedish Navy rented some Bell 47’s with pilots for evaluation. But the Navy demanded heavier helicopters. Two larger ones of the type Sikorsky S-55 were rented from Osterman in 1955. The machines were tested for purposes as sea rescue, ambulance transports and transports of troop and cargo, but it was the Vertol 44 that became the first regular helicopter in the Swedish defence (HKP 1). 

Also the Army rented the Bell 47, even to a large extent and to satisfactory results, but it was never purchased by the military authorities. The machines kept their civil registration and were never marked with the Swedish three crowns. About 50 Bell 47’s have been in the Swedish civil register through the years - eleven 47B/D, thirty 47G and ten 47J. Most of them have at least some time been hired by the Army for training and exercises.  

The Bell 47 was also used by the Police. See photo at bottom of page.

Earlier, the helicopters of the Swedish Defence belonged to the separate service branches and were thus marked Armén (the Army),  Flygvapnet (the Air Force) or Marinen (the Navy). In 1997-1998 they were transferred into one common Helicopter Wing and all helicopters carries nowadays the marking Försvarsmakten (the Defence Power). The head quarters of the Helicopter Wing is located at Malmen (the base of the former Air Force Wing F 3). 

The abbreviation HKP stands for ”Helikopter” - helicopter in Swedish.

For the helicopters used by the Swedish defence forces, see list below. 

Please click on the thumbnails for pictures and information

HKP 1 - Vertol 44 (1958-1972)
502HHP2_150-5067.jpg (66610 byte) HKP 2 - Sud Aviation SE.3130 Alouette II (1958-1988)

(3 pages)

503HKP3_3906.jpg (61993 byte) HKP 3 - Agusta Bell 204B Iroquis ”Huey”(1962-2001)

(2 pages)

504HKP4_3925.jpg (58127 byte) HKP 4 - Boeing Vertol 107 (1963-    )

(2 pages)

505HKP5_3990.jpg (70922 byte) HKP 5 - Schweizer Model 300 (1964-2002)

(2 pages)

506HKP6_4076.jpg (84302 byte) HKP 6 - Agusta Bell 206A JetRanger (1968-2004)
509HKP9_3916.jpg (62930 byte) HKP 9 - Messerschmitt Bölkow-Blom (MBB) BO 105 CBS (1985-    )
510HKP10_113-1394.jpg (76746 byte) HKP 10 - Aérospatiale AS 332M1 Super Puma (1988-    )
HKP 11 - Agusta Bell 412HP (1993-2004)

(3 pages)

HKP 14 HKP 14 - NH Industries NH 90  (2005-     )
HKP 15 Agusta A109LUHS. Photo Lars Henriksson, www.avrosys.nu HKP 15 - Agusta A109LUHS (2002-    )

Bell 47G-5A, SE-HPG, c/n 25081. Airshow, Malmen 2001


© Lars Henriksson, Ljungskile, Sweden

Updated 2010-07-14