Jodie Peeler provided the following information on the configuration of the early SH-3s; note that the Fleet Introduction Program for the SH-3, then designated HSS-2, was accomplished in late summer of 1961 and deliveries to fleet squadrons began to be accomplished immediately thereafter:
While rounding up some references for the Mercury recovery helicopters, I found this picture that's of particular interest to
your Tailhook Topics Draft post, http://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2013/02/us-navy-asw-sh-3-sea-king-variations.html, about the Sea King.
It is a screen capture from a film
taken aboard USS Intrepid on 24 May 1962; it is HS-3's HSS-2 BuNo 148964 landing aboard Intrepid with astronaut Scott
Four interesting things about this HSS-2:
-- Both air data probes over starboard side of cockpit;
-- No rotor cap;
-- No flotation bags on the sponsons; and
-- Take a look behind the transmission hump - there's no little doghouse back there.
a quick look at my hard drive, here's what I've found, if reviewing the
pictures of Gemini recovery helicopters (which were all members of
fleet ASW squadrons) can be considered a decent cross-section:
By early 1965 some SH-3s had received the doghouse. The Gemini 3
recovery helo (BuNo 148984) had it in March 1965. The Gemini 4 recovery
helo (BuNo 148999) didn't have it in June 1965. By the Gemini 5 recovery
(August 1965, with BuNo 149005) it shows up and remains consistent. It
appears those built without it got the mod whenever they could.
-- The air data probes consistently appear separated by early 1965
-- Flotation bags had come in by early 1965
-- Main rotor caps really don't show up a lot until about the end of 1965*
December 1965/early 1966 the "standard" SH-3A/early SH-3D configuration
has become the norm, with doghouse, separated probes, rotor caps and
The VH-3A/HSS-2Zs were delivered with the rotor
caps, but without the doghouse. By June 1963 they had been fitted with
the doghouse. Not sure when the air data probe configuration changed;
probably sometime in 1964 or early 1965. I don't believe VH-3s have ever
carried flotation bags, at least not while on white-top duty.
* In case you want to build your model in this early configuration, here is a photo of the uncapped rotor hub from the 16 January 1961 issue of Aviation Week, page 52.