The comment about arrestor wires and changes in policy, it may have something to do with SIZE of the wires being increased, or distance between the wires for "Catching" the aircraft, but in all landings of aircraft and helicopters on any ship the AUW (All Up Weight) is a vital component.
Indeed the photos of the SAR Seaking on the Argus in the post were taken because of the role she had - which actually had nothing to do with SAR or torpedoes.
As a direct consequence of the Falklands Conflict a policy decision was made to have a permanent Falklands Guardship. In addition the RN decided to have also a smaller vessel capable of operating a helicopter for use in localised areas to provide a platform for special forces etc. so over the years HMS Leeds Castle and Dumbarton Castle were deployed and were capable of operating Seakings (and Chinooks often as it turned out).
So when a replacement was required the RN built a modified River class OPV with a flight deck added to operate helicopters. Thus HMS CLYDE when she was completed and commissioned in 2006 had to go through the necessary FOCFT (First of Class Flying Trials) to ensure the operating envelopes (SHOLs) were established as safe.
As the HMS Clyde was to be in the Falklands for years the only Seaking she was likely to see was the RAF SAR 3 version which likewise did not have the ASW electronics fitted. So to get REALISTIC AUWs for the FOCFT the RN used a SAR helicopter. However there is always a case of "exploring" the SHOLs and establishing the absolute AUW for a safe recovery. In order to get the Mk5 SAR Seaking up to a max SKJ AUW the two torpedoes were added to a full fuel load to achieve that.
However to give a full account the XV651 helicopter had been south in the Falklands on Illustrious in August 1982 in 814 Squadron and returned to UK in December 1982 to go to RNAS Yeovilton. She later was used at RNAS St Mawgan (Cornwall) in 2004 and later to 771 Squadron 30.4.2005 in the SAR role. On the 18.7.2005 she was with the trials team at Qinetic (spelling ?) and at Boscombe Down - and from there she was used as in the role in the photos - ie a SAR Seaking with 771 Squadron markings on loan for trials. Phew.!!
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