U.S. heavy-lift transport helicopterHelicopterHandcrafted, hand-painted mahogany constructionScale: 1/48thOperators: U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Japan Maritime Self-Defense ForceTime in operation: 1981-presentPost-World War II eraManufacturers: Sikorsky AircraftLength: 18.25 inchesWingspan: 19.5 inches. The HH-53 was originally developed by Sikorsky as a private venture, with the U.S. Air Force taking an interest mid-development. The HH-53 was produced in multiple variants, including an Italian variant by the Augusta company, and utilized almost exclusively for Search-and-Rescue operations by both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard. After nearly thirty years of service, it was phased out of American operation in favor of UH-60 variants in the late 1990s, but the Augusta-produced helicopters remain in service with the Italian Air Force, and provide both civilian and combat search and rescue support both in Italy and wherever Italian forces are deployed abroad. Superb construction and a finely detailed, high-quality finish will make this model a treasured asset in any collection for years to come.