The Saro Skeeter AOp 12 was a two-seat reconnaissance and artillery-observation-post light helicopter which served with the British Army Air Corps between 1957 and 1967. It was powered by a de Havilland Gipsy Major Type 140 piston engine, delivering 215 bhp at 2850 rpm. It had a cruising speed of 76 knots, a service ceiling of 12800 feet and a range of 160 nautical miles.
The prototype helicopter was designed by the Cievra Autogyro Company as the W14 with a 106hp Jameson FF-1 engine and first flew on 8 October 1948, but early development aircraft were under-powered and suffered from resonance problems. The Cievra Company was acquired by Saunders Roe in January 1951. In 1957 a small number of Skeeter AOp 10s were delivered to the Army and a T.11 to the RAF and about 50 AOP 12s and T13s were delivered in 1959. A small number of Skeeters, designated Marks 50 and 51, served with the Federal German Army.
The Skeeter AOp 12 (S2/5107) at the Museum first flew in February 1959 and served with the Army Air Corps as XM553 until it was struck off charge on 25 April 1968. It was restored in 1979 as closely as possible to the 1961 specification, which resulted in the removal of some later modifications. As G-AWSV, it last flew in 1998.