The significant milestone of the £807 million programme has now been met, following the delivery of 24 out of a total of 30 Merlin helicopters to the Royal Navy.
The upgraded Merlin Mk2s are the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter and have undergone improvements to their anti-submarine/surface warfare combat capabilities, including radar upgrade, as well as being fitted with advanced glass cockpits.
Each aircraft has improved aircrew consoles, touch-screen displays and are fitted with over 40km of new wiring. The new technology gives them the enhanced ability to detect and track targets, and to share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne:
The considerable investment the UK Government has made in these next-generation Merlin helicopters will ensure that we continue to deliver a flexible capability that meets the needs of our Armed Forces.
This programme forms part of this Government’s commitment to invest £11 billion in our helicopter fleet over the next 10 years as part of our £160 billion Equipment Plan to provide our people with the very best equipment and support.
Air Vice-Marshal Julian Young, Director Helicopters at the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support organization, said:
The Merlin Mk2 is an exceptional aircraft providing a variety of specialist warfare and general roles, and this programme has been delivered on time and under budget making it a great procurement success.
It is an important part of our overall helicopter force, and has proved itself countless times fulfilling a number of tasks including counter-piracy measures and providing humanitarian relief.
The upgrade programme was carried out by Lockheed Martin, based in Havant and AgustaWestland in Yeovil, and supported around 1,000 jobs.
The helicopters roles include carrying out counter-piracy and casualty evacuation duties. They have delivered vital support to the UK effort in Sierra Leone to tackle the spread of Ebola and supported the rescuing of migrants in the Mediterranean.
The Merlin Mk2 helicopters are expected to be deployed on the Royal Navy’s next generation Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, as well as frigates, destroyers and support ships world-wide to help keep Britain safe.
- First Ukraine Police Airbus H145 commences flight test phase
- Polish Police retire Kania helicopter to museum
- Bell Offers Comprehensive Program for new Commercial Aircraft Customers
- Universal Helicopters closes its doors after almost 60 years of operations
- Gama Aviation starts Scottish EMS operations after taking contract back from Babcock
- Heli Hero names added to new helicopter
- Q1 production analysis – Airbus rises while every other OEM falls
- Nigerian Navy receives AW139 helicopter
- Penn College aviation students receive industry scholarships
- EHang wins approval for autonomous air logistics operations
- Genesys flight testing their avionics suite on Black Hawks
- Pulselite® Bird Strike Prevention System STC Expanded to Include Bell 429 and Bell 505
- EBAA to provide members with live aviation security alerts from Osprey
- COVID-19 – AW139 supporting COVID-19 operations in Canada
- Babcock Selects Bell 429 for Australian Special Forces bid
- UKMFTS program adds first of four additional Airbus H145s
- ACC Aviation Partners with AeroMedical
- Wings Air Helicopters offers free flights for healthcare professionals
- Wingcopter is one of 9 winners of German Government’s €24M hackathon
- Leonardo AW159 Wildcat conducts first successful firings of Thales ‘Martlet’ LMM