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Full Operational Capability for the Royal Navy’s Mk2 Merlins

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World Defense & Security News - United Kingdom
 
 
 
Full Operational Capability for the Royal Navy’s Mk2 Merlins
 
The first AgustaWestland AH101 Mk2 Merlin helicopters of the Royal Navy have achieved full operational capability. Of the total 30 Merlin Mk1 23 have already been delivered on time and budget under the 25-year Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP), awarded in January 2006 to Lockheed Martin UK.
     
(Credit: UK MoD)
     
The MCSP’s objective is to provide a long-term sustainment and improvement of the ASW capability of the helicopters and gradually transform them into multi-role platforms. The cost of the programme is at USD750 million.

The upgraded Mk2 helicopters will feature high-end systems and capabilities, with Lockheed Martin UK being the main integrator. These include a management system and state-of-the-art glass cockpit (AgustaWestland), new solid-state storage unit (Saab), an upgrade of the Blue Kestrel surveillance radar of the Mk1 with SAR/ISAR modes and enhanced track-while-scan capability (Selex ES), an acoustic system suite that can perform both passive sonobouy and active sonar dipping search (Thales), a Data Preparation Facility and the Civil Navigation Database Loader (BAE Systems), an upgraded cockpit simulator with training devices for the whole of the crew (CAE) and 24-inch displays for the mission system operators (Barco).

The first Royal Navy Mk1 entered service in December 1998 and last of the 44 Merlin helicopters acquired was delivered in November 2002. Two were lost during accidents. The 28 EH101 Merlin HC3/HC3A currently serving with RAF are expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy in the future, to replace the Sea King Mk4 used by the Royal Marines.

     
The first AgustaWestland AH101 Mk2 Merlin helicopters of the Royal Navy have achieved full operational capability. Of the total 30 Merlin Mk1 23 have already been delivered on time and budget under the 25-year Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP), awarded in January 2006 to Lockheed Martin UK. (Credit: UK MoD)