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First of new anti-submarine helicopters delivered to RNAS Culdrose
4:00pm Friday 9th August 2013 in News
The first of the UK’s fleet of next generation anti-submarine maritime patrol Merlin helicopters have been handed to the Royal Navy at Culdrose.
The delivery of the five helicopters, which have been upgraded as part of a £800 million Lockheed Martin contract, to the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm marks a significant milestone.
Fitted with a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and improved aircrew console and avionics, the Merlin Mk 2 will have advanced touch screen displays, and an improved ability to detect and track submarines and share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne.
These radar and under water acoustics improvements have been produced by sub-contractors Selex and Thales amongst others. It will also have extended secondary role capabilities, such as counter piracy and casualty evacuation roles.
Commodore Andy Lison RN, responsible for the Merlin, Lynx and Sea King teams for the MoD’s Defence, Equipment and Support Organisation, said: “I am delighted that we are now firmly in the delivery phase of the project.
“The Merlin Mk 2 is a truly exceptional aircraft and the programme to develop and build this aircraft has brought together the very best of the MoD and defence industry to future-proof this vital capability for defence.”
Commander Ben Franklin RN, the Commanding Officer of the Merlin helicopter force at Culdrose, added: “I am extremely proud to be leading the Merlin Force during this period. The delivery of the first five aircraft to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm is a real milestone of this successful programme which will provide vital support to the Navy as it fulfils its role in protecting UK interests across the globe.”
Bob Kramer, vice-president and group managing director, Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems, said: “The Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme (MCSP) represents a magnificent team effort led by Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland, supported by our suppliers, to provide the Royal Navy with unrivalled capability to carry out its anti-submarine patrol and policing requirement.”
The Merlin MK2 based at Culdrose will continue to undergo a series of extensive trials before being deployed on operations from next summer.
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