First Merlin Mk2s handed over
The first of the UK’s fleet of next generation anti-submarine maritime patrol Merlin helicopters have been handed over to the Royal Navy.
The delivery of the five helicopters, which have been upgraded as part of a £750M 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 targets and share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne.
These improvements will also enable the helicopters to carry out counter piracy and casualty evacuation roles. Thirty Merlin Mk1 helicopters are being converted to Mk2s by Lockheed Martin. Once handed over to the Royal Navy, the airframes will undergo a series of extensive trials.
The first helicopters are expected to be ready to deploy on operations by summer 2014.