The first series of next generation anti-submarine maritime patrol Merlin helicopters has been delivered to the Royal Navy.
The delivery of the five helicopters, which have been upgraded as part of a ¬£750 million contract led by AgustaWestland and Lockheed Martin, to the Royal Navy‚Äôs 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 AgustaWestland at its Yeovil facility, supported by prime contractor 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.