Helicopter elite force !! in Jeopardy


Lantern Swinger
There is plenty of truth in this article but nothing has been decided yet. The original plan was for the Crabs to get the extra 12 Chinook and then transfer 25 Merlin to CHF to replace the Seakings. That would have involved retraining some RAF Merlin pilots on Chinook and retraining all RN CHF pilots on Merlin. Now the Crabs arent getting their extra Chinooks, they have spare Merlin trained pilots so they are arguing that it is a waste of money to retrain the RN pilots on Merlin. The key issue being put forward by CHF is how would the RAF support these Merlins when they have to embark in ships. Can RAF ground crew intergrate into a ships company, what do they know about operating aircraft from a heaving deck etc etc??? I think the fact that the Crabs have scaled back their helo training pipeline suggests they dont think they will keep the Merlins. Watch this space.
As MM implies the cabs are nowhere near marinised. They don't fold (anywhere) which means they don't fit (anywhere) and their payload performance is so limited that all tie down points have been removed from the airframe to save weight. Not just a case of rebadging them at all......

However, they are the only fleet in town.......
We took a number of aircraft from the Danes as a quick stopgap and bought the danes some new ones. Could we exchange the non-marinised ones we have for Marine capable ones from other nations?

I know its probably not doable but just curious


Lantern Swinger
Out of interest what's the cost of marinising an individual merlin? I'd imagine adding all the folding bits is quite costly, not to mention all the other essential changes?
I never realised that NaB, many thanks!

Perhaps if you lot apologised for Taranto and promised not to have any more outstanding dining in nights they'd let us have them for free? On second thoughts, keep Taranto Night and bring some Wessex out of retirement!

The Strategic Defence and Security Review confirmed the continuing requirement for the Commando Helicopter Force, based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, particularly in relation to the helicopter lift requirements for littoral manoeuvre.
It remains our intention to transfer the Merlin Mk 3/3a helicopters to the Commando Helicopter Force to replace the Sea King Mk 4 helicopters which go out of service by 2016 on current plans. The force's fleet of Lynx helicopters will be replaced by Wildcat attack helicopters.
On the matter of marinising Merlins.

Not withstanding the financial implications. The sheer mechanics of stripping down the helicopters. Adding the strengthening points for folding tie down etc would involve many - many man hours to achieve. Probably as easy if not easier to procure new builds from AG/Westlands. Or, side line export models for our own use!!

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