Does anyone think theres any truth to that rumour? Seems like the navy woudnt be getting seen off, so it cant be true can it?
Is it not just that someone has heard about the RAF Merlins moving to culdrose and got a bit excited?
There are also rumours in the office that the Mk1s will be converted to Commando role by replacing the tail fuselage section (a/c is of modular construction) and painted green, to avoid the need to convert Mk3/3a to folding tail/blades configuration. Mk3/3a not currently cleared for ship-borne ops so it wouldn't be much cop in it's current state.
Crabs never wanted Merlin in the first place, and I don't particularly want to inherit the problems that Mk3/3a are suffering with, so I hope all the rumours are untrue.
A couple of years ago a few crews went over to crab-land to fly the Mk3. They should be coming to the end of their posting now; not sure if it will be repeated though. Note this was not an exchange, it was the RAF in desperate need of Merlin aircrew.