Merlin Mk1 – the world’s most potent submarine hunting helicopter. The Merlin Mk1 have been in service with the Fleet Air Arm since the late 1990s and, after thorough testing and evaluation, the helicopters have been on the front line since 2000. Our job is to find – and if necessary destroy – enemy submarines using our state-of-the-art sonar buoys which we drop into the ocean and Sting Ray torpedoes. Beyond searching for submarines, we carry out traditional maritime helicopter duties: anti-piracy/drug-running patrols, surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, and passenger and load transfers. There are more than 40 Merlins in service with the Fleet Air Arm in training and front-line squadrons. Most of these are in the middle of a £750m upgrade to turn the Merlin Mk1 into the Merlin Mk2 which has more powerful computer systems and is easier for aircrew to operate.
- Top Speed
3 Crew1 x Pilot, 1 x Observer & 1 x Aircrewman
- Main Rotor Diameter
- Weight (Unladen)
820 Naval Air Squadron
820 Naval Air Squadron, one of the Navy’s trio of front-line Merlin helicopter squadrons, takes it in turns with our sister squadron 814, also based at Culdrose in Cornwall, to support the international effort against illegal activities on the high seas east of Suez – that’s piracy, people-trafficking, smuggling, drug-running and terrorism.
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