Merlin MK2

Submarine Hunter

Merlin Mk2 entered service in 2014 as an upgrade for the original 1990’s Mk1 naval version. Its role is supply the UK’s Maritime Force Protection and airborne anti-submarine warfare capability for the foreseeable future. 

At a glance

30 Mk2s

In fleet


Under budget


5 crew

On board

3.8 tonnes

Lifting capacity

Sub-hunting leader

The Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme provided 30 Mk2s with a redesigned cockpit and aircraft management computer system; a total re-wiring of the aircraft and a new open-architecture tactical mission system. Enhancements to the RADAR and sonar systems mean the Merlin continues to be the world’s most potent sub hunting helicopter.

Beyond searching for submarines the helicopter is capable of much more, including round-the-clock maritime patrol and interdiction – armed with Sting-Ray Torpedoes, Mk11 Depth Charges and the M3m .50 Calibre Machine Gun; troop ferrying, casualty evacuation, medium lift under-slung loads, Search and Rescue, and other contingency tasks. 

In the future the Merlin Mk2, as part of the the Crowsnest programme, will also be the replacement aircraft for the Navy’s Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Control. A genuine all-rounder!

Training on the helicopter takes place at 824 Naval Air Squadron and the Merlin Training Facility – the ‘Academy’ of Merlin. The main base for both training and Front-line aircraft is at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.

The Merlin Mk2 is already in the thick of major naval exercises with 820, 824 and 829 Naval Air Squadrons and 820 Naval Air Squadron will soon deploy with the UK’s Response Force Task Group.

Being a part of the Fleet Air Arm

PO Johnson, 25


What I like best is the variety. On any given mission I could be monitoring threats, searching for targets, or even using weapons. I also get to be involved in planning and executing major operations – nothing beats the feeling of seeing it all come together successfully.

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United Kingdom


Performing to the very highest standards. Putting our ships and our people through their paces. Always striving for better. Training is what makes the Royal Navy the best in the world.



Atlantic Patrol Tasking North

The APT(N) task centres on reassurance to UK overseas dependent territories, providing humanitarian and disaster relief during the main hurricane season (June to November) and conducting counter narcotic patrols as part of the wider international effort.