Lockheed Martin UK Delivers Increased Capability for Merlin Mk1 with New Defensive Aids Suite
Lockheed Martin UK and its partners have delivered a new capability for the Royal Navy by upgrading a number of Merlin HM Mk1 helicopters with a Defensive Aids Suite (DAS) installation for increased survivability in front-line operations.
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence had previously awarded a £7m contract to Lockheed Martin UK for delivery of this Urgent Operational Requirement in January 2008.
Under a challenging schedule, Lockheed Martin, the Royal Navy and assembled team partners from AgustaWestland, Air Warfare Centre, BAE Systems, Defence Science and Technology Laboratories, Petards Joyce-Loebl Limited and QinetiQ, successfully delivered the first DAS-equipped Merlin Mk1 on time. The aircraft, which was subsequently deployed on operations, has now received its full Release To Service clearance.
“We are proud to play a strategic role in equipping the Royal Navy" said Bill Widner, VP and Group Managing Director, Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems. "We are committed to ensuring the continued capability of Merlin by delivering new protective systems that will improve their effectiveness. Lockheed Martin UK will continue to extend value to the Ministry of Defence by providing critical needs to front-line forces in theatre operations.”
As part of the rigorous compliance procedure, a number of system trials were conducted. Key milestones included electromagnetic compatibility testing; flight testing by AgustaWestland; flare carriage, release and jettison trials, radio frequency environment generator testing and effectiveness trials performed by QinetiQ, with all test and evaluation activities completed in December 2008.
Since its introduction, Merlin has significantly enhanced the UK’s maritime operational capability and is immensely versatile. It excels in anti-submarine warfare, force protection, search and rescue, troop transport, vertical replenishment and casualty evacuation.
The addition of DAS represents a step-change in Merlin’s operational capabilities that can now comprise new roles and theatre environments. Already operationally proven, this year marks the tenth anniversary of Merlin Mk1, which achieved its In-Service Date in March 1999.
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