Merlin Mk4 carries out deck landing trials
A Royal Marines newly upgraded Merlin Mk4 helicopter has spent four weeks aboard aviation training ship RFA Argus as part of work to prepare the aircraft's operating manual, the Royal Navy announced on 15 August.
Twenty five Royal Navy Merlin Mk3/3A aircraft are being converted to the Merlin Mk4/4A standard under the Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP). The upgraded aircraft have folding tail sections and rotor heads, making them suitable to operate from Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.
While on board Argus deck landing sea trials were carried out in order to establish parameters for safe operating limits for the Mk4. This included gathering data on wind speed, sea state, roll, pitch and other factors which determine the boundaries for the Merlin landing and taking off again at sea.
The project team carried out more than 200 deck landings on Argus off the South Coast, before the aircraft was returned to Leonardo's Yeovil facility.
The first models will be handed over to their squadrons in February following trials and assessments.
Scott Ewens, project manager for Leonardo, said: ‘The month on Argus was an intense working period; the logistics involved were incredible and throughout this trials period the Argus team has been extremely cooperative and accommodating.
'The data gathered by the project team will mean that the Mk4 is ready for its release for service in February 2018.’
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