DH - Defence Helicopter

UK Merlin Mk2 fleet achieves FOC

16th September 2015 - 02:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Merlin Mk2, the British Royal Navy’s anti-submarine warfare helicopter, has officially achieved Full Operating Capability (FOC) on schedule, the UK Department of Defence announced on 15 September.

The navy has received 24 of 30 Merlin helicopters under an £807 million programme to upgrade the aircraft and prepare them for anti-submarine/surface warfare combat missions.

The upgraded Merlin Mk2s feature upgraded radar and advanced glass cockpits, enhanced touch-screen displays and improved aircrew consoles. The new technology enables the aircraft to share data with other aircraft and ships while airborne. The helicopters will also perform casualty evacuation and counter-piracy duties.

Philip Dunne, Defence Minister of the UK, said: 'This programme forms part of this government’s commitment to invest £11 billion in our helicopter fleet over the next 10 years as part of our £160 billion Equipment Plan to provide our people with the very best equipment and support.'

Air Vice-Marshal Julian Young, director helicopters, Defence Equipment and Support organization, said: 'The Merlin Mk2 is an exceptional aircraft providing a variety of specialist warfare and general roles, and this programme has been delivered on time and under budget making it a great procurement success. It is an important part of our overall helicopter force, and has proved itself countless times fulfilling a number of tasks including counter-piracy measures and providing humanitarian relief.' 

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