Information about RAF Aircraft - Merlin HC3/3A Helicopter - r7a15 - Armed Forces



RAF Merlin helicopter

The EH101 Merlin Mk 3 is the newest RAF helicopter, the RAF having ordered 22 EH101 (Merlin) support helicopters for 755m in March 1995.

Merlin is a direct replacement for the Westland Wessex, and it operates alongside the Puma and Chinook in the medium-lift role.

Its ability to carry troops, artillery pieces, light vehicles and bulk loads, means that the aircraft is ideal for use with the UK Army's 16 Air Assault Brigade. Deliveries took place between 2000-2002.

The aircraft can carry a load of 24-28 troops with support weapons. The maximum payload is 4,000 kg and Merlin has a maximum range of 1,000 km, which can be extended by external tanks or by air-to-air refuelling. The Merlin Mk 3 has sophisticated defensive aids, and the aircraft is designed to operate in extreme conditions with corrosion-proofing for maritime operations. All weather, day/night precision delivery is possible because of GPS navigation, a forward-looking infra-red sensor and night vision goggle compatibility. In the longer term, the aircraft could be fitted with a nose turret fitted mounting a .50 calibre machine gun.

During March 2007 the UK MoD announced the acquisition of 6 x additional Merlin Mk 3A from Denmark.

In 2013, a Merlin Life Sustainment Programme was in its Assessment Phase. This upgrade assessment looked at options to enhance the Merlin Mk3/3A aircraft's ability to support amphibious operations.

Following an upgrade we would expect Merlin 3/3A aircraft to remain in service until 2030.

EH101 MERLIN Mk 3 Specifications

Crew 4
Capacity Up to 24 combat-equipped troops
Or 16 stretchers and a medical team
Or 4 tonnes of cargo (2.5 tonnes as an underslung load)
Length 22.81m
Rotor Diameter 18.59m
Max Speed 309kph/192mph
Engines 3 x Rolls Royce/Turbomeca RTM 322 turboshafts

In service with:

28 Squadron 12 x Merlin HC3/3A RAF Benson
78 Squadron 12 x Merlin HC3/3A RAF Benson

All the above aircraft are under the control of the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC).

Photo Copyright Alasdair Taylor