Merlin HM1’s Lifting Artillery

This caught my eye, a Merlin HM1, that is a very expensive and highly specialised anti submarine helicopter, being used for logistics support during a recent amphibious exercise.

When the Merlin HC3/3a’s are transferred to the CHF and the Sea Kings withdrawn the amount of lift available to the amphibious force without augmentation from RAF Chinook’s should be an improvement and the sight of such valuable aircraft being used for utility logistics lift will hopefully be a rare sight.

As long as the marinisation capability programme concludes successfully that is.

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All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 18, 2012 7:05 pm

Another string to the bow of what must be the best FF/DD deployed helo in the world. Now if only we would make it capable of launching the Skua replacement.

Bob
Bob
November 18, 2012 7:11 pm

It is sad to think back to the 80s when the plan was for 24 Tyoe 23s each carrying a Merlin with one RFA Fort Victoria supporting each group of four Type 23’s with Merlin’s also replacing all the Puma’s in the RAF and ultimately all the UK Sea Kings too.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 18, 2012 7:21 pm

@Bob

Sounds something like what I think we should be working towards. Personally think 20 frigates is the right number. That is if we are sticking with 6 Destroyers.

Not sure why the Merlin isn’t the success it should be. The Hawks have the economies of scale granted but it hasn’t stopped the Europeans developing new helicopters to avoid buying American.

Phil
November 18, 2012 7:35 pm

“It is sad to think back to the 80s when the plan was for 24 Tyoe 23s each carrying a Merlin with one RFA Fort Victoria supporting each group of four Type 23′s with Merlin’s also replacing all the Puma’s in the RAF and ultimately all the UK Sea Kings too.”

Then the Cold War ended!

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 18, 2012 7:40 pm

As Phil said, the the Cold War ended and ASW (allegedly) went away. If you want to know why Merlin isn’t the unqualified success it could have been, look no further than the gearbox rating and also the decision to reduce spares provision from fielding of the HM1, which led to a reputation for poor availability that the cab hasn’t yet recovered from. And as APATS says, not being able to carry and launch Skua is simply bewildering……

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 18, 2012 7:52 pm

Not sure ASW did really go away; if I were a small nation planning to make the lives of the big boy(s) hard, I would be trying to build submarines…if I had the technical competence to do so; if I was non-state actor with deep pockets, I would be looking for a submarine crew from somewhere un-appetising to bribe…

Phil
November 18, 2012 7:54 pm

And we have ASW frigates, ASW helicopters and ASW, err, submarines.

It is not like the threat has been forgotten, it is simply smaller now.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 18, 2012 8:06 pm

In the end it is not just about capability but cover. I simple don’t believe we have the cover we should have, and lets not forget that Nimrod was a capability loss.

Topman
Topman
November 18, 2012 8:08 pm

‘ Now if only we would make it capable of launching the Skua replacement.’

Why is that? A technical issue or money?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 18, 2012 8:08 pm

The ASW threat is different rather than smaller. We are not defendinga gainst Soviet SSNs in the Atlantic but there has been a real expansion in the operation of SSKs. They represent a different and expanding threat. Thus the means to counter them has changed. We do not need dedicated ASW groups charging around the Atlantic but individual units ASW capabilities are betetr today and the ability to field a Merlin from an FF/DD also helps.

GNB
Sums it up perfectly with his comments ref submarines. They are a massive “low cost” force enabler.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 18, 2012 8:11 pm

Topman,

I cannot for the life of me see a technical problem (especially as the missile is still indevelopment) so I guess it is the old age story.:)

Topman
Topman
November 18, 2012 8:14 pm

I didn’t really need to ask did I?

‘especially as the missile is still in development’ A MBDA job is it?

Mark
Mark
November 18, 2012 8:15 pm

Yes much versatility can only be a gd thing. The merlin gearbox the price you pay for letting Italians anywhere near aeroplanes!!!!

Often the distinction on cost and reliability of merlin the helicopter and merlin the system is rather blurred..

As the Italians have fitted Marte to merlin I assume cost are the reason why merlin was never fitted with a uk anti ship missile though fitting nsm might be interesting I’m getting concerned about sea skua replace and are French friends.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 18, 2012 8:19 pm
Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Gents – “allegedly” = sarcasm.

Of course it (ASW) didn’t go away – if anything it became more difficult. Hunting modern SSK (many with AIP) in areas where you have to go is in many ways much more difficult than nice deep-water atlantic ASW – even if the oppo was SSN. Shame the people in town didn’t take that view.

FASGW – quite probably the longest running acquisition programme in history – certainly the longest surviving acronym (1997 if memory serves). MBDA plus AW and Lockmart = ouch.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 18, 2012 8:26 pm

Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) great idea, but it’s getting the BrahMos instead ;-)

Topman
Topman
November 18, 2012 8:34 pm

APATS

Ahh right, good luck. Despite being able to produce some good bits of kit (Brimstone), I got the impression from them of not having the slightest clue! From someone whom I know that deals with them a fair bit, shall I say they can also be a bit ‘forgetful’?

Anyway I’m sure you’ll get it sorted in the end.

When is it needed/supposed to be in service?

Mark
Mark
November 18, 2012 8:37 pm

Do we have the funds to fund it ourselves because the French have gone wobbly

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20121111/DEFREG01/311110001/U-K-Offers-France-New-Deal-Kick-Start-Missile-Project

x
x
November 18, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: Marte

Sea Killer sounds better than SeaCeptor.

I prefer Penguin, but would prefer a full cream missile.

Simon
November 18, 2012 9:29 pm

If the Merlin gearbox is such a problem why don’t we replace it with a new one? I’d suggest that the answer is we simply can’t be bothered and will somehow muddle along.

We’re going to miss Sea King.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 18, 2012 10:15 pm

It. Costs. Money. There. Is. No. Money.

Yes. Yes we are.

Observer
Observer
November 19, 2012 6:13 am

Resistance. Is. Futile.

We are the budget. Drop your shields and prepare to be downsized.

Repulse
November 19, 2012 7:53 am

The reaon why the Merlin doesn’t have missiles is probably as much to do with not wanting to compromise the Wildcat project as money I suspect.

Obsvr
Obsvr
November 19, 2012 8:27 am

Moving artillery is about the most important task that can be given to a helicopter. It’s useful to remember that UK was all set to buy M777 for 3 and 16 Bdes, then an adult got involved and pointed out that the lack of heli lift meant that 155mm was not logistically sustainable over the distances required given the size of UK’s heli fleet.

x
x
November 19, 2012 9:42 am

@ Repulse re Wildcat

Yep I can see that but it so does fly in the face of logic. USN bought Penguin after GW1 because of Sea Skua. Their radar equipped but missile-less helicopters were cueing and designating targets for our radar-less but missile carrying helicopters. The UK buys arguable the world’s best naval helicopter, doesn’t buy a missile for it, and then downsizes her surface escort fleet. The Flying Frigate, the ultimate “module”, with ASW and (even withlimited) ASuW, would have gone some way to mitigating the horrendous fleet losses. Barking.

@ All re money

There is money. We just “choose” to borrow it for other uses.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 19, 2012 10:47 am

The ASuW picture is actually a perfect example of what happens when “joint” capability management meets budgetary pressure.

Way back when, we had a fleet with Sub-Harpoon, SHAR+Sea Eagle, GWS60 and GWS50, Lynx and Sea Skua. In extremis we had 4.5″ Mk8 SAP HE. We also had Tornado GR1b + Sea Eagle and Nimrod and Harpoon if required/available, courtesy of light blue.

First, Sub-Harpoon got binned, as there were plenty of surface ASuW assets and then the Red banner fleet was confirmed as having gone away as far as planning assumptions were concerned. The GWS50 ships retired without replacement. Then Sea Eagle got binned, which left ship-based GWS60, Lynx plus Skua and the Nimrod plus Harpoon, although whether the force had actually practised carrying, targetting etc in the last 10 years or so is debatable.

That leaves us now in a situation where unless I’m mistaken, the RAF have no effective ASuW capability. I’m sure if pushed they would say Typhoon & Brimstone or Tornado and EPW2, but they might have one or two issues trying to deliver those against a half-decent PDMS on anything much bigger than a FAC. Air Pongo can also lay claim to some capability with WAH64 plus Hellfire, however, the same vulnerabilities where there is some form of half-decent AD system apply.

The RN are little better with essentially GWS60 on the T23 (plus Skua & Lynx where carried) and Skua / Lynx on T45, obviously with 4.5″ Mk8 aplenty. Now OTH targetting of GWS60 with Merlin is good and of course if there’s an SSN about, Spearfish tends to end any arguments with “skimmers”. However, that’s a whole lot of ifs and buts supporting one of the primary tasks of a navy, which is to be able to sink the oppo’s ships.

How has this happened? A capability management system where “someone else will do it” becomes the default assumption when faced with a budgetary question, but the assumptions get more and more specious until the whole edifice collapses. It has been de rigeur for some time to suggest that there is no large surface combatant threat anymore. Good thing the world has stopped building / buying ships then……

Bob
Bob
November 19, 2012 11:17 am

The problem with the Merlin’s gearbox is the engine configuration. The original Westland WG.34 was a twin engined design for which it is much easier to design a gearbox. Once you get up to three engines life starts getting very complex indeed. Really the Merlin should have been built around two larger engines rather than the three RTM322’s, the original RTM.321 was actually even lower powered. The original WG.34 proof of concept test-rigs actually used a pair of General Electric T700- GE-401As before the requirement was scaled up to three engines as the Italian’s were brought on board. Of course the humorous thing is that one of the reasons for the RTM.322 was selected (the real reason obviously being it is an RR badged product) was it had a significant growth margin, potentially up-to 3,000shp, but the Merlin will never be able to use it because of the gearbox limitations.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 19, 2012 11:36 am

That may be what they used, but doesn’t explain why the GB entered service at maximum rated input power, with no growth potential. IIRC the driver behind the three engine requirement in the Merlin ST(S) was the requirement to continue mission (or at least recover from hover) with one engine out.

Simon
November 19, 2012 11:52 am

I wonder if the phrase “flying frigate” was a bad idea…

Someone (idiot) may have thought “with all these flying frigates, what do we need floating ones for?” ;-)

Cancel the 13th T26 and spend the money on a better Merlin gearbox? I’m assuming a few hundred million will cover it.

Anti Surface

Surely the same argument against Hellfire/Brimstone for anti-ship can be applied to any missile. Does this not then demonstrate that unless you can overwhelm the PDMS/CIWS, a single missile is not very effective given the vulnerability of the launch platform?

This the means sneakily getting in position to launch a torpedo.

Bob
Bob
November 19, 2012 11:56 am

Simples, they chose a configuration that demanded a highly complex gearbox which made designing it for higher SHP’s significantly harder, that combined with the fact that the whole programme was a scale-up rather than a linear design process and the end result is what it is.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 19, 2012 12:14 pm

No Bob. The requirement was for a three-shaft box. Irrespective of how many shp have to go into each shaft, why did the DA think they could persevere with a bodge of the WG34 box and who signed off on it? Particularly the bit where a GB enters service at max rating…..

Simon – no it can’t. The point about Hellfire / Brimstone is that the launch platform is within the effective range of the PDMS. Both the old SAN4 and the original NATO Sea Sparrow out-range those weapons. Yes, weight of attack is a major factor (which is why you wouldn’t limit yourself to one shot), but threat of losing your launch platform is a much bigger one.

Bob
Bob
November 19, 2012 1:59 pm

Not very good at reading are you?

Also don’t seem to know what you are talking about either. Very amusing.

Once again; a three shaft gear box is considerably harder to design and build than a two shaft one; by reducing the total SHP limit from the theoretical maximum of the engine configuration it becomes easier to design the gearbox. This was almost certainly tied into analysis that would have been done at the time stating what the maximum required SHP would be in any given scenario thus the box limit would be aligned with the expected maximum SHP requirement. This in the late 70s/early 80s when requirements were based in Northern Europe not the deserts of Afghanistan. Requirements change. Ultimately, if the Merlin really needed more power a new box could be designed.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 19, 2012 3:04 pm

No need for abuse Bob. Mr Pot & Mr Kettle seem to be applicable here.

Three shaft box more complex and harder to design. Easily understood.

Reducing input SHP from max engine rating reduces load (and therefore weight and size via safety factors) on individual gearbox components for a given material, also easily understood.

The interesting part is this supposed analysis that states the max SHP requirement vs scenarios. Now – you appear to be tying this to the Merlin HC3 requirement with references to Northern Europe rather than Afghanistan. The clear inference being that for a given MTOW, more SHP input is required in “hot & high” conditions. – Also fine, air density, rotor lift, easily understood.

However, that doesn’t answer the question of why the maritime variant – which was the original requirement and the driver for the third engine – was allowed to enter service with no margin for through-life weight growth (usually countered by uprating the engines) because the box could not accept any further input. This “analysis” you refer to appears to have taken a scenario max rating and not applied a through-life growth margin to it. That is a most unusual situation for a military aircraft and must have been signed off by someone, hence my question. It’s got nothing to do with requirements change or hot n’high ops and everything to do with the Design Authority for the aircraft and the MoD Acceptance Authority deliberately proceeding with / accepting a gearbox design that would not be fit for purpose through-life.

Of course you can redesign a new box (if you have enough bunce). What I was driving at was why this would be necessary in the first place. If you can read and understand this and are as knowledgeable as you profess to be, perhaps you could provide the answer?

Simon
November 19, 2012 5:01 pm

Sorry if I’m talking out of turn but…

Wasn’t the Merlin designed to just operate on two engines (certainly cruise and land). The third is there as a spare and to reduce normal operational load on the other two.

Sounds a little basic but surely this defines the maximum load as 3 x ~2000shp into the gearbox.

Are we saying it cannot deal with this (which is 50% more than is actually needed)?

WiseApe
November 19, 2012 5:47 pm

@NaB – “someone else will do it” – worryingly this is now applied not just between OUR forces, but between national forces. The “someone” is now the yanks, or the French, or Uncle Tom Cobley. Why is my spellchecker underlining – in red – “Cobley?” :-(

Re Merlin gearbox – might this affect it’s ability to fulfill Crowsnest requirement?

Challenger
Challenger
November 19, 2012 6:13 pm

How logically simple and pleasing would it have been to see a gradual build up of Merlin’s, first replacing the Navy’s anti submarine Sea King’s, then the commando ones, then having a batch fitted for Crows-nest and eventually have even more replace the RAF Puma’s.

Even the Lynx has lost most of it’s unique appeal when you realise that the smallest ship it will operate from will be the 5,000 ton T26 and they are roughly 15 million a pop.

Specialist Chinook’s and Apache’s complimented across the board by the jack of all trades Merlin, oh what could have been!

Mark
Mark
November 19, 2012 6:24 pm

Merlin is not overly complex per say it is a modern helicopter one of the very very few “modern” military helicopters flying which changes the game in terms of safety requirements. To get multiple roles in one helicopter drives biggers machine which is why Nh-90 is having some issues. The new mk2 will actually be slightly lighter than the mk1 and incorporate a major change in having electric actuators (HEAT) instead of hydraulic ones this will save maintenance hopefully by some margin a similar system is in f35. Merlin always got a bad rep for serviceability but that’s more to do with the system that supported the helicopter than the helicopter it’s self. There isn’t really a lot of difference now between military and civil airframes certain sizing parameters for civil a/c really make not much difference to military ones even for battle damage and with the move to composites nearly everything removeable any way as you can’t use rivets. The cost in the military systems is nearly always communications and avionics and there integration. The military will be receiving a number of very modern a/c over the next few years and tied in with new regulations its going to be a real challenge incorporating them into what appears from the outside an organisation which thru no fault of there own has been making do with stuff from the sixties and a civil word which has moved on.

The merlin like all helicopters suffers at altitude it can operate in the heat and did so in Iraq. It’s when you add heat and high it struggles given its size and expectation of what it should carry. It’s is the high area where the gearbox improvement would be most of benefit. Not sure merlin was ever specied for high altitude and you would have to see if the gearbox requirement was for an end of life requirement or not. If there wasn’t an end of life requirement then you get you get but it does seem strange that wasn’t included. There would be no effect on crowsnest that I could see.

Phil
November 19, 2012 7:20 pm

Shut up Not a Boffin. Bob knows all, don’t you listen?

Everyone else is just a foil to his gleaming brilliance.

God Bless us all for having the benefit of his balanced, interesting, and subtle input during the brief moments when he takes time off from his normal job of Chief Advisor to God.

Simon
November 19, 2012 7:37 pm

Mark,

If Merlin needs to be so big to accomdate all the roles then how the hell did Sea King manage to do TTT, ASW, AEW, SAR, etc?

NH90 is basically just a badly designed Sea King replacement – 10t :-(

x
x
November 19, 2012 7:45 pm

I thought God reported to Chief?

Mark
Mark
November 19, 2012 9:07 pm

Simon

Seaking and merlin aren’t that much different the slight bigger cab is due to crash worthiness improvements and other regs.

Simon
November 19, 2012 9:42 pm

Mark,

Slightly bigger cab? It’s 1.5 times the weight and burns 1.5 times the fuel! Merlin’s empty weight is almost the same as SK MTOW.

If one required 2/3 of the number of cabs to deliver the same effect then it’s great, however I don’t think this is the case, you still need 2-4 for AEW, and 6-9 for ASW.

The only area I think Merlin is great for is putting 25 troops 200nm into enemy territory, which is probably about double the distance that the Jungly could manage.

It gives no better AEW endurance and brings precious little more to the ASW party other than “systems” that could have been fitted into SK anyway (they’re going into NH90 so space and weight are not a problem). Is the assumed “excellent” ASW capability simply the fact that it can carry 48 sonobuoys? How many did SK carry?

I’d really like to see a side-by-side comparison for AEW, ASW and Tactical Troop Transport (I keep asking if TTT okay to use for this as it’s a pain to type ;-)).

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 19, 2012 9:52 pm

Simon, SK was old, Merlin is simply newer, bigger, faster and has more room for good systems and stuff onboard.

Sometimes we need to move on.

John Hartley
John Hartley
November 19, 2012 10:47 pm

Tony Osborne in Shephard Defence Helicopter magazine July 2012 ” PR12 also pays for an assessment to study options to marinise the Merlin Mk3 & 3A fleet, & it seems inevitable that there will be some sort of trade off in capability. The cost of converting a previously land based machine into a naval aircraft to deal with the rigours of life at sea could potentially end up being more expensive than a new build. Systems such as a folding main rotor head or tail boom will add more weight to an already heavy aircraft. Indeed, in the annals of aviation history such a conversion has never been attempted before. Maybe someone in the MoD needs to ask why?”

Phil
November 20, 2012 7:53 am

I’ve flown in both and I’m surprised to hear Merlin described as having a slightly bigger cab. Sea King felt cramped and was harder to get on and off with kit than a Merlin. You can just walk on and off a Merlin. There was no comparison to this laymans eyes.

Simon
November 20, 2012 7:58 am

APATS,

“Simon, SK was old, Merlin is simply newer, bigger, faster and has more room for good systems and stuff onboard.

Sometimes we need to move on.”

I rather like that statement. You’re right of course. I’m simply wondering why we don’t re-open the SK production line in Yeovil given that SK is a hugely successful and maintainable bird. The latter point (maintainability) is something I feel strongly about for military workhorses.

Mark
Mark
November 20, 2012 9:53 am

Phil

Yes you are correct merlin is a better cabin layout especially for the troop version the asw one doesn’t have the same back end. Merlin has pretty much identical main rotor dia to seaking it’s about 8ft longer which is the main difference and a couple of ft higher which may help them in side.

Simon

Its Safer several uk aircrew survived crashes because they were in merlin. It’s quiter better in icing conditions better range better endurance. It is maintainable provided the correct support structure is in place which it wasn’t in the early days. Ino everyone loves to hate it but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as bad as some make out.

Bob
Bob
November 21, 2012 10:18 pm

Phil has correctly summarised my position, thank you Phil, good to know you can post useful things periodically.

NaB,

Why? The assumption was probably that the maritime versions growth margin was already within the MTOW, ie the engine/transmission configuration already provided all the margin for weight growth that was required. The original requirement dated to 1978, the year before even the Soviet’s invaded Afghanistan so it would have been:

a) difficult to imagine deployment much beyond the North Atlantic
b) assumed that the type would have a 15-20 year life span at most

In 1978 it is highly unlikely that anyone would have been thinking of a mid-life engine upgrade.

Accusing people working in an era when the great Margaret Thatcher was still leader of the opposition of being malicious of incompetent for not realising that somewhere in in 2010+ period the helicopter they were considering might need more SHP is utterly absurd.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 21, 2012 11:01 pm

I used to work with an ex-RN Captain who wrote the ST(S) for Merlin, who had many tales of the development of the cab.

Back in 1978 if memory serves, the aircraft was merely a concept. The actual development, including gearbox was conducted between around 1987 and 1994 when the pre-production cabs were designed and built. More importantly that’s when the box was designed and built. By that time, the broad weight and configuration of the aircraft was known – it certainly would not have been much before 1984 at the very earliest.

When it entered service in 97 or so, the HM1 at MTOW 14800kg was at or near the box limit, so still nothing to do with Afghanistan or anywhere else, or indeed anything to do with 2010, other than it still needs fixing. Given that during the gestation of the Merlin in the 80s, the good old 1963 vintage SH3 design had gone from original Westland HAS1, through HAS2 and was in the process of upgrade to HAS5, all of which upped the weight, it is fairly inconceivable that weight growth (which happens to all aircraft) to some degree was not accounted for in the Merlin design. Certainly not by assuming that the service entry MTOW is going to be “it” for life.

So, sometime in the early 90s when the empty weight of the cab became clear, the payload was known and the box design(note design, NOT configuration) was finalised, someone made a decision that the box would be designed to the start of life MTOW and someone else accepted that. It’s done and dusted – no point trying to assign blame to people personally, just pointing out why it happened. It is also the reason why the weight reduction measures applied to the HC3 are so extreme (removal of tie down points etc), not least because they had a DAS to fit and by then had realised that Northern Europe might not be the operational theatre of choice.

If as Mark suggests, there has been some weight clawback in HM2, then great. It’s just a shame that a p1ss-poor decision compromised what could have been an absolute world-beater. That is what is absurd.

paul g
November 21, 2012 11:17 pm

one of my mates was attached to us green types from the senior service and he was on station when the merlin stoved in from about 30ft above the pan (memory is poor but i think it was the electric rotor brake, what’s wrong with a proper handle AW!!) anyhoo he can vouch that the gearbox can seriously ruin your day whacking onto the cabin floor! luckily nobody extra over the four crew members onboard at the time, who all escaped. He saw the cab afterwards, not pretty!

Bob
Bob
November 22, 2012 11:48 am

Unfortunately NaB its increasingly clear that you have little understanding of what you are talking about and are instead from that classic “somebody must be incompetent” school so I will abandon trying to descend to your level of fallacy.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 22, 2012 12:30 pm

That’s right Bob, when you can’t counter facts in an argument, resort to abuse and run away. Don’t let the door hit your @rse on the way out, eh?

Challenger
Challenger
November 22, 2012 5:26 pm

I have a helicopter related question concerning the RAF Puma fleet.

So they are getting upgrades to keep them in service until 2022, perhaps 2025. I would have simply used the cash to buy some new airframes, but whatever!

Are they merely being kept in service to plug the gap whilst the Merlin’s move across to the FAA and the new Chinook’s turn up, or is their a faint glimmer of hope that we might see another medium lift helo in the future to replace them?

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
November 22, 2012 5:30 pm

AIUI Puma 2 is being kept to provide a niche lift capability, beyond Wildcat, but able to get in where Merlin, Wokka can’t.

Quite what that requirement will be called, having kicked the can down the road for ten years or so, I don’t know.

x
x
November 22, 2012 5:39 pm

Apart from NH90 the only helicopter that I can find that matches just about Sea King’s spec’s is the Sikorksy S-92.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
November 26, 2012 7:31 pm

Another really picky post I’m afraid, but the USN didn’t adopt Penguin on the SH-60 in response to the Sea Skua’s performance in GW1. They’d adopted it in 1986 in a joint MoU with the Norwegians and the first eight test firings were by VX-1 in 1990. Penguin was intended to permit the engagement of Soviet surface combatants and it (in its AGM-119 form) is not discriminating enough to use in a crowded waterway where friendlies, neutrals and enemy civilian vessels might be about. For this reason they’d already (in the mid 80s) armed SH-2s with a combination of Maverick and 2.75″ rockets and subsequently armed SH-60s with HELLFIRE which they and MH-60s carry to this day. It does seem bonkers that Merlin isn’t getting a missile system, especially considering Wildcat is getting two. It will be relying on an enhanced version of a machinegun that first saw the light of day 91 years ago.

LL
LL
December 2, 2012 3:52 am

“Is the assumed “excellent” ASW capability simply the fact that it can carry 48 sonobuoys? How many did SK carry?”

None afaik. Only a sonar.
There is no comparison between the capabilities of both aircraft. EH 101 is much more faster, bigger, much more cabin space and heavier.
When Italians arrived also was to be operated into Mediterranean, the Italians btw have the AEW version.
But it always seemed a bit of luxury requirement to have such a big bird for ASW. But it is true that in cutway drawings at time they showed up with 4 torpedos while most others were with 2.

Peter
Peter
December 9, 2012 2:19 pm

Fact Sheet 8: Future Force 2020- Royal Air Force
states that the RAF’s support helicopter capability provide battlefield mobility from land and sea, and will be based on Chinooks, Pumas and Merlins.
So, it seems likely that RAF operated Merlins will provide Commando airlift, with RAF Merlins flown by RN aircrew.