Royal Navy Exercise Deep Blue

In June 2014, the Royal Navy’s new Merlin Mk2 helicopters took part in Exercise Deep Blue, off the south coast of England. The anti-submarine warfare exercise was designed to test the helicopters which were recently upgraded by Lockheed Martin UK through the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme

A few weeks old but an interesting video from Lockheed Martin on the Merlin HM2 and Exercise Deep Blue

Caption

In June 2014, the Royal Navy’s new Merlin Mk2 helicopters took part in Exercise Deep Blue, off the south coast of England. The anti-submarine warfare exercise was designed to test the helicopters which were recently upgraded by Lockheed Martin UK through the Merlin Capability Sustainment Programme. Nine Merlin Mk2s were involved in Deep Blue, the largest concentration of Merlins at sea. More than 250 Royal Navy personnel deployed on HMS Illustrious and HMS Westminster for the exercise which lasted several weeks

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RCT(V)
RCT(V)
January 2, 2015 10:03 am

It is suggested a big Public Relations (PR) “photo opportunity” was missed . . .

With “Nine Merlin Mk2s . . involved in Deep Blue, the largest concentration of Merlins at sea . . .”, one might have expected/hoped to get them all in the air at the same time, even if for -only- as long as it took the “film” them.

Sugarboat
Sugarboat
January 2, 2015 10:51 am

Any word from “boots in the air staff” as to how they felt the Mk2 faired?

Craig
Craig
January 2, 2015 4:05 pm

@RCT(V)

The RN site has a photo of all nine in formation departing Culdrose for Illustrious pre-exercise.

Scroll through the photo gallery

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2014/june/16/140616-exercise-deep-blue

The Other Chris
January 2, 2015 5:07 pm
Mark
Mark
January 2, 2015 5:57 pm

Toc

Must be photoshopped or did they us a years supply of spares in a couple of weeks

The Other Chris
January 2, 2015 7:44 pm

Must have borrowed them from the… oh wait, USN doesn’t have any 101’s… where the hell did they get nine flying Merlins from?

Does Putin know?

Topman
Topman
January 2, 2015 8:15 pm

Probably max effort for the week ;)

Mark
Mark
January 2, 2015 8:21 pm

Toc

Never mind Putin does the treasury know?

Rocket Banana
January 2, 2015 8:33 pm

9 out of 30 Merlin in the sky at once is a little like seeing 36 of the RAF’s Typhoons in the air at once.

I’ll sit here and wait for that picture to never turn up ;-)

Topman
Topman
January 2, 2015 8:38 pm

@ Simon

Like I said, max effort for the week ;)

The Other Chris
January 2, 2015 8:40 pm

As far as the Treasury are concerned they’re clearly Through-Deck Rotary OPV’s…

Beagle24
Beagle24
January 3, 2015 10:14 am

Any more news on upgrading the remaining 8 Mk1s?

30 airframes to cover 4 ASW squadrons plus the recently confirmed continuation of 849 seems a fantasy number.

monkey
monkey
January 3, 2015 11:30 am

@Beagle24
Indeed too few. In the above link the commander in charge said to have 2 on station 24/7 all nine would be needed.

The Other Chris
January 3, 2015 11:40 am

Three aircraft need nine. 1:08 in.

Challenger
Challenger
January 3, 2015 10:48 pm

@Beagle24

The latest info has said that 5 HM2’s will be undergoing maintenance at any one time (which is fair enough) leaving under current plans 25 allocated to front-line units.

14 will be for QE or PoW with the rest split between small ship’s flights and other bits and pieces like contributing to CASD protection and operating out of Bahrain in support of the current ops in the Gulf.

I agree that all told the Merlin fleet will be seriously stretched with just too much to do and not enough critical mass to cover all the bases and provide for the unexpected. The idea of maintaining 5 squadrons (even if they only had around 8 air-frames each) seems fanciful.

The latest rumours seem to suggest that at least 2 more HM1’s will get upgraded but this seems woefully inadequate.

Problem is the process isn’t cheap and the FAA, like everyone else, is severely stretched when it comes to running costs, manpower, support contracts etc.

Really hope at least a few get added to the fleet though.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
January 4, 2015 12:22 pm

@ Simon

“9 out of 30 Merlin in the sky at once is a little like seeing 36 of the RAF’s Typhoons in the air at once.

I’ll sit here and wait for that picture to never turn up”

Would you settle for 20 Super Hornets ;)

http://australianaviation.com.au/2011/10/raaf-receives-final-super-hornets/

monkey
monkey
January 4, 2015 1:25 pm

@ToC I should have been more specific 3 in the air, 1 in transit, 2 on station.
“We have nine Merlins Mk 2s onboard”, said Commander Ross Spooner, CO of 820 NAS and Commander of the MCAG. “What we anticipate to deliver throughout this exercise is protection for the Fleet. Three aircraft will be in the air at any one time, two of them on station 24 hours a day.”

The Other Chris
January 4, 2015 5:02 pm

Ahh, on-station vs in-the-air. Je comprend.