AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
Ron5
Donator
Posts: 6440
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:42
Has liked: 49 times
Been liked: 32 times
United States of America

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

SW1 wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote:
SW1 wrote: It doesn’t sell that well.
The same qualities that the RN appreciates (in having a work horse for the middle of the Atlantic, in most weathers) has found quite a few customers in niche roles: CSAR, SAR...
Lord Jim wrote:Could it be a variant of the new European Future Medium Rotorcraft programme that has just got started?
Considering that the market (as per above) is also a niche, though a slightly bigger one... yes, this is the only realistic possibility
- consider the Koreans buying the v expensive Wildcats as flying artillery for the Marines, and then buying Romeos for their Navy ASW
There’s a handful of countries that have bought it for search and rescue and vip transport due to long range as you say a niche product. There is 30 asw helicopters variants in the RN and 8 in the Italian navy and that’s about it compared to about 900 Seahawks worldwide.

The Americans are playing around with firescout and Europeans by and large still bringing in nh90. So I guess there isn’t huge urgency out there at present. Between leonardo and Ultra the Uk certainly has the systems side covered from the platform is an open question. But I would say this if the leonardo went and designed an asw helicopter variant and the RN didn’t buy it, it won’t sell overseas as no one is buying something the home nation won’t.

What would u be looking for in something that sells? easier to operate, cheap to run easy to integrate things on are we willing to take the performance trade offs to make that happen I don’t know. If you wanted a suggestion a development of the aw149/189 airframe to an asw variant with Japan perhaps.
Merlin won the competition for the US Presidential transport helo. Later politics overturned the decision tho.

BTW The RAF hate Merlin. 99% because it's a navy machine :D Their assessments are not to be trusted.

User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 16310
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Has liked: 77 times
Been liked: 73 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Ron5 wrote:Merlin won the competition for the US Presidential transport helo.
The Minuteman guarding config was much more interesting
Ron5 wrote:BTW The RAF hate Merlin. 99% because it's a navy machine
... and that has by now been settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties

While the Merlin replacement is yonks (in years) away, the interesting bit in this new structure is that will the Chinooks (as a tactical transport stand-in) be the only rotary asset operated by the RAF
- the Army does not have any fixed-wing a/c (not counting WK that needs a runway) left
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

User avatar
Tempest414
Senior Member
Posts: 3830
Joined: 04 Jan 2018, 23:39
Has liked: 60 times
Been liked: 226 times
France

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Tempest414 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Merlin won the competition for the US Presidential transport helo.
The Minuteman guarding config was much more interesting
Ron5 wrote:BTW The RAF hate Merlin. 99% because it's a navy machine
... and that has by now been settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties

While the Merlin replacement is yonks (in years) away, the interesting bit in this new structure is that will the Chinooks (as a tactical transport stand-in) be the only rotary asset operated by the RAF
- the Army does not have any fixed-wing a/c (not counting WK that needs a runway) left
The RAF did not hate Merlin it just fell between the two types it already had and it was to big to fit in small areas like Puma and to small compared to Chinook

Ron5
Donator
Posts: 6440
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:42
Has liked: 49 times
Been liked: 32 times
United States of America

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

ArmChairCivvy wrote: Chinook .... the only rotary asset operated by the RAF
Won't the interim Puma replacement be operated by the RAF?

Defiance
Donator
Posts: 870
Joined: 07 Oct 2015, 20:52
Has liked: 29 times
Been liked: 48 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Defiance »

Ron5 wrote:
ArmChairCivvy wrote: Chinook .... the only rotary asset operated by the RAF
Won't the interim Puma replacement be operated by the RAF?
Joint Helicopter Command apparently

User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 16310
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Has liked: 77 times
Been liked: 73 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Defiance wrote: Joint Helicopter Command apparently
Isn't the Air Combat Bde the new 'name' for that?

Hence my question as to:
- the RAF has run down the intra-theatre transports
... probably because most, if not all, of that stuff can be done by Chinooks

Will that be the special 'quality' and the reason why they will stay with the RAF also in the future?
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

User avatar
Jensy
Member
Posts: 699
Joined: 05 Aug 2016, 19:44
Has liked: 220 times
Been liked: 86 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Jensy »

Following on from the discussion on the Crowsnest thread.

From Flight Global:

UK extends Merlin operations until 2040

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 23.article
UK defence officials have quietly extended the out-of-service date for the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Leonardo Helicopters AW101 Merlin rotorcraft under plans that will now see the heavy-twins operating until 2040.

Until recently, the RN’s 30 Merlin HM2 anti-submarine warfare helicopters were due to retire in 2029, while 25 Merlin HC4/4As, flown by the service’s Commando Helicopter Force, would follow a year later.
But in response to a question from FlightGlobal, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) says that the retirement dates have been pushed back.

“The Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper identified Merlin Mk2 and Mk4 as forming part of the Royal Navy’s contribution to Integrated Force 2030, with an extended [out-of-service date] of 2040. As such there is no follow-on programme required at this time,” the MoD states.

Although the Merlins were listed in the Command Paper, issued in March, as being part of the RN’s force in 2030, there was no indication that the out-of-service date had been extended.

Indeed, Leonardo Helicopters at the end of May indicated to journalists that although it anticipated the Merlin’s service-life would be extended, there had been no confirmation from the MoD.

However, it says that “obsolescence issues” would need to be addressed to allow the AW101s to fly until 2040.
Further mention of Crowsnest OSD in the relevant thread.

User avatar
ArmChairCivvy
Senior Member
Posts: 16310
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:34
Has liked: 77 times
Been liked: 73 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

From the scoping of the domestic 'medium helicopter competition' one could have as much as guessed that
... now the real question is the spec (TBA) for the NATO medium helo prgrm. The tolerance for the first one rolling out and the Merlins going is ONLY 5 years in between
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

Ron5
Donator
Posts: 6440
Joined: 05 May 2015, 21:42
Has liked: 49 times
Been liked: 32 times
United States of America

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

From Flight ..
Gearbox tests to validate torque increase on AW101 helicopters

By Dominic Perry20 July 2021

Leonardo Helicopters is hoping next year to conduct a hot and high test campaign in the USA of a main gearbox (MGB) upgrade for the AW101 that will significantly increase lift capability.

Designed to use the additional power already available from the type’s three GE Aviation CT7-8E engines – each rated at 2,527shp (1,884kW) – the project is focussed on increasing the MGB’s torque rating at take-off power to 117%.

Currently, the AW101’s transmission is rated at 5,580shp at maximum take-off power.

UK Royal Navy plans to retain Merlin fleet until 2040

Leonardo Helicopters says the self-funded initiative has been under way since early 2020, led by its site at Yeovil in the UK, the location of the AW101’s final assembly line.

“This programme brings significant benefits in lift capability, hover performance, and one engine inoperative conditions,” says the manufacturer.

No modifications to the MGB are required, with changes instead focussed on the engines’ FADEC system, and aircraft management and cockpit display systems.

Endurance testing of the MGB will demonstrate that it can handle the new torque rating without a significantly increased maintenance burden.

Hot and high flight tests are provisionally scheduled to take place in the USA in 2022, leading to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval the following year.

FAA validation is necessary as the CT7 is a civil-certificated engine.

The enhanced capability will be delivered to some existing operators and all new AW101 customers, says the manufacturer.

Leonardo Helicopters could potentially offer the upgrade to the UK Ministry of Defence as part of a broader package of improvements to enable operation of the Royal Navy’s AW101 Merlins until 2040. Those helicopters are powered by Safran RTM322 engines.

Other customers – notably the Royal Canadian Air Force – are also considering upgrades to their AW101 fleets.

Meanwhile, the first of four AW101s for the Polish navy performed its maiden flight at Yeovil on 19 July.

Warsaw ordered the helicopters in 2019. They will be used for anti-submarine warfare and combat search and rescue missions.

Leonardo Helicopters’ Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik is prime contractor for the order. During a late May visit to Yeovil an initial three helicopters for Poland were in various stages of final assembly.
Image

SW1
Senior Member
Posts: 3614
Joined: 27 Aug 2018, 19:12
Has liked: 132 times
Been liked: 319 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SW1 »

Gd there getting round to doing something about an issue that has been the a/cs Achilles heal since the 90s.

Some say the mk4 modifications make the a/c almost unusable as a transport aircraft out east when it’s hot.

tomuk
Member
Posts: 563
Joined: 20 Dec 2017, 20:24
Has liked: 5 times
Been liked: 93 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by tomuk »

IIRC the gearbox issue is down to the workshare between UK/Italy on the original programme. Westlands had the experience and a design on hand for a new higher torque gearbox but due to the workshare agreement Agusta got to build the gearbox which is a modified Sea King one.

User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7655
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
Has liked: 80 times
Been liked: 218 times
England

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SKB »


donald_of_tokyo
Senior Member
Posts: 4695
Joined: 06 May 2015, 13:18
Has liked: 239 times
Been liked: 248 times
Japan

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Defence Equipment Plan 2021 page.33
... the Merlin helicopters to be extended in service from 2029 until 2040 ....

Good.

Timmymagic
Donator
Posts: 2728
Joined: 07 May 2015, 23:57
Has liked: 77 times
Been liked: 265 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Timmymagic »

I know we often say that Frigates equipped with Merlin suffer from having no access to Sea Venom or Martlet as they are not integrated, and that even with an OSD of 2040 there is little to no chance of Merlin ever being equipped with either weapon system.

But...there is another option. I didn't realise they'd actually trialled this, but it happened back in 2009.

Merlin with .50 cal Gun Pods, .50 Cal Gun and Rocket pods and 12-shot rocket pods...although its not Martlet or Sea Venom capability the ability to carry laser guided 70mm rockets and/or .50 cal pods would provide a fair bit of dissuasion for any Fast Attack Craft wanting to get close...more so than a pintle mounted GPMG.

Merlin with 12 round pods

Image

FN Herstal .50cal pods with 3 x 70mm rockets.

Image

Believe its the RMP LC and HMP 400LC in the video below

Image

Thales Belgium (Forge De Zeebrugge) 12 round rocket pod

Image

Video of AW-101 and A109 LUH conducting gunnery and rocket trials....a Merlin firing rockets is quite the sight...the pods are tiny on her.

These users liked the author Timmymagic for the post (total 2):
SKBdonald_of_tokyo

User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7655
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
Has liked: 80 times
Been liked: 218 times
England

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SKB »

:o Yes! An Airwolf Merlin! :clap:

tomuk
Member
Posts: 563
Joined: 20 Dec 2017, 20:24
Has liked: 5 times
Been liked: 93 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by tomuk »

.50 cal in pods is possibility as they would be carrying ammo for the ships .50 cal anyway plus cheap as chips.
Rocket pods, not such a fan, more logistics and stocks to deal with just fit Martlet and/or Sea Venom I can't see any reason why you couldn't apart from the integration/clearance costs.

The Merlin has a certain air of menace in that video but the Aw109 looks awful needs some stealth facets.

Timmymagic
Donator
Posts: 2728
Joined: 07 May 2015, 23:57
Has liked: 77 times
Been liked: 265 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Timmymagic »

tomuk wrote: 23 Jun 2022, 20:36 Rocket pods, not such a fan, more logistics and stocks to deal with just fit Martlet and/or Sea Venom I can't see any reason why you couldn't apart from the integration/clearance costs.
Integration and clearance is precisely the reason, Sea Venom in particular would be an expensive integration effort. But 3 or 12 APKWS per pod would be a hell of a capabilty to have. The Wescam MX-15 turrets already carried can lase the target. However, it does need to be said that the turrets starboard mounting isn't perfect for weapon deployment from there. A .50 cal on the starboard weapons pylon and 12 round rocket pod of the the Port might be the best set-up that could be achieved, don't think you'd want rocket efflux that close to the Wescam.

User avatar
RichardIC
Senior Member
Posts: 1295
Joined: 10 May 2015, 16:59
Has liked: 20 times
Been liked: 55 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by RichardIC »

Fitting forward firing gun pods and unguided rockets on Merlin would be monumental act of stupidity. That’s the way the Americans lost many hundreds of helicopters over Vietnam 50 years ago. And they could afford to.

Timmymagic
Donator
Posts: 2728
Joined: 07 May 2015, 23:57
Has liked: 77 times
Been liked: 265 times
United Kingdom

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Timmymagic »

RichardIC wrote: 24 Jun 2022, 12:38 Fitting forward firing gun pods and unguided rockets on Merlin would be monumental act of stupidity. That’s the way the Americans lost many hundreds of helicopters over Vietnam 50 years ago. And they could afford to.
And yet they still do...

And laser guided rockets with 8km range are a thing.

User avatar
SKB
Senior Member
Posts: 7655
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:35
Has liked: 80 times
Been liked: 218 times
England

Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SKB »


Image

Post Reply