AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

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Repulse
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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by Repulse »

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seaspear
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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by seaspear »

This is of course an article from last year concerning the U.S.N seeking remote launched U.A.v capable of detecting magnetic anomalys in detection of submarines only the Indian navies Poseidon operate with the magnetic anomay detector boom as per the contract it was thought by other nations that the operating heights of the aircraft that it would not be effective ,of course the Merlins operating in this role will be at a much lower altitude and slower there may be a case that the Merlins are also able to deploy uav,s as a support
https://www.militaryaerospace.com/unman ... tector-mad

Lord Jim
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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by Lord Jim »

Many nations have operated helicopters with MAD drogues n the past, which operated the same as the MAD booms on fixed win aircraft so I am assuming what we are looking at here is a next gen system able to detect a target far more accurately as possible deeper and from further away so that the detector does have to be flown directly over the target.

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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by abc123 »

Correct me if wrong, but aren't the most submarines today built of non-magnetic steel?
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Lord Jim
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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by Lord Jim »

Probably the most modern ones, but there are a lot of older ones out there, and these are being sold to other nations wanting a submarine arm. What this new MAD system brings to the table compared to older systems would be interesting to know but probably behind the door.

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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by SW1 »

Thought we didn’t put MAD on the bubba sub hunter because we didn’t need that anymore?

Lord Jim
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Re: Merlin helicopters

Post by Lord Jim »

I think it was more a case of that to keep things simple we would buy the exact same configuration a the US Navy rather than make the active decision that we didn't want a MAD boom. The USN was going to operate from medium altitude so didn't need one and that was as good a reason as any for us not to either. Keep the cost down priority one.

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SKB
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

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(NavyLookout) 7th April 2020
Lt Tom Lennon of 845 Naval Air Squadron provides a walk-around guide to the Merlin Mk4 helicopter deployed to the Caribbean with RFA Argus in the disaster relief and medical support role

bobp
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

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Great cockpit shot of a Merlin during Joint Warrior....


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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Reading on how the organisation (NAS Sqdrns) reflects what we keep saying here, the (ASW) Merlin numbers being overstretched:
- the primary sqdrn for providing flights to ships at sea maintains three flights, each with 4 a/c
- the back-up sqdrn stands ready to add one more flight

Looks OK then? 4 on each carrier and 4+4 on ASW escorts (8 being 'the' number, but all out at sea at the same time?)
- throw into this equation up to 8 AEW roll-on/ off sets... :?:

Add CSAR (in theory with SF Chinooks, but will any of those be boarded?). In Libya it was US assets on RN decks and also the exercising (on land) assumes that US assets will be available, as in " Point Blank is a low-cost initiative designed to increase tactical proficiency of Department of Defense and Ministry of Defence forces stationed within the United Kingdom and Europe".
- read RQSs with HH-60G Pave Hawks
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donald_of_tokyo
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

RN is thinking about UAVs to carry out air-to-air refuel, AEW, and even strike.

see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... INAL-O.pdf

In page 15, it states,
... ASW Merlin will regain mass with the transfer of AEW capability to an alternate platform.

If worked well, good news.

I'm wondering if the same UAV can deploy sonobuoys as well, to perform ASW tasks. In that case, Merlin number onboard CV can be reduced, enabling some ASW-Merlin to be used for T31 to "add" ASW capability to her. :D

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Poiuytrewq
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Poiuytrewq »

donald_of_tokyo wrote:....enabling some ASW-Merlin to be used for T31 to "add" ASW capability to her.
A good reason to ensure the T32 is fitted with an Absalon style double Merlin capable hanger!

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

donald_of_tokyo wrote:RN is thinking about UAVs to carry out air-to-air refuel, AEW, and even strike.

see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... INAL-O.pdf

In page 15, it states,
... ASW Merlin will regain mass with the transfer of AEW capability to an alternate platform.

If worked well, good news.

I'm wondering if the same UAV can deploy sonobuoys as well, to perform ASW tasks. In that case, Merlin number onboard CV can be reduced, enabling some ASW-Merlin to be used for T31 to "add" ASW capability to her. :D
If I remember correctly, in the slides, the UAV is shown as "finding" underwater targets. The role that will also be performed by the T26. Merlin is shown as "fixing" and "striking" said targets. I don't see how this would lead to a reduction of ASW Merlin on the carriers.

PS just deploying a Merlin on a T31 doesn't really convert that ship to an ASW asset. The ship needs sonar to determine where to send the Merlin.

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by NickC »

You would hope that frigates would be not be operating individually but in groups to be effective in protecting convoys, in later years of the Battle of the Atlantic nine escorts were used to allow detachments to split off and attack subs. If RN had the numbers of Merlin's operational, unlikely, flying one from a T31 would be a great asset if squadron led by a T23/T26.

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Lord Jim »

I like how both the UAS have been given names already, Vixen and Proteus, both not bad in my opinion. From how I see it these systems are mainly aimed at adding mass to the current manned fleets of F-35 and Merlin. This would be done by complimenting them in their primary roles as well as taking over others freeing up the manned platforms again to concentrate on their primary roles.

Vixen though opens up a number of major possibilities dependant on the size of platform they are looking at. To conduct AEW and AAR duties it will have to be of a similar size to the AAR UAS the USN is deploying. That is going to require Cats and Traps to operate effectively unless the Navy is looking at a large STOVL platform. The latter route would probably end up being an expensive option, whilst the former may open the Carriers up to being able to carry out CATOBAR operations with more conventional air platforms, maybe a naval TEMPEST!

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

Ron5 wrote:If I remember correctly, in the slides, the UAV is shown as "finding" underwater targets. The role that will also be performed by the T26. Merlin is shown as "fixing" and "striking" said targets. I don't see how this would lead to a reduction of ASW Merlin on the carriers.
Thanks. So, for clarity, what I meant is;
- 99% of ASW role is Finding. As such, 99% of the Merlins' task is Finding.
- "9 Merlin squadron" is designed to use Merlin not only for "fixing" and "striking", but primarily for "finding".
So, if it is only "fixing" and "striking", it can be reduced to 3 or 4 (or 5), I think.

# In addition, if it is only "striking", Wildcat with a new stub-wing carrying up to 4 Stingray can also be used. (but "fixing" needs Merlin, I agree)
PS just deploying a Merlin on a T31 doesn't really convert that ship to an ASW asset. The ship needs sonar to determine where to send the Merlin.
True.

But, adding a hull sonar to T31 is easy. Even adding a CAPTAS-4CI could be done, when needed = when funded. However, as Merlin production is not moving-on anymore, adding Merlin is not easy.

T31 with Merlin cannot do ASW in singleton. But, combined with P-8A, the ASW UAVs, or USV/UUVs, having one Merlin will provide a big difference. ALL ASW operation is not in singleton.

serge750
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by serge750 »

Call me a pessimist but by the time these systems are available, i'm thinking the merlin will be near to the end of its service life...

I hope im wrong though because it does sound a good capability to have the drones locating the subs 24/7 & early warning drones doing most of the work,

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SW1 »

I don’t think your wrong serge750 I think what your beginning to see is reasoning for why Merlin will be replaced by a smaller rotorcraft.

Dahedd
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Dahedd »

I'd like to think given how effective the Merlin is that they would realise the benefit of keeping production going. Just look at how old the Chinook is for example.

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SW1 »

Dahedd wrote:I'd like to think given how effective the Merlin is that they would realise the benefit of keeping production going. Just look at how old the Chinook is for example.
I’m afraid that’s the problem the RN like it in the asw role but no one else does. It’s generally regarded as large overly complex and expensive. It’s reputation in the support helicopter role is poor in comparison to what else is on offer. It doesn’t sell that well.

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Lord Jim »

But what, if any programmes are underway to develop a new ship based ASW platform? programmes for land based rotorcraft are pretty common at present but little seem to be on the horizon for naval platforms. Maybe this is an area where Leonardo UK could place its flag, being the centre of development for such a platform that would eventually replace the Merlin, NH-90 and other ASW helicopters in Europe and further afield? That would secure the UK manufacturing base and have a ready market. Maybe it could be a joint European project with Leonardo teaming up with Airbus? Could it be a variant of the new European Future Medium Rotorcraft programme that has just got started?

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

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
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by SW1 »

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.

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote: a development of the aw149/189 airframe to an asw variant with Japan perhaps.
Kawasaki did build an ASW version, using a Vertol base. So not impossible
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)

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Re: AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

Lord Jim wrote:Could it be a variant of the new European Future Medium Rotorcraft programme that has just got started?
Yes, that international program that was recently kicked off, is specifically targeted at a Merlin replacement as well as Puma. The UK is leading the concept phase currently underway.

The hints dropped by the lead guy have indicated high speed as not being of great interest right now but ease of maintenance and upgrade are top of the list. The slides released a few days ago on the future RN, indicated that a manned helo based ASW capability would be required into the future.

It's said by many that Merlin ended up larger than the RN wanted because the Italian partners insisted on it being large enough to carry a significant load of marines. I don't know if that is true. If it is, maybe the new helo would be smaller than Merlin.

Personally I don't see the present program surviving. I'm sure France and Germany are there in a spoiling role to make sure Airbus products are not adversely impacted. But the medium helo opportunity is huge worldwide and it would be rather short sighted to concede it all to the US.

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