AW101 Merlin Helicopter (RN)

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Ron5
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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.

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ArmChairCivvy
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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)

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Tempest414
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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
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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?

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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

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ArmChairCivvy
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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)

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Jensy
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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.

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ArmChairCivvy
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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
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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.
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SW1
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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
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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.

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