Two Commando Helicopter Force Merlin Mk3 helicopters on exercise in northern Norway
Two Commando Helicopter Force Merlin Mk3 helicopters from 846 Naval Air Squadron on exercise with Royal Marine Commando's from Whisky Company 45 Commando near Harstad northern Norway.
Royal Navy personnel from Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) 846 Naval Air Squadron normally based at Royal Air Force Benson in Oxfordshire conducting Arctic flying and ground training in Norway.
Situated some 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle at the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) training facility near Bardufoss, northern Norway, the JHC base known as Clockwork provides survival and operational training and support facilities to enable aviation capable units arms to survive, operate and fight in extreme cold weather environments.
JHC Clockwork has provided Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) with an Arctic base for over 40 years the training provided by the facility is as relevant today as it has always been. It enables CHF to prepare for future operations and is fundamental to the delivery of littoral manoeuvre for the Royal Navy given the geography and excellent facilities that exist in the local area.
Merlin Mk3 is a new aircraft type for the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF). It will advance capability for the primary customer, The Royal Marines.
To take on the demanding Commando Role (from ship to shore operations) the current Merlin Mk3 fleet will undergo an upgrade package through an interim model. It will then move towards the advanced Merlin Mk4. This will further increase the capability of this proven battlefield helicopter
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RAF Merlin HC3A Helicopter of No28 Sqn
A Royal Air Force Merlin HC3A helicopter is pictured during a training flight over Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.
The Merlin (Bird of prey) HC3 and HC3a are operated by No.28 (AC) Squadron and 78 Squadron at RAF Benson.
No.78 Squadron was re-formed on 3 Dec 07 to allow for the increase in aircraft after the purchase of the 6 Danish Merlin HC3a earlier in 2007.
The Merlin is the first of a new generation of advanced, medium support helicopters for the RAF. It is an all weather, day and night, multi-role helicopter used in both tactical and strategic operational roles.
The aircraft carries an impressive defensive-aids suite, which includes a Radar and Laser Warning Receiver, Missile Approach Warners and Directional Infrared Countermeasures equipment, all integrated with an automatic chaff and flare dispensing system.
This is one of the most comprehensive defensive aids suites fitted to any helicopter in the world. To ensure accurate navigation anywhere on the globe, the aircraft's management computers take data from its laser-gyro, inertial-navigation platform and its doppler system and from air data sources, and combine the information with precise position data received from Global Positioning System satellites.
Navigation at night is enhanced by the crew's use of display night-vision goggles and by the aircraft's multi-function turret, which can be fitted with forward- looking infrared radar. To increase the aircraft's range, the Merlin can be equipped with extended range fuel tanks and is capable of air-to-air refuelling, although this option is not currently used by the RAF. It is also fitted with an active vibration-damping system, which reduces the level of noise and vibration inside the cabin to a level no greater than that of a turboprop aircraft. As a result, crew fatigue is much reduced during long transits and airframe life is increased
Merlin Helicopter Releasing Decoy Flares
As the sun goes down over the Indian Ocean, HMS Northumberland's Merlin helicopter sends more than 100 decoy flares cascading through the sky.
In the middle of her counter-piracy and counter-drugs work, the Devonport-based frigate's helicopter tested one of the many tricks in her box her flares.
These are installed to decoy incoming heat-seeking missiles fired either by other aircraft, or ground-based threats - drawing them away from the helicopter's engines on to a much hotter target.
A crew of four Fleet Air Arm personnel two pilots, one observer and one aircrewman plus nine engineers and technicians, and an aircraft controller, who oversee sorties from Northumberland's operations room in the bowels of the frigate, are responsible for the helicopter, which is embarked for the duration of the deployment.
The Merlin is one of several Flights (in this case 05) provided by 829 Naval Air Squadron in Culdrose, Cornwall, to Type 23 frigates for operations around the globe.
HMS Northumberland took over from her sister HMS Sutherland at the end of November and will be prowling some of the 2 million square miles of sea that's more than eight times the size of the North Sea which is the domain of the international maritime security effort in the region until the spring