Merlin Helicopters

Defence written question – answered on 20th October 2008.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) in-service and (b) operational delivery dates are of each of the six Merlin helicopters procured from Denmark.

Photo of Quentin Davies Quentin Davies Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Defence Equipment and Support)

The Merlin helicopters acquired from Denmark are known as Merlin Mk3a, when converted.

The first Merlin Mk3a was delivered to 78 Squadron on 22 January 2008 and the second on 31 January. The initial Release to Service (flight clearance) was signed on 21 January this year. Since then, aircraft have been incrementally modified to keep a maximum number available to the forward fleet. An Initial Operating Capability (IOC) was agreed by Joint Helicopter Command on 31 March for two aircraft. By 30 July, five aircraft had been delivered to RAF Benson for tasking. The sixth helicopter will be returned to RAF Benson next month, following completion of specialist communications testing which is normal for a new class of aircraft.

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