HMS Queen Elizabeth. 3 years, no jets then scrapped.

Italy also uses them for CSAR, Denmark uses them, Norway also.

It also was selected for Marine one, but pork barrel politics go in its way. Similar to the MRTT.
 

Yokel

LE
At the time, of the two launch customers, Italy ordered 20, (only 10 for ASW) we ordered 66, 44 RN, 22 RAF . We got the biggest bite of the merde sandwich.
Very few have been sold to naval operators since.

FWIW, there is an aweful lot of empty space in a HM Merlin due to its huge size.
So what you are saying is that if all 66 UK Merlins had been delivered to the RN as HM1s, we would be sorted as far as ASW cab numbers? I wonder what the Jungles would be flying?

I once saw a book on helicopter design - something for the hardcore calculus fetishist. However I do know a little bit about systems integration and basic Physics and Maths, so I will take a guess that:

1. That empty space is what gives Merlin HM2 a 3.8 tonne lift capacity. So really it has a mass of a lot less that 15 tonnes, most of the times. That spare capacity gives it range. @jrwlynch does this make sense? More 'spare space' = capacity = more range and endurance?

2. Whether by design or accident, the extra hour and a half sortie time must make Ripple 3 ASW operations easier. Someone can probably do the Maths (Little's theorem?) and work out how many aircraft you need to keep two on station at say 100nm from the carrier if each aircraft has an endurance of 3.5 hours. Now repeat that with an aircraft that can fly for 5 hours...

3. On the Carrier Strike thread, an ex RN type commented that aboard the Invincible's Merlin squadrons often embarked with six aircraft. Could they achieve the same level of dipping as nine Sea King HAS6? Would a squadron of nine give you are good margin for unserviceability and secondary roles like ASuW surface search and ISTAR, VERTREP, HDS, and SAR?

4. Merlin was unlikely to be purchased in the ASW role for navies that do not have carriers. Portugal has Super Lynx with dipping sonar, and the South Koreans having Wildcats similarly equipped, but Lynx/Wildcat cannot achieve the same endurance. Why not?
 
So what you are saying is that if all 66 UK Merlins had been delivered to the RN as HM1s, we would be sorted as far as ASW cab numbers? I wonder what the Jungles would be flying?

I once saw a book on helicopter design - something for the hardcore calculus fetishist. However I do know a little bit about systems integration and basic Physics and Maths, so I will take a guess that:

1. That empty space is what gives Merlin HM2 a 3.8 tonne lift capacity. So really it has a mass of a lot less that 15 tonnes, most of the times. That spare capacity gives it range. @jrwlynch does this make sense? More 'spare space' = capacity = more range and endurance?

2. Whether by design or accident, the extra hour and a half sortie time must make Ripple 3 ASW operations easier. Someone can probably do the Maths (Little's theorem?) and work out how many aircraft you need to keep two on station at say 100nm from the carrier if each aircraft has an endurance of 3.5 hours. Now repeat that with an aircraft that can fly for 5 hours...

3. On the Carrier Strike thread, an ex RN type commented that aboard the Invincible's Merlin squadrons often embarked with six aircraft. Could they achieve the same level of dipping as nine Sea King HAS6? Would a squadron of nine give you are good margin for unserviceability and secondary roles like ASuW surface search and ISTAR, VERTREP, HDS, and SAR?

4. Merlin was unlikely to be purchased in the ASW role for navies that do not have carriers. Portugal has Super Lynx with dipping sonar, and the South Koreans having Wildcats similarly equipped, but Lynx/Wildcat cannot achieve the same endurance. Why not?


Rather than buy EH101/Merlin in quantity, the Italians bought arms loads of a Sea King sized helicopter, the NH90, the same size helicopter the RN actually wanted.
And check out its endurance, yes…… 5 hours.

The RN never bought another Merlin after the first batch it was forced to buy, even when the Merlins development costs were written off and it was actually quite cheap.
After 20 years in service, it still remains stubbornly unreliable - but It was a fatally compromised design right off the drawing board with no growth left in its overly complex transmission. Yes, you read that right, it entered service with the transmission at the end of its tether, every pound of weight its gained over the years just added more stress to an already at its design limits transmission - so you cant just chuck in more SHP as they gain weight, and helicopters never get lighter with age.
 

Yokel

LE
Rather than buy EH101/Merlin in quantity, the Italians bought arms loads of a Sea King sized helicopter, the NH90, the same size helicopter the RN actually wanted.
And check out its endurance, yes…… 5 hours.

The RN never bought another Merlin after the first batch it was forced to buy, even when the Merlins development costs were written off and it was actually quite cheap.
After 20 years in service, it still remains stubbornly unreliable - but It was a fatally compromised design right off the drawing board with no growth left in its overly complex transmission. Yes, you read that right, it entered service with the transmission at the end of its tether, every pound of weight its gained over the years just added more stress to an already at its design limits transmission - so you cant just chuck in more SHP as they gain weight, and helicopters never get lighter with age.
I am not an expert on the Merlin or helicopters in general, but when aircrew from 814/820/824 NAS, or PWO(U) types say it is good and better than MH-60R why should I have any reason to disbelieve them? When I spoke to some Merlin aircrew at 824 NAS they seemed to think serviceability was alright.

A post or so ago you said the Merlin was full of empty space, now you are saying it struggles with every pound? Some how come it has a lift capacity of over three tonnes?

@jrwlynch is my thinking logical? If the design was that poor then how come there have thankfully been few accidents?

You say the RN has not bought a single extra Merlin, but it has not bought any similar sized helicopter either. Maybe, with cuts, cuts, and cuts, a widespread belief that ASW was a thing of the past, the Admiral could not simply pick up the phone and ask for more?
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Italy also uses them for CSAR, Denmark uses them, Norway also.

It also was selected for Marine one, but pork barrel politics go in its way. Similar to the MRTT.
13 Countries Airforces and Navies use Merlin for Military CSR and VIP transport, there are around 200 in service around the globe.
 

Yokel

LE
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces uses them for airborne Mine Counter Measures - I presume they also do ASW.

I think it was @Magic_Mushroom who pointed out that a large part of NATO (and others) do not attach the same priority to deep water, task group ASW as ourselves. Perhaps this explains why sales have been limited? The argument that the RN would have ordered more if it was any good is also rather silly.

Next he will say the F-14 Tomcat was a rubbish carrier fighter and no good for fleet air defence, as only one navy bought it.
 

Londo

LE
Never even seen a Merlin flying but some years ago sat in a few half built air frames at Yeovil , was quite impressed by the size of them . Wish we could have afforded more of them .
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Next he will say the F-14 Tomcat was a rubbish carrier fighter and no good for fleet air defence, as only one navy bought it.
Oo, no, no, no...

One Navy and one Air Force. :-D

I get bored of the ‘it’s only any good if it made export sales’ line.

And as noted above, the Merlin has done quite well internationally. The only problem with it, as far as I can see, is that we have too few. Remember - we’d already had to buy some back for the RAF from another country.

Our threat is evolving. Russia is restive and the subs it has are rather good. The P-8 buy is an acknowledgment of that. There again, we’ve bought too few.

Maritime needs resourcing, and that means people, too.

(Yes, I know... defence in the round needs resourcing.)
 
After 20 years in service, it still remains stubbornly unreliable -
Its a bloody helicopter - stubbornly unreliable is as good as it gets

I doubt it is any worse than our AS355s which regularly tried to self immolate from switch panels and redistribute rotor heads over a large Area** or spit turbine blades.

Or certain other types who would only start if it was above 20c and the day contained no vowels

**Only avoided by the inspection times for sair item reducing from 500, 200, 100, 50, 30 10 hours etc
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I see Meerkatz is an expert about Maritime airpower too. Where does he find the time? I wish I'd done all the training and got the operational experience he obviously has.
 
I am not an expert on the Merlin or helicopters in general, but when aircrew from 814/820/824 NAS, or PWO(U) types say it is good and better than MH-60R why should I have any reason to disbelieve them? When I spoke to some Merlin aircrew at 824 NAS they seemed to think serviceability was alright.

A post or so ago you said the Merlin was full of empty space, now you are saying it struggles with every pound? Some how come it has a lift capacity of over three tonnes?

@jrwlynch is my thinking logical? If the design was that poor then how come there have thankfully been few accidents?

You say the RN has not bought a single extra Merlin, but it has not bought any similar sized helicopter either. Maybe, with cuts, cuts, and cuts, a widespread belief that ASW was a thing of the past, the Admiral could not simply pick up the phone and ask for more?
Merlin came off the drawing board with an under specified gearbox. It’s been at the limit of its power handling from the start. It’s the root cause if so much if it’s terrible usability record.

It’s MTOW has its upper limit set in stone by that fundamental problem. Try and put on a heavier load, the computer say no. It’s load lifting capacity is terrible for a helicopter of it’s size.
There was zero weight growth allowance in the Merlin design, not a pound. You want to lift more weight or add something to the basic airframe? Something has to be taken out or off.
Why do you think the RAF was so happy to be rid of them and kept its old Pumas?

The disc area is too small for the size of the helicopter and driven very fast, it’s maxed out. To increase its MTOW would require more powerful engines, (available) but that would need a new gearbox and bigger rotors, but you can’t have bigger rotors as it would only fit on carriers then.

It’s what happens when you set fundamental rotor size limits first, (no bigger than a Sea king) then decide you want a much bigger helicopter (50% bigger than a sea king) after the gearbox design has been signed off for production. A completely ass backwards way of designing a helicopter. Politically driven International collaboration at its worst.

Why didn’t the RN buy more helicopters? It didn’t need to, it always had plenty of Sea Kings kicking about and spent it’s money keeping them going as long as possible rather than buy any more Merlins. Now? All the sea kings are gone and It’s carry on with Merlin until the Americans decide what comes next and buy that.
New Merlins are not an option, the next medium helicopter buy will the Bell or Sikorsky winner of the Future Vertical Lift program.
 
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Yokel

LE
Did the RN still have lots of ASW Sea King HAS6 in service post 2000/2001/2002? Did the RN ever deploy old ASW Sea Kings in lieu of Merlin aboard the CVS, RFAs, or Type 23s? No! The Royal Navy did not operate the Sea King HAS6 alongside the the Merlin HM1. I know a few old SK6 went to the Gulf in a utility tole in 2003, but the Merlin was also there in an ISTAR role.

THE POLITICIANS ETC PERCEIVED LITTLE OR NO NEED FOR ASW CAPABILITIES DURING THE PERIOD OF EVERYTHING BEING SAND BASED - HENCE FRIGATE NUMBERS GOT CUT, AND ASW AIRCRAFT WERE NOT ORDERED.

Paging @wafubustard and @Not a Boffin.
 

wafubustard

War Hero
As above the last ASW Seaking went out of service in 2004.
There were still utility Seaking flying until 771 Sqdn closed a few years ago.
The last Seaking Mk6 went in 2006 (I believe) when 771 A & B Flts closed. They had been flying Mk6 with all the ASW sonar removed. The crewmans position had been retained to allow him to operate radios and give him a seat.
 

orgASMic

War Hero
Oo, no, no, no...

One Navy and one Air Force. :-D

I get bored of the ‘it’s only any good if it made export sales’ line.

And as noted above, the Merlin has done quite well internationally. The only problem with it, as far as I can see, is that we have too few. Remember - we’d already had to buy some back for the RAF from another country.

Our threat is evolving. Russia is restive and the subs it has are rather good. The P-8 buy is an acknowledgment of that. There again, we’ve bought too few.

Maritime needs resourcing, and that means people, too.

(Yes, I know... defence in the round needs resourcing.)
From Denmark, 6 airframes I think, and they were a different spec. ISTR they did not have the armoured floor, so could not go to Iraq. Fleets within fleets once again.
 
...From Denmark, 6 airframes I think, and they were a different spec. ISTR they did not have the armoured floor, so could not go to Iraq. Fleets within fleets once again...
Correct.

The RAF never wanted Merlin in the first place (we'd asked for more Chinooks) and it had mixed success in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 6 RDAF Merlins (designated HC3A in RAF service) were at a different standard so only used for UK training tasks. All the HC3s and 3As were transferred to the RN and subsequently upgraded to the HC4 standard (albeit at some cost to the number of stored pingers that we had).

Regards,
MM
 
As above the last ASW Seaking went out of service in 2004.
There were still utility Seaking flying until 771 Sqdn closed a few years ago.
The last Seaking Mk6 went in 2006 (I believe) when 771 A & B Flts closed. They had been flying Mk6 with all the ASW sonar removed. The crewmans position had been retained to allow him to operate radios and give him a seat.

RN showed no inclination to buy any Merlins to replace sea king in the ASaC role, they soldiered on forever, ditto the SAR ones and the Junglies. Large numbers of if we need them, we can dust them off ASW Sea Kings littered aircraft yards for year’s after they left front line service.

There’s a reason the RN spent large amounts of money to retain sea king as long as it could rather than buy more Merlins to replace them even when Merlin was being offered @£20 million a pop. While the Junglies pilots like the performance if their new Merlins, they ain’t quite so impressed with their new fast rides serviceability. The days of it’s leaking but it keeps on flying Sea Kings it ain’t.

SAR is one of the main markets EH101 was pitched at, but the UK didn’t buy a single one for SAR, it’s also been stiffly ignored by the offshore industry who love the S-92, a helicopter that bears a striking similarity to the WG.34 the RN actually wanted.

If a helicopters own makers governments military wont buy any more beyond the initial launch order, it’s a sure sign it’s got issues. The market grasped that very quickly, and other than some SAR and VIP ride sales, it’s hardly sold.
 
...While the Junglies pilots like the performance if their new Merlins, they ain’t quite so impressed with their new fast rides serviceability...
That's odd; I was talking to one of the Jungly Senior Pilots at RIAT who was very enthusiastic about his new cab...particularly since serviceability and availability had improved over Sea King.

I must give him a bell to correct him.

Regards,
MM
 

Yokel

LE
But SAR is not a primary role of any RN or RAF squadron, and the Coastguard ones are run by a private company! One of the reasons ws the aviod paying for replacement cabs for 22/203/771!

I suspect the Sea King ASaCs replacement was one of those things that kept getting kicked into the long grass. Once it it was FOAEW, then it became MASC, and then Crowsnest. I seem to remember visiting 849 NAS in 2004 and the Observer giving us a tour said it was likely Merlin would be the replacement platform.

I commented about ASW Merlin numbers. But you seem to keep evading questions. Are you a politician or something @PhotEx?

Answer the following, please, please, pretty please:

1. Was Merlin HM1 procured for the Royal Navy for an ASW role, with secondary surface search, VERTREP, HAS, and SAR roles?
2. Was the a second batch of Merlins for the RN (which would have given a fleet size of sixty or so cabs) cancelled as part of nineties cutbacks?
3. Did Sea Kings ever perform the shipborne ASW role after Merlin had taken it over?
4. Did you mean to say that spares from old Sea Kings were canibalised to keep the Baggers going?
5. Were ANY ASW helicopters (Wildcat apart) ordered by the RN in this time period?
6. Did UK/MOD finances and politics make any such purchase unlikely?
7. Did you really say that:the RN did not buy any new Merlins due to serviceability issues, and the only way they could keep the Merlins going was because of old Sea Kings providing spares for the Bagger Sea Kings?

Thank you.
 
I fail to see what you two are arguing about.

It is true that just as Merlin was entering service, the ASW threat was perceived as having "gone away". At that point, having spunked £1.5Bn on 44 cabs to do ASW, it's unlikely you'd get a requirement for more. That order pretty much coincided with the ASaC7 programme (late noughties) where it was much cheaper and lower risk to upgrade a limited number of SK frames from AEW2, rather than try and integrate an entirely new package into an entirely new aircraft. If it was easy, Crowsnest wouldn't have taken as long as it has.

It would have been entirely possible to order some new Merlin (potentially like the IT amphib support variants) in the mid-noughties as part of the FASH/SABR/FRC car-crash, were it not for the minor fact that HMT took the money away. And then discovered that it needed more cabs on Telic/Herrick, leading to the additional buys for Chinook and the SK4 Carson upgrade. Merlin was a definite candidate for FASH, when the pitch was somewhat queered by the inclusion of the Puma requirement as SABR, it all got a little more difficult. And still there was no money.

It is also true that Merlin is limited by the rating of the Italian made gearbox. This does mean that weight growth (as happens to all aircraft through life) means a decrease in payload / performance (however small) that can't be countered by uprating engines. It also explains some of the more extreme weight-saving measures adopted by the RAF on their Merlins (removal of tie-down points etc).

In terms of serviceability, can't comment on the Junglie Merlins. However, the number of "up" cabs at Seahawk is not and has never been great. It's one thing having some downed as "scheduled " for your various checks etc. It's another thing entirely when half the downed cabs are "unscheduled" on a regular basis - and quite often due to ILS shortages. It may be that they're not funded for enough flying hours to keep the cabs happy, who knows?

Are there enough Merlin to support Carrier Strike, ASW frigates and training for both pingers and baggers? Probably not, but that ain't going to change until there is more money for both sqn staff and aircraft. Should that happy state of affairs ever come to pass, we should buy new ones. Anyone mentioning the orphan eight at Shawbury should be beaten until they stop.

Now, any chance of stopping this my dads bigger than your dad Merlin-related tomfoolery please?
 

Yokel

LE
I fail to see what you two are arguing about.

It is true that just as Merlin was entering service, the ASW threat was perceived as having "gone away". At that point, having spunked £1.5Bn on 44 cabs to do ASW, it's unlikely you'd get a requirement for more. That order pretty much coincided with the ASaC7 programme (late noughties) where it was much cheaper and lower risk to upgrade a limited number of SK frames from AEW2, rather than try and integrate an entirely new package into an entirely new aircraft. If it was easy, Crowsnest wouldn't have taken as long as it has.

It would have been entirely possible to order some new Merlin (potentially like the IT amphib support variants) in the mid-noughties as part of the FASH/SABR/FRC car-crash, were it not for the minor fact that HMT took the money away. And then discovered that it needed more cabs on Telic/Herrick, leading to the additional buys for Chinook and the SK4 Carson upgrade. Merlin was a definite candidate for FASH, when the pitch was somewhat queered by the inclusion of the Puma requirement as SABR, it all got a little more difficult. And still there was no money.

It is also true that Merlin is limited by the rating of the Italian made gearbox. This does mean that weight growth (as happens to all aircraft through life) means a decrease in payload / performance (however small) that can't be countered by uprating engines. It also explains some of the more extreme weight-saving measures adopted by the RAF on their Merlins (removal of tie-down points etc).

In terms of serviceability, can't comment on the Junglie Merlins. However, the number of "up" cabs at Seahawk is not and has never been great. It's one thing having some downed as "scheduled " for your various checks etc. It's another thing entirely when half the downed cabs are "unscheduled" on a regular basis - and quite often due to ILS shortages. It may be that they're not funded for enough flying hours to keep the cabs happy, who knows?

Are there enough Merlin to support Carrier Strike, ASW frigates and training for both pingers and baggers? Probably not, but that ain't going to change until there is more money for both sqn staff and aircraft. Should that happy state of affairs ever come to pass, we should buy new ones. Anyone mentioning the orphan eight at Shawbury should be beaten until they stop.

Now, any chance of stopping this my dads bigger than your dad Merlin-related tomfoolery please?
Serviceability is related to support and spares provision? Who knew? Perhaps the can sort this out first? I am sure that said the same thing about the Challenger MBT, then Saddam invaded Kuwait, spares became available, and as if by magic it performed well in the desert.

When deployed as a single aircraft aboard a Type 23 or RFA, or aboard certain RFAs with four aircraft, or aboard a CVS with six aircraft, or even nine, how many sorties get scrubbed as the aircraft will not fly? Is it reliable when supported and scaled spare packs are provided? @Gerge211 might know.

The lack of flying hours across the fleet is another issue. When cuts are needed, spares are low hanging fruit for the politicians. Hopefully things will improve if we intended 820 NAS to do task group ASW from QE/POW...

PhotEx argues the design is wrong and as such serviceability is low. I suspect lack of ILS support may be an issue. He also suggests if it was not crap we would have ordered more of them....
 

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